Difference between revisions of "Levon Ovassapian"

From armeniapedia.org
Jump to: navigation, search
 
Line 6: Line 6:
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
With dishes such as hot borscht, herring fillets, Armenian lamb shish
+
With dishes such as hot borscht, herring fillets, Armenian lamb shish kebab and blinis with caviar, Café Levonya offers a taste of a world few ever have the opportunity to visit.  
kebab and blinis with caviar, Café Levonya offers a taste of a world
 
few ever have the opportunity to visit.  
 
 
   
 
   
    Husband and wife team, Levon Ovassapian and Anya Kagansky, serve
+
Husband and wife team, Levon Ovassapian and Anya Kagansky, serve traditional Russian and Armenia cuisine at their cozy, welcoming restaurant on Massachusetts Avenue.  
traditional Russian and Armenia cuisine at their cozy, welcoming
 
restaurant on Massachusetts Avenue.  
 
 
   
 
   
    `The best compliments come from people from that part of the
+
`The best compliments come from people from that part of the world. They say, `That's my borscht! That's how I cook it,'' Kagansky said.  
world. They say, `That's my borscht! That's how I cook it,'' Kagansky
 
said.  
 
 
   
 
   
    The pair, who have been married for three years, bought the space
+
The pair, who have been married for three years, bought the space four years ago when it was a Russian grocery store. The space has slowly evolved from the store to a small sandwich shop to its current incarnation as an intimate restaurant with bright, cheery orange walls decorated with colorful artwork.  
four years ago when it was a Russian grocery store. The space has
+
 
slowly evolved from the store to a small sandwich shop to its current
+
`We had a vision for the restaurant. We wanted to do it from day one when we met each other. We always liked to entertain,' said Kagansky, 49.
incarnation as an intimate restaurant with bright, cheery orange walls
+
 
decorated with colorful artwork.  
+
Often when they entertained, friends would compliment Ovassapian's cooking and say, `You should cook for the public, not just for the house,' Kagansky said.
 +
 
 +
Kagansky, who was a choral director in Siberia, moved to the United States in 1989 with her son Michael, now a medical student at Washington University in St. Louis. Her husband, formerly a classical ballet dancer from Armenia, moved to the U.S. 10 years ago.
 +
 
 +
`I love the U.S.,' said Ovassapian, 40. `Everything is for the people. (Everyone) can do something.'
 
   
 
   
    `We had a vision for the restaurant. We wanted to do it from day
+
Soon after moving to Los Angeles, Ovassapian found himself running Lavash Bakery. He was later transferred to Watertown to run a bakery, by the same name, there.
one when we met each other. We always liked to entertain,' said
+
 
Kagansky, 49.
+
For both, food has played an important role in their lives, especially when they were growing up.  
+
 
    Often when they entertained, friends would compliment Ovassapian's
+
`If you got lamb and were cooking shish kebab, it had to be cooked outside. You had to share with your neighbors. His (Ovassapian's) shish kebabs are outstanding. It's very good, very different. He makes it with lots of love,' she said.  
cooking and say, `You should cook for the public, not just for the
+
 
house,' Kagansky said.
+
When they began making plans for the restaurant, the pair envisioned a cozy, elegant and romantic space with music playing. All has been accomplished in the restaurant, which seats up to 30.  
+
 
    Kagansky, who was a choral director in Siberia, moved to the
+
`It's almost like throwing a party in your house. If you put heart into it, they'll love it,' said Kagansky, who also owns Anya's Spa in Lexington.  
United States in 1989 with her son Michael, now a medical student at
+
 
Washington University in St. Louis. Her husband, formerly a classical
+
The recipes were all adapted by Ovassapian to suit his tastes. While Kagansky, who calls herself an expert in borscht, supplied her recipe, her husband adjusted it to his taste. Same with the blinis. He adds a bit of sugar to offset the saltiness of the salmon and caviar, which often accompany it.  
ballet dancer from Armenia, moved to the U.S. 10 years ago.
+
 
+
When they decided to go into business together, Kagansky said they shared the same vision. Since opening the restaurant, Kagansky has learned to be patient.  
    `I love the U.S.,' said Ovassapian, 40. `Everything is for the
+
 
people. (Everyone) can do something.'
+
`I work at the salon where you have to be speedy, but here you can not be speedy. If a shish kebab cooks for 20 minutes, you can not speed it up,' she said. `People don't mind if they are waiting, if you are providing good quality... Nothing is pre-cooked here. Everything is made from scratch.'  
+
 
    Soon after moving to Los Angeles, Ovassapian found himself running
+
Customers hail from many backgrounds, and some days Kagansky said it seems as if everyone is speaking a different language.
Lavash Bakery. He was later transferred to Watertown to run a bakery,
+
 
by the same name, there.  
+
`Russia had such a big influence on other countries,' Kagansky explained. `They all say, `Oh my god! My grandmother cooked that.' You want to teach your children, your grandchildren. You want to keep that tradition.'  
+
 
    For both, food has played an important role in their lives,
+
The couple's friend Garen Avetissyan, who was visiting from Armenia, said the restaurant offers Americans a way to experience another part of the world.  
especially when they were growing up.  
+
 
+
`Whoever walks in here, everyone is just amazed, even people who are used to this food from eastern Europe. People who have never tried it before, their eyes pop out of their head. Some people never got around after the Cold War to get to know this part of the world. Trying food is the American way of experiencing the world,' said Avetissyan, a former Waltham resident.
    `If you got lamb and were cooking shish kebab, it had to be cooked
 
outside. You had to share with your neighbors. His (Ovassapian's) shish
 
kebabs are outstanding. It's very good, very different. He makes it
 
with lots of love,' she said.  
 
