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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Frechicko - Fre'd it Won't Be Around Too Long


Frechicko Is yet another mediocre Zankou Chicken ripoff, inconveniently located at 3839 Foothill Boulevard in Tujunga, CA. The only thing bleaker than the naked white walls and the visably dirty floor was the noticeable lack of any patrons during a Saturday afternoon lunch hour during their Grand Opening weekend (advertised outside the place with a huge banner that they're probably still trying to pay for). More than once while waiting for the food to arrive (after surviving the comically confusing ordering process) the words "we might die" were muttered.

The adorable Armenian Persian mamma who was running the front of the house, presumably with an equally endearing if not slightly grouchier Armenian Persian papa running the rotisserie in the back, was almost reason enough return, or at the very least hope they succeed with their American dream. Still, The Food Bitch couldn't quite shake the feeling that a dinner guest had some homemade chicken at her house one day, insisted it was just as good as Zankou's, and suggested "Why don't you take over that location on Foothill that has turned over three or more times in as many years! Tofu Village failed, but with this chicken, you could really make a restaurant work!!!"

The chicken was dry and bland, served with a beranched pile of equally bland greens in a take out container. . . Standard for dine in orders, and apparently more cost effective than washing a dish, environment be damned. Anyone who has ever eaten at Zankou, a Food Bitch favorite, will know what I mean when I say "garlic paste." Naturally, Frechicko has their own version, yet getting it out of the Armenian Persian mamma was like pulling teeth. She insisted we try her "special sauce" first, and then if that didn't satisfy our garlic sauce craving, she would bring us the "other" sauce, she said with a  grimace that suggested a deep seated marital rivalry as to whose homemade sauce was better.  Not wanting to offend, and of course anticipating nothing short of greatness out of anything called "special sauce", we tried it.

Yeah, it was ranch dressing.

The actual garlic spread which she relented and gave us, was great. It tasted completely and lovingly homemade, with just then right amount of starchy potato texture. . .not as lemony as Zankou, but deserving of mention if for no other reason than to help settle the debate. It seemed like something you could actually make at home, unlike Zankou's otherworldly and mysterious flavor explosion of garlicky goodness that only piques further suspicion as to what is actually in it when Zankou employees tell you it's a secret.  What's in the sauce, Zankou?  People want to know!

The only other thing worth mentioning is the horrendous parking "lot" on the East side of the building. Striped for five cars, but really only built for one, it is an accident waiting to happen. Maybe this actually caused the demise of Tofu Village - who knows? Also, the location is just generally dreadful, sandwiched in between auto parts stores and auto service centers. Not very appetizing, but I guess if you're waiting to get your tires rotated, it would do.  

A piece of unsolicited Food Bitch advice:  Cash in the big flat screen TV no one is watching and buy some plates and maybe a Georgia O'Keefe print or two.  Good luck with everything, Frechicko. . . I think you're really going to need it.

Happy Snacking,

The Food Bitch

12 comments:

  1. It's unfortunate that you feel this way about Frechicko Grill. We apologize that your dine-in experience with us was less than satisfying. Your review is based on our first week being opened and a lot has changed since then. We are no longer a "slow fast food" establishment (to-go boxes and plastic utensils). We have become quite a nice dine-in place to eat. We have changed things up - our look, our menus, and the way things are run. Our food is Persian - not Armenian, there is a big difference in flavor. It is a shame that you did not enjoy our grilled chicken as we have gotten great feedback from customers and it has been our number one seller on the menu. We recently got a review from the Glendale News-Press take a look here - http://www.glendalenewspress.com/entertainment/tn-gnp-dine-20100626,0,5760225.story - We have been in the restaurant industry for over 25 years and have always been successful and hope to continue our success with Frechicko Grill. We would like to invite you to give us another try now that we are more established and would like to offer you a meal on the house. We appreciate your review on us and welcome the feedback and hope that you will be a returning customer.

