A special doubleheader: A few weekends ago, we hit both Elena's Greek Armenian and Carousel Restaurant -- two Glendale staples -- within days of each other. That gave us a chance to compare and contrast... and so, we now present, a Glendale Armenian Cuisine smackdown. First up... Carousel:
Restaurant: Carousel Restaurant
Location: 304 N Brand Blvd. (Glendale)
Type of restaurant: Lebanese-Armenian
We stipulated: We were meeting our friends Jeff and Jess (and kids) for an early dinner... and they suggested Carousel. We'd never been, despite our nearly six years in tha G-Dizzy.
They stipulated: Carousel turns into more of a adult-oriented nightclub on weekend nights, when live entertainment, dancing and music take over the restaurant.
What we ordered: Chicken breast kebab / lula kebab: boneless, skinless chicken breast meat, marinated with special recipe and broiled ($15.50). Mousakka: eggplant, baked with onions, tomatoes, chickpeas and peppers ($13.50). In both cases, added lentil soup for $1.50.
High point: Despite its upscale environs, the large, almost banquet hall style setting made it easy to bring kids along (four between the two families).
Low point: Hummus doesn't come automatically with your meal. Shouldn't that be mandatory?
Restaurant: Elena's Greek Armenian
Location: 1000 S. Glendale (Glendale)
Type of restaurant: Greek-Armenian
We stipulated: We needed a quick place for lunch, and had a coupon for Elena's. I'd never been, but had always heard good things.
They stipulated: All plates automatically come with soup or salad.
What we ordered: Chicken shish kebab plate ($7.75); half chicken/half lulu ($7.75)
High point: Free lentil soup! With a great, almost citrusy flavor. Plus, perfect-sized portions at a decent price. And because this was our first visit, free desserts. (The rice pudding is fantastic.)
Low point: Service was slow -- we sat and sat and sat for our check, and finally had to force our credit card on them.
Overall impressions: The food is strong at both, so the key points come down to price and setting. Elena's easily won the price battle -- plates cost half as much, plus their lentil soup (superior to Carousel's) comes free. Carousel provides a more upscale setting to Elena's simple surroundings; but does it matter?
Chance we'll go back: We'll probably wind up back at both, but Elena's will be a much more frequent stop (particularly for lunch).
Looks like Elena's wins our battle of Glendale's Armenian staples.