Schnitzly: Only in Pico-Robertson

Nathaniel Kukurudz, Managing Editor

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Restaurant review

There’s something that I always look forward to when I go the Pico Robertson area (I know, I am Jewish — but I don’t live there). I don’t know if it’s the synagogues on every corner and more. Maybe it’s the atmosphere. But when Schnitzly opened its doors on Pico just east of Glenville, next door to the Happy Minyan and replacing the short-lived Sunrise restaurant, I think I got my answer. Only in a very close-knit and comfortable community can you have a restaurant that calls itself “Schnitzly” and have people walk through its doors. And I’m glad they do.

Schnitzly, (pronounced shnitz-ly, for the non-resident) as you’ve hopefully guessed by now, is crazy about schnitzel. From garlic schnitzel to Dijon schnitzel or seasoned schnitzel, this restaurant has it all.

Firstly, it is bound to garner your attention as you drive down Pico Boulevard, since it has a large yellow vertical sign in addition to its banner, which makes it readable from far away.

Next, the restaurant, more a fast-food than anything else, has a very nice and friendly ambiance, thanks largely to its great Israeli staff. Also because it’s a fast-food, it is very comfortable and homey. There are no elegant tables or chairs, and no paintings or special décor on the walls except for a layer of orange paint, yet it seems very appropriate and serves well to give the restaurant a casual yet bright atmosphere to go with its slightly unusual cuisine.

The food — or rather, the schnitzel — comes in sandwiches or salads. The sandwiches definitely have a “Subway” feel to them as you choose your bread, can ask for lettuce, tomatoes, or pickles and decide among a long list of dressings including pesto, garlic mayonnaise and chimichuri sauce.  It’s also assembled in front of your eyes much in the manner of the Subway conveyor belt (but then again, Subway doesn’t have schnitzel – yet). And the salads come in very large portions that are made right in front of you as well, suggesting their freshness, which is always a good thing.

And then there is the schnitzel itself. Before I dig into the actual schnitzel, let’s bring in some background information.  (Those of you who are residents of the Pico neighborhood, where schnitzel is ubiquitous on Shabbos tables, can go ahead and skip to the next paragraph.)  Schnitzel is one of the most traditional Israeli foods. In general, it is a chicken filet pounded for tenderness that is soaked in eggs and breadcrumbs and then deep-fried. Unlike the famous Weiner Schnitzel, which is Viennese in origin, the Israeli version is not made of veal or of pork. Rather, since veal was very scarce during the early years of the state of Israel, chicken and turkey proved to be great substitutes, and cheaper ones, too.

After much deliberation among the nine possible choices, when I visited Schnitzly I ordered the Dijon Schnitzel.  Other possibilities included falafel, Indian, crunchy, chili and garlic schnitzel. The restaurant also offers hot dogs and a steak sandwich for $12, compared to $10 for the schnitzel sandwiches.

You would hope that these schnitzels would be delectable because the restaurant can only do as well as its schnitzels taste, which can be either a good thing or a bad one.  But, after tasting what the investment is based on, I can predict a great and healthy return for its investors. It was honestly delicious. The chicken was extremely tender and juicy, and surprisingly not greasy while still managing to be crunchy on the outside. But the reason I believe people will choose it over other Israeli restaurants is that these schnitzels are extremely unique, and give the restaurant itself a sort of distinctive and enjoyable personality.

Overall, Schnitzly is a great addition to the Pico-Robertson area. I’m also glad that it’s in that area, since if it were not, I would have given it 10 days to close its doors. That would be a shame, since Schnitzly’s truly offers something unique, and, more significantly, delicious. In this neighborhood, it will feel right at home. I hope you all have a go at this new and refreshingly distinct restaurant.

Quality of food: 4.5 stars. My schnitzel is definitely going to make me come back for more.

Value for price: 4.0 stars. $10 is not little to ask in a fast-food restaurant, but still worth it.

Ambiance: 4.0 stars: Very friendly and comfortable.

Overall rating: 4 stars

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