Abbot Kinney has been going through a bit of a metamorphosis over the years. It's gone from artsy enclave to high-end hipster hang. I recently saw valet parking in front of a clothing shop. There's been a lot of restaurant turnover, but I have to say that I'm pretty happy to have Plant food and Wine on the block now. So I guess it makes sense that Chop Daddy's barbecue joint closed and has reopened as Fala Bar, a vegan, organic, nut-free, gluten-free falafel serving cafe.
Fala Bar on Abbot Kinney is a tiny slip of a place with seating outside for just a few, or you can just grab your falafel to go. There is a larger location on Melrose. Fala Bar keeps your choices fairly tight. You have 5 different falafel flavors from which to choose - original, spicy, sweet potato, crunchy and kale.
You can do a few things with your falafel balls. You can make it into a sandwich, throw it on a salad or put it on top of a plate with hummus, tahini, Israeli salad, quinoa tabouli and cabbage.
There are also some bowls, tacos and sandwich options. You can even go for a burger. where they basically take the falafel balls and make them into a patty and served them with different sauces and vegetables.
The prices are reasonable with most dishes under $10 each. They're pretty emphatic about not putting any "fake sh*t" into their food as you'll see on neon lit signs and bright green T-shirts worn by the staff.
That all sounds great, right? It wasn't until after we ordered and sat down that I learned of the cooking method when a group of guys came in and asked if they fried or baked their falafel. Fried. I saw the balls slip down into the deep fryer. Ok, well, they don't use GMOs, and this is all organic and local products, so, I'm sure it'll be fine.
Those are some deep fried falafel balls. The kale burger too was quite crisp and could definitely serve as a proper paper weight. The hummus and tahini were creamy and rich, and luckily served to soften up the falafel.
The kale burger had a nice homemade Thousand Island dressing with grilled onions and avocados. I just wish they would fry it less. Of course baking it would be even better, but that may not come until Abbot Kinney's next round of turnovers take place.
Fala Bar Venice
1146 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice