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EATS: in and around the Valley | TIDBITS

Fine-Tuned Food

Chef's medical training is secret ingredient in fare made just for you.


Karen and Saad Ghazi have new digs for their Canard de Bombay of London restaurant, one of the most unusual places you'll find in the San Fernando Valley or, for that matter, anywhere at all.

The restaurant now occupies enough space on Lankershim Boulevard in Universal City to seat 50 people. The old location on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City seated only 30, making for long lines, according to Karen Ghazi.

"It was a big job to move," Karen Ghazi says, "and it's amazing that we survived. We were in a mini-mall in Studio City, and now we're in our own building, so we have a permanent home and more room for our customers."

She and her husband offer their guests a huge menu listing some 200 dishes. Its length notwithstanding, the menu is only a jumping-off point at Canard de Bombay.

Saad Ghazi studied medicine in his native London but turned to cooking because, as he puts it, he didn't like waiting until people got sick before he had the chance to do something nice for them.

What he does as a chef, Ghazi says, allows him to take the notions underlying food consciousness to new levels. For starters, he cooks without animal fat, butter, ghee or preservatives, and he makes sure his meats and vegetables contain no hormones or chemicals. He filters his water twice and then passes it through a special magnetic field to make it readily digestible. He even wants to know what food allergies you might have so he can fine-tune his dishes to suit you.

"What I cook for you and what I might cook for your brother might be two entirely different things," Ghazi says. "You might have an allergy to oil, or you might not want any oils at all in your food.

"I like to think that if I had 5,000 customers, I could make 5,000 different sauces. I studied medicine before I started to cook, and even though I know how to do Chinese cuisine and French cooking and Indian cooking and Greek, I'm not just a chef. I want to help people--because food is important to the body."

In short, you can get your food any way you like it in this place--and it won't cost you an arm and a leg. The lunch specials start at $4.95 and the dinner entrees at $6.95.

Among the latter: 11 curry dishes, an equal number of dishes with a rogon sauce made with garlic and tomatoes, dishes with a dupiaza sauce made with sweet brown onions, vindaloo dishes with potatoes and lemon, dishes with a dhansak sauce containing lentils, lemon and either brown sugar or honey--and a host of others.

For $24.95, the really adventurous--or maybe just the frisky--can order Ghazi's special Kama Sutra dinner: a three-course meal featuring a Cornish game hen marinated in secret herbs, wrapped in clay and cooked in a tandoori oven.

The herbs, Ghazi says, possess aphrodisiac properties and will arouse you and your beloved to new levels of amorousness. The tea that comes with dessert, he adds, will make the two of you downright concupiscent.

Canard de Bombay of London serves lunch weekdays, dinner weekdays and Saturdays. It is at 4101 Lankershim Blvd., just south of Moorpark Avenue in Universal City, (818) 752-2879.


Do you like bundt cakes--the best food ever to come from a German kitchen? Bundt cakes rise light and airy in fluted pans, confounding those who expect only the unsubtle when it comes to German cooking.

If that tickles your fancy, check out the new bundt cakes at the takeout sidewalk cafe BG to Go in Studio City. Carolyn Pappas runs this place with her brother, Christopher Niklas, and husband, Greg Pappas; they also operate the Bistro Garden at Coldwater, next door.

Pappas has baked cakes at home for years--as if running one of the Valley's best-known restaurants didn't give her enough time in the kitchen--but this is the first time she has made her confections available to others.

She sells two kinds of bundt cakes every day, a lemon and a chocolate, plus three more by special order--angel food, marble and raspberry swirl. A big cake goes for $25, small for $12.50, and a slice for $2.75.

BG to Go is at 12950 Ventura Blvd., near Coldwater Canyon Road in Studio City, (818) 366-3246.

* Juan Hovey writes about the restaurant scene in the San Fernando Valley and outlying points. He may be reached at (805) 492-7909 or fax (805) 492-5139 or via e-mail at

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