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  2. Sounds like ur a bitter lil beaver. Allow me to enlighten you...the owners are not Armenian nor do they have an "American Dream". I did a story on this restaurant last week and apparently I view things with a positive outlook. The owners have successfully been in the restaurant business for over 25 yrs. Previously owned and ran Julius Restaurant in Pasadena, CA until they retired. After enjoying a few years of retired life they found that they missed their business so they decided to try something new and opened Frechicko. The food is delicious and the special sauce is NOT ranch. It's a Mediterranean sauce made with yogurt and a few other special ingredients. You can't expect a family business to be packed and perfect opening weekend. It takes time to advertise and build. Your post makes it painfully clear that you are not experienced in cultural foods, people or how to start a business. Frechicko was recently reviewed by a Professional food critic that seemed to have a different opinion. Check the Glendale News Press for a legitimate review. You might want to stick with McDonald's & Burger Kings. Take Care.

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  3. The Food Bitch apologizes for her unintended ignorance regarding Armenian v. Persian - cuisine, people, or otherwise. The Food Bitch is an equal opportunity snacker, a long time resident of the Los Angeles melting pot, and sincerely appreciates the opportunity to learn something new about food and culture. Please note that corrections have been made.

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  4. Thanks, Anonymous. This "bitter lil beaver" also appreciates your feedback, but hey, they don't call me The Food Bitch for nothing. You say potato, I say dry chicken.

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  5. Frechicko appreciates both of your opinions. We take all customers feedback into consideration, whether positive or negative, and we build upon it. Our recipe for our grilled chicken has changed since we first opened and Food Bitch- I do urge you to try us again as I can assure you our Chicken - as well as our other entrees, are all absolutely delicious.

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  6. Thank you for your hospitality, Mamma Frechicko. It did not go unnoticed, and The Food Bitch would be delighted to come back and try your revamped chicken. :o)

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  7. Dear Food Bitch, I initially took your review of Frechicko seriously, until I continued my research on the restaurant, and realized how incorrect, inappropriate, and destructive your review is (IF other readers don't read other reviews and/or articles). I highly recommend you stick to reviewing American fast-food. My recommendation is based on reading all your other reviews, and realizing how your taste buds appeal to poor-quality foods with no cultural background (ex. Italian, Armenian, Persian, etc.). Clearly, your knowledge, at least food knowledge, of different cultures is clearly lacking (ex. thinking Persian food and staff were Armenian). Stay away from reviewing restaurants that use flavors/spices authentic to particular cultures. Rather, stick to reviewing places that offer hot dogs, burgers, and fast-food (non-Italian) pizza (such as Hot Dog On A Stick, Wienerschnitzel, In-N-Out, etc.). I think your review of such places would be fair.

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  8. Lisa! So nice to hear from you again. It's a real live "music and food aficionado" from the Glendale News Press, everybody! Neato! (I can tell it's you from your overuse of commas and the word "clearly.")

    For you Food Bitch readers who may be just joining us on a conversation that has been going on since JUNE (really?), Lisa "has been writing about area establishments since 2008," and has also apparently "been writing articles on travel, food and entertainment for 25 years." She has been to Tuscany, has two kids, lives in La Crescenta and boasts that she and her family "believe they have been to every Mexican restaurant in a 20-mile radius."

    Now here's the kick: Lisa seems to like every restaurant she reviews. Is this because the meals she reviews are paid for by her employer?

    I am not a professional food critic, I'm not a chef, and I'm not even a journalist; I've never claimed to be any of those things. Lisa, on the other hand, hold herself out as someone who critiques restaurants for the Glendale News Press on a "Professional" (sic) basis. (I'm not sure if this includes trolling the internet for competing reviews of restaurants she has already covered or not. . . )

    The difference between us is that I am a consumer in the truest sense of the word. I choose a restaurant because I am hungry, not because I need something to write about. I pay my hard earned money for not only the food, but the total restaurant experience. If I walk out the door of an establishment feeling like I did not get good food, good service or had to endure either or in an awful environment, I'm going to write about it because that's what I do.
    Perceptions about my lack of cultural or food knowledge aside, The Food Bitch likes to eat, and knows what a good meal and a good dining experience is.

