Chapa Grill brings Israeli flavor to Wilshire

BP Photo by Emilie Benyowitz

Alexa Fishman, Staff Writer

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You might wonder: does Los Angeles really need another kosher Israeli-style restaurant? On Pico Boulevard alone, there must be 10. But if we’re talking about Chapa Grill, the answer is definitely yes.

Chapa Grill is actually not on Pico Boulevard. It’s located right in the middle of the business district at the corner of Wilshire and Crescent Heights, and is actually the closest kosher restaurant to Shalhevet.

When it opened a few years ago it was not kosher. However, six months ago, the owner of the restaurant, David Srsi, decided to go kosher. He himself is Israeli, and he told me he thought it would be better for his business; right he was.

As soon as I entered, I was struck by the design of the restaurant. It was all wood, very modern, with a couple of TV’s on the wall to top it off. There were seven other rectangular tables inside. Some only fit four people, while others could fit six to eight.

I quickly noticed was that some items on the menu sign above the counter were covered with sheets of paper and other items had new prices on top of the old ones, which looked kind of messy. But my parents said the prices had gone up when the restaurant became kosher, reflecting the higher cost of kosher poultry and meat.

Still, none of the appetizers exceeded $7 and the main courses averaged around $10 apiece. Watching other people eat, it appeared that the portions were nicely sized as well.

My family and our friends stood in line to order at the counter, and thankfully the line wasn’t too long. We were told to order first, and then pick a table to sit at while the cooks were grilling our food, just like at Schnitzly, LA Burgers Bar, Jeff’s and other familiar restaurants. Looking for seats, it quickly became apparent that there wasn’t lots of room for a big party; we were 10, and that was probably the largest number of people that could squeeze around the biggest rectangular table inside. There were seven other tables inside, all smaller, and it was too cold for outdoor seating.

The food came really quickly, and we all dug in. How is it possible to resist sneaking a French fry from somebody’s plate? Wow — that French fry was actually delicious. It was perfectly salty and crisp. I had to steal another.

I ordered a falafel plate, which came with Israeli salad. The falafel balls were a bit overdone on the outside, but once I bit into them, they were delicious. My Israeli salad was also perfectly dressed — not too strong, but still bursting with flavor.
My group also ordered shwarma, schnitzel, steak and rotisserie chicken. My brother thought his steak was too tough, but everyone else was quite happy.

Chapa has a really nice menu with great choices, but the one thing they’re missing is salads. The only salad option is Israeli salad, although they do have steamed vegetables available as a side dish.

My mom always tells me to check a restaurant’s bathrooms, because they reflect the cleanliness of the establishment overall. After sneaking through the kitchen to get to the bathroom, I was pretty surprised — it was smelly and unclean.

But as I sat back down at the table to finish off the freshly baked basket of pita, it was pretty easy to ignore the bathroom, especially when my brother shoved the rest of his fries onto my plate. All in all, the food was really good, and I loved the fact that it was made freshly on the grill as soon as we ordered.

For all Shalhevet students allowed to leave for lunch — which sadly doesn’t include me – Chapa is a great choice, as long as it’s not too crowded. Well, we could all just order our food in advance….

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