Accompanied by music and entertainment, Carousel restaurant in Glendale offers a wide variety of Mediterranean dishes from Syria and Lebanon to Armenia and Greece.
On Friday and Saturday nights, Carousel transforms from a fine eatery to a banquet hall where an infusion of music and dance are akin to an excellent wedding reception.
The dimly lit ambiance is lively and inviting. Walls, decorated with artifacts such as guns, urns and serving platters, give the place a quixotic feel.
Some of the mezze (appetizers) and the main dishes are exceptional. The muhammara, a slightly spicy red pepper dip made with crushed walnuts and pomegranate juice, is the perfect mate to pita bread.
The filet shish kebob, tender and savory and so yielding to the bite, is served alongside chicken breast and beef luleh kebobs.
For a taste of an exotic appetizer, there is the kebbeh nayyeh (chi-kofta), a raw beef dish that’s ground to a fine paste, mixed with cracked wheat and topped with olive oil. Carnivores beware, it tastes nothing like cooked meat. Smooth in texture, kebbeh nayyeh is a bit bland and’ definitely an acquired taste.
Fatayers, called cheese boregs in English, are pan-fried turnovers stuffed with cheese. It’s served alongside falafels, crushed chickpeas with spices, rounded and fried.
Diners should pace themselves as they eat and make sure to save room for desserts such as the plate full of rose-water- flavored cream surrounded with slices of banana, topped with crushed pistachios and drenched in honey.
With plentiful portions and a large selection of Middle Eastern cuisine, good service and delicious food are only a fraction of what Carousel offers.
Friday and Saturday nights live entertainment begins around 9:30 p.m. with belly dancers arriving about two hours later.
Different singers serenade the diners in English, Greek, Arabic and Armenian. Entertainers and customers alike get up and dance. At the height of the evening, Jillina’s Sahlala Dancers enter with their routines varying from Arabic, Greek and Gypsy dances.
On Saturdays dining costs are $43 per person, Fridays $38, not including drinks, tax or gratuity. Though it is a bit pricey for a student on a budget, it’s an experience well worth saving for.
Dinner at Carousel, a Russian word meaning a merry-go-round, is truly an experience worth embarking on.
304 N. Brand Blvd. Glendale, CA 91203 (818) 246-7775
Friday Nights Live Entertainment/Band: 9:30 p.m. -1:00 a.m. Dinner, dance and show: $38
Saturday Nights Live Entertainment/Band: 9:30 p.m. -1:00 a.m. Dinner, dance and show: $43