Magic Carpet seems to be one of those reliable ethnic adventures like Marouch and Guelaguetza that Angelenos keep in their mental databases for those occasions when a little exotica is in order. Somehow all these years the Yemenite Jewish spot had escaped my notice, but in my perennial quest for new eggplant discoveries, Amy and I tried it for lunch on a quiet Friday. Since they were just about to close down for Shabbat, only one other table was occupied, and we had the handsome young Moroccan-Israeli waiter all to ourselves. First we got a basket of fluffy pita bread and some delicious beets in vinegar. There's a surfeit of eggplant dishes, and I brushed off the waiter's suggestion of the familiar babaghanouj in favor of marinated eggplant with mushrooms (above left). Remembering her grandmother's rendition of the dish, Amy ordered the stuffed cabbage (below right). I scooped up one mouthful of eggplant after another, happy to finally be somewhere where all my eggplant dreams could be realized.
Alas, there weren't enough of us to try the 8-salad eggplant sampler. The stuffed cabbage was kind of a small portion, but tasty if you like that sort of thing, and it came with plenty of couscous and steamed vegetables. I was also intrigued by the Iraqi sandwich with sauteed eggplant and the Iraqi, Tunisian, Moroccan and Egpytian breakfast plates. Next time, we'll have to take more people and try the melawach flatbread. I hear that the meat dishes aren't that special at Magic Carpet, but there's enough salads and other unusual dishes to keep anyone busy for a long time. Since Magic Carpet is kosher, it's closed Friday night and all day Saturday.
8566 W. Pico Blvd.