Dr. Sandwich is an Israeli masterpiece created by Tzachi Ofengart, owner of Super Sal Kosher market in Encino. When I was a wee little Encino girl, I remember when Super Sal opened its doors in Blockbuster’s former location, more than 20 years ago. The reaction of Israelis to Super Sal’s opening can best be compared to the palatable glee of New York transplants when Bloomingdale’s opened in California. A crowd gathered waiting for the door to open and more whooping was heard on Ventura boulevard than in Met Life Stadium when the Super Bowl ended. Jovial sabras loaded their carts with sponja mops, avocado shampoo, and bamba and begged Tzachi for more oversees goodies. He acquiesced and pleased his fans even more a few years later by providing authentic falafel, shwarma, and homemade hummus as takeout inside the market. This small takeout section grew into a separate, legitimate entity and Dr. Sandwich’s Encino location, with covered, outdoor seating right outside of Super Sal was born. It continues to be adored and frequented by pregnant women craving falafel, Israelis gobbling grilled chicken sandwiches, and anyone else who happens to know where the best shawarma in town is.
As time went on and Dr. Sandwich of Encino proved to be a success, it occurred to Tzachi to open more Israeli restaurants and to take the doctor theme and run with it. His new Dr. Sandwich in Beverly Hills is an immediate hit with long lines at peak lunch and dinner hours and excellent reviews on the street. The medical theme is carried throughout the menu with options like “Pargit Prescription” and “Hurts So Good Schnitzel.” All the waiters and kitchen staff wear doctor costumes and your order is taken on a prescription.
When I walked into the bright, fast food style restaurant I was immediately impressed with the operation. It looks sparkling clean with obvious newness and an owner that cares very much about customer satisfaction. The place runs like clockwork, with our order completed in under 10 minutes. The joint is heavily staffed with food prep guys, cooks, a greeter, and two people whose main job it is to constantly clean and keep the place sparking. Owner Tzachi works the room adding free fries and falafel samples out to new customers and asking patrons if they are enjoying the meal and Dr. Sandwich experience. Part of Tzachi’s appeal is that he makes everyone feel like they are a V.I.P or at least a favorite cousin. He warmly asks how everything is going, cracks jokes, and talks with pride about his new restaurant. The décor is top notch with bright white and orange walls, lime green chairs and accents and beautiful, funky lighting that hangs from the ceiling.
The prescription themed menu upholds the original Dr. Sandwich legacy with shawarma, falafel, schnitzel, kabab all served in your choice of a pita, baguette, laffa, or plate with two sides. Some unexpected offerings include “Burns a Little Mergaz” which are spicy grilled beef sausages, a selection of meat paninis and “A Touch of Sabich”- sliced eggplant, fried with an egg, parsley, hummus, tahini, and salad. Everything, including the salad bar which includes Israeli classics like purple cabbage, spicy carrot, and homemade hummus, is made in house. The doctor-costumed staff puts all the sandwiches together in front of you, and you can watch three types of shawarma broiling as it spins on a skewer in the back of the kitchen.
Having eaten at the Encino location five thousand times, we fall back on old favorites and order the turkey shawarma in a laffa and grilled chicken breast on a plate with side salads. The turkey shawarma is possibly the best shawarma you’ve ever had, including what you’ve eaten on Ben Yehuda in Israel. It is moist, expertly flavored with cardamom, cinnamon and mediterranian spices, stuffed with salad, hummus, and tahini, and wrapped in a huge, flaky laffa bread. Their falafel in a pita and spicy fries are also excellent. The guys behind the counter share Tzachi’s enthusiasm and will happily pile on more of your favorite side dish with a smile and some free advice.
The vibe is just right; you’ll certainly run into many Israelis savoring food from their homeland and hanging out with the very popular owner, as well as high school kids from the many nearby schools having a good time. Thursday nights are the busiest, with a line of hungry customers spilling out onto the sidewalk. Dr. Sandwich is open weeknights until 11 PM and to-go orders are common and quick. The Kosher supervision is under the RCC and Dr. Sandwich can be found at 9113 W. Olympic Blvd. in Beverly Hills, CA call 310-278-7778 or email your order at Order@dr-sandwich.com.