 
    When they began making plans for the restaurant, the pair
 
envisioned a cozy, elegant and romantic space with music playing. All
 
has been accomplished in the restaurant, which seats up to 30.  
 
 
    `It's almost like throwing a party in your house. If you put heart
 
into it, they'll love it,' said Kagansky, who also owns Anya's Spa in
 
Lexington.  
 
 
    The recipes were all adapted by Ovassapian to suit his tastes.
 
While Kagansky, who calls herself an expert in borscht, supplied her
 
recipe, her husband adjusted it to his taste. Same with the blinis. He
 
adds a bit of sugar to offset the saltiness of the salmon and caviar,
 
which often accompany it.  
 
 
    When they decided to go into business together, Kagansky said they
 
shared the same vision. Since opening the restaurant, Kagansky has
 
learned to be patient.  
 
 
    `I work at the salon where you have to be speedy, but here you can
 
not be speedy. If a shish kebab cooks for 20 minutes, you can not speed
 
it up,' she said. `People don't mind if they are waiting, if you are
 
providing good quality... Nothing is pre-cooked here. Everything is made
 
from scratch.'  
 
 
    Customers hail from many backgrounds, and some days Kagansky said
 
it seems as if everyone is speaking a different language.  
 
 
    `Russia had such a big influence on other countries,' Kagansky
 
explained. `They all say, `Oh my god! My grandmother cooked that.' You
 
want to teach your children, your grandchildren. You want to keep that
 
tradition.'  
 
 
    The couple's friend Garen Avetissyan, who was visiting from
 
Armenia, said the restaurant offers Americans a way to experience
 
another part of the world.  
 
 
    `Whoever walks in here, everyone is just amazed, even people who
 
are used to this food from eastern Europe. People who have never tried
 
it before, their eyes pop out of their head. Some people never got
 
around after the Cold War to get to know this part of the world. Trying
 
food is the American way of experiencing the world,' said Avetissyan, a
 
former Waltham resident.
 

Revision as of 18:27, 7 November 2004

Arlington Advocate, MA Nov. 4, 2004

Couple revamps shop into cozy eatery on Massachusetts Ave. By Brooke Leister/ Staff Writer


With dishes such as hot borscht, herring fillets, Armenian lamb shish kebab and blinis with caviar, Café Levonya offers a taste of a world few ever have the opportunity to visit.

Husband and wife team, Levon Ovassapian and Anya Kagansky, serve traditional Russian and Armenia cuisine at their cozy, welcoming restaurant on Massachusetts Avenue.

`The best compliments come from people from that part of the world. They say, `That's my borscht! That's how I cook it, Kagansky said.

The pair, who have been married for three years, bought the space four years ago when it was a Russian grocery store. The space has slowly evolved from the store to a small sandwich shop to its current incarnation as an intimate restaurant with bright, cheery orange walls decorated with colorful artwork.

`We had a vision for the restaurant. We wanted to do it from day one when we met each other. We always liked to entertain,' said Kagansky, 49.

Often when they entertained, friends would compliment Ovassapian's cooking and say, `You should cook for the public, not just for the house,' Kagansky said.

Kagansky, who was a choral director in Siberia, moved to the United States in 1989 with her son Michael, now a medical student at Washington University in St. Louis. Her husband, formerly a classical ballet dancer from Armenia, moved to the U.S. 10 years ago.

`I love the U.S.,' said Ovassapian, 40. `Everything is for the people. (Everyone) can do something.'

Soon after moving to Los Angeles, Ovassapian found himself running Lavash Bakery. He was later transferred to Watertown to run a bakery, by the same name, there.

For both, food has played an important role in their lives, especially when they were growing up.

`If you got lamb and were cooking shish kebab, it had to be cooked outside. You had to share with your neighbors. His (Ovassapian's) shish kebabs are outstanding. It's very good, very different. He makes it with lots of love,' she said.

When they began making plans for the restaurant, the pair envisioned a cozy, elegant and romantic space with music playing. All has been accomplished in the restaurant, which seats up to 30.

`It's almost like throwing a party in your house. If you put heart into it, they'll love it,' said Kagansky, who also owns Anya's Spa in Lexington.

The recipes were all adapted by Ovassapian to suit his tastes. While Kagansky, who calls herself an expert in borscht, supplied her recipe, her husband adjusted it to his taste. Same with the blinis. He adds a bit of sugar to offset the saltiness of the salmon and caviar, which often accompany it.

When they decided to go into business together, Kagansky said they shared the same vision. Since opening the restaurant, Kagansky has learned to be patient.

`I work at the salon where you have to be speedy, but here you can not be speedy. If a shish kebab cooks for 20 minutes, you can not speed it up,' she said. `People don't mind if they are waiting, if you are providing good quality... Nothing is pre-cooked here. Everything is made from scratch.'

Customers hail from many backgrounds, and some days Kagansky said it seems as if everyone is speaking a different language.

`Russia had such a big influence on other countries,' Kagansky explained. `They all say, `Oh my god! My grandmother cooked that.' You want to teach your children, your grandchildren. You want to keep that tradition.'

The couple's friend Garen Avetissyan, who was visiting from Armenia, said the restaurant offers Americans a way to experience another part of the world.

`Whoever walks in here, everyone is just amazed, even people who are used to this food from eastern Europe. People who have never tried it before, their eyes pop out of their head. Some people never got around after the Cold War to get to know this part of the world. Trying food is the American way of experiencing the world,' said Avetissyan, a former Waltham resident.