The Interrogator with Kismet

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To say that destiny brought you to dine at Kismet might be a bit hyperbolic, but, whatever the case, once there, you’ll certainly be glad some number of choices eventually led you to this particular stretch of Hollywood Boulevard. Opened at the start of 2017, the beloved Los Feliz spot is an expertly executed veg-friendly restaurant helmed by chefs Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson. The former New Yorkers first collaborated together on the West Coast two years ago, with the outrageously delicious farm-to-table falafel outfit Madcapra, located in Downtown L.A.’s Grand Central Market. From there, they endeavored to expand their Middle Eastern repertoire with Kismet, a–dare we say–divine culmination of their previous experiences. Destiny? Maybe. Delicious? Bet on it.

Kismet is open all day long, which means you can order some seriously tasty dishes for breakfast (whole wheat brioche toast with halva spread and jam), lunch (Persian cucumber salad with cherries, rosewater labneh, and parsley seed za’atar), and dinner (cranberry beans with fennel and toasted chili). The beverage list also deserves special mention, where the usual refreshing spritz gets infused with uncommon ingredients. While vegetables are really the star of the show here, and are certainly hearty enough to sate even the biggest of appetites, meat get its due in small, perfect doses. Lamb makes a couple cameos, and, for dinner, you can feast on a rabbit for two.

Together, Kramer and Hymanson have created one of the most crave-worthy menus in Los Angeles right now, quickly joining the ranks of the city’s other culinary standouts. Below, we talk to the chefs about Chaka Khan, morning people, and scooping ice cream at the Temptations Cafe.

kismet los angeles

Place of residence:

Sarah Hymanson: Los Angeles.

Sara Kramer: Los Angeles.

Current occupation:

Hymanson: Chef / Restaurant Owner.

Kramer: Chef / Restaurant Owner.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Hymanson: A mentor? Also, a Zen master (in my dreams).

Quote to live by:

Hymanson: “Dust yourself off and try again, try again.”

Kramer: YOLO, right?

kismet los angeles

First job you ever had:

Hymanson: I worked at this pet shop called Park View Pet Shop. It was not glamorous, but I was a real animal-loving kid…

Kramer: Scooping ice cream at a place called Temptations Cafe.

Least favorite part of your day:

Hymanson: The pre-coffee part.

Kramer: Pushing myself to wake up. I’m just always annoyed that I don’t wake up more easily! Never been a morning person despite very much wanting to be.

Windows down, the song you’re playing is:

Hymanson: Perhaps “Ain’t Nobody” by Chaka Khan. Love her.

Kramer: Any number of female vocalist power ballads or power pop songs. Definitely singing along.

Three guilty pleasures:

Hymanson: Candy, YouTube videos of talented kids, thrift store shopping.

Kramer: Adele, Ben & Jerry’s, movie musicals.

kismet los angeles

If you had to watch one movie on repeat for eternity, what would it be?

Hymanson: Back to the Future.

Kramer: Jeez. I mean, eternity would make me hate anything, but I do have a real soft spot for The Fifth Element.

You have a million dollars to spend on art, you buy…

Hymanson: I can’t comprehend anything being worth that much money. I would buy a lot of little pieces from from people that aren’t so famous. I also am very in love with the work by these artists with developmental disabilities at a gallery in NY called LAND. They are so incredible.

Kramer: A variety of pieces from young artist friends of mine because they’re so talented and I want to support my friends’ careers.

Plane, train or automobile for a trip?

Hymanson: Love the prospect of far away places that come with planes. But it’s hard to beat a long train ride through a beautiful/interesting place.

Kramer: Plane. So many more options.

kismet los angeles

What IS your favorite trip?

Hymanson: A few years ago, I  spent about six months traveling alone through China and Southeast Asia. It was life-changing for a lot of reasons.

Kramer: One I haven’t taken yet. I’ll let you know.

Personal travel ethos:

Hymanson: Go with the flow.

Kramer: Sleep as little as possible.

Beach house or tree house:

Hymanson: Tree house.

Kramer: Tree house.

Where was the best meal you ever had and what was it?

Hymanson: No idea–I’ve had so many great meals.

Kramer:  I hate choosing favorite because meals and their attached experiences are so different and evoke different feelings. I’m sure that the best meal I’ve ever had was largely because of my company at the time.

What is the best news you ever received?

Hymanson: Bulls three-peat… TWICE.

Kramer: Hard to say, but I was pretty excited when I found out I was going to be the lead in a Broadway show when I was 18. I was also generally very excitable then.

Who or what is largely overrated? Explain.

Hymanson: Avocado toast. I mean, it’s good–but not THAT good. I would take tomato toast over avocado toast any day.

Kramer: Fast food. Even newer concepts that do a better job. I’m just not into it.

Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson

Briefly describe the best concert you have ever gone to.

Hymanson: I saw a very early and intimate Beach House concert where the whole audience sat on the floor and was very silent. (well-behaved audience is key). I also saw Aretha Franklin, who is a queen.

Kramer: Does a drag show count?

Where do you go for inspiration, peace of mind?

Hymanson: I like to explore new neighborhoods–eat in little ethnic restaurants and wander foreign grocery stores. I also (ideally) like to do yoga. It is generally the only time when I can truly tune out all of the noise.

Kramer: Hikes in Griffith Park. It feels very remote, though right here in the city. It’s freeing to have that much outdoor space so accessible, especially coming from NY.

Photos by Tyler William Parker for SIXTY Hotels

Jenny Bahn

Jenny Bahn

Jenny Bahn is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn, specializing in music, fashion, the arts, and culture, both high and low. Her work has been featured in Cereal, Lenny Letter, and more.

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