    That being said, In-N-Out makes one helluva burger.

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  9. its clear the food bitch really has no taste..
    i ve taken several large groups there and all loved the food. there tabouli , and falafel are quite different from your run of the mill middle eastern style.. the chicken was the best. i would as you to give it another try. this time don't order a hambuger..

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  10. Thanks so much for taking a moment to comment, les. Just out of curiosity, why should I not order a hamburger? Are they bad?

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  11. Food Bitch Fail! I received this most thoughtful comment, but in my insomniac stupor at 3:30 a.m., I accidentally clicked "delete" instead of "publish." My apologies. Here it is:

    Unknown has left a new comment on your post "Frechicko - Fre'd it Won't Be Around Too Long":

    "Zankou a food bitch favorite."

    This made me laugh, I hate Zankou because it is nothing but a huge pile of meat, with little consideration for balancing the entire meal. Rice and pickled crap doesn't exactly bring the meal together and provides little for your body, health, and well being. Clearly you know your food 'food bitch'. Just what I want, a ton of meat, cause no other food exists, and only meat tastes good right?-(sarcasm)-Ignorant people...writing ignorant things...gotta love the internet.

    For any reader who made it down this far in the comments, let me put some positive to this outrageously bad review.

    I feel Frechicko grill has got their food down just right. I'm not gonna play this up and say "THIS IS THE BEST FOOD I HAVE EVER HAD", but honestly this is some pretty damn good middle eastern food, and if you haven't come here yet, you should.

    Personally, if I choose to go out I like to focus on fresh and healthy meals that won't bog me down for the rest of the day and I can feel good about eating. I am an athlete, i've ran a couple marathons, and im going to try a triathlon soon, and so finding something 'healthy' and delicious when eating out can be difficult. Not only does Frechicko do it right, it tastes amazing too.

    My personal favorites are the chicken plates, that comes with sides, because I am looking for lean protein and a good balance of other foods from the other food groups (something I am sure the food bitch is unaware of). One of my absolute favorite sides to go with the chicken plate is the vegetarian chili. Packed with veggies, it not only tastes fresh and is amazingly delicious, it also feels good afterwards. Top this off with a tabouli salad, some hummus, pita bread, and/or their corn salad, and Mmmmmm Mmmmm you got yourself a delicious meal that fuels your day, makes you feel good, and doesn't even burn your pocketbook.

    I haven't even really gotten into detail about the chicken yet either. Let's just say that this is some of the most moist, flavor infused chickens I have ever had. I'll leave it at that, because you should come in and try it to taste for yourself. For an honest review, don't expect MIND-BLOWING taste (although at times I feel it is). Expect honest-to-goodness much above the average chicken with incredible taste, flavoring, and moistness.

    My only gripes are that the food can take some time to come out (it isn't too bad or long, just be aware), and ONE time (just once, this hasn't occurred any other time I have been) my chicken looked slightly undercooked in one spot on the chicken (and to be honest I wasn't even sure if it was undercooked). I asked the lady about it, and without hesitation she took it immediately back, cooked it longer for me, and gave me a side on the house to boot! That section of chicken that looked undercooked remained the same color as before after she cooked it longer, and when I got to it later, I realized it wasn't undercooked at all, and it was just a piece of the chicken that I had a bad view and read on.

    If you are looking for somewhere new to try, I suggest hitting this place up. It is often empty, and I feel this is owed to the buildings terrible location, and I am not sure if the family has done much advertising getting the word around. I wouldn't drive 100 miles to come to this place, but if you are anywhere around town, I'd say it's worth the trip

    - Ness

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  12. I disagree simply because everything I had here was fresh and excellent. Because it's made to order it takes time. The comparison with Zankou is a give away, since Zankou has declined to the point where I can only buy the tarna -- their white meant is consistently dry. Frechicko's chix is juicy, the ice tea freaking the best ice tea I've had at a restaurant, the fattoush and shiraz salads are super tasty and fresh. I wonder if indeed you went back and if not, why? Anyway they've been there three and a half years now, so you're obviously wrong.

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