Leading up to this year’s Best of L.A. issue (due out Oct. 4), we’ll be counting down, in no particular order, 100 of our favorite dishes.
95: Duck Shawarma at Momed.
Beverly Hills might not be the first place that comes to mind when the topic of Mediterranean food comes up. But for just over two years Alex Sarkissian’s Momed, a bright and spacious café popular with locals, has specialized in things like spicy soujuk sausage, airy whipped hummus and baba ganoush, and fresh sheets of bread painted with vibrant za’atar and melted akkawi cheese. You could drop in for a light breakfast of sheep’s milk yogurt topped with a handful of roasted walnuts and a drizzle of honey, or arrive in the later in the evening for a plate of grilled lamb ribs slicked with chile and apricot pureé. For a place that touts itself as “Modern Eastern Mediterranean,” Momed’s laissez-faire attitude is more in tune with those old-world neighborhood cafés than the highly-polished modern boutiques surrounding it.
But there is one item in particular that has reached cultic levels of fanaticism among Beverly Hills office workers — and really, anyone brave enough to hunt down parking midday — and that is Momed’s duck shawarma wrap. (It’s also prepared at dinnertime, when it becomes a combo plate served with pickled veggies and crunchy momo potato chips.)
Rolled into a thin whole-wheat flatbread is a layer of succulent shredded duck confit perfumed with heady amounts of cumin and cinnamon. There are a few oven-dried tomatoes, tart and savory, and a dollop of fig confit, a mellow sweetish jam that tempers the wild flavors of the duck. A handful of fresh maché greens adds a slight peppery bite and a bit of house-made garlic spread — not quite the pillowy white stuff you find at those Armenian delis in Glendale, but close enough — completes the ensemble. At $14, this sandwich doesn’t quite fit into its street food origins, but in a section of town lined with Tiffany’s, Barneys, and Saks, you’d be hard pressed to find a purchase with a better pleasure-to-payment ratio.