This week, in our continuing quest to answer the all-important life question "Will it waffle?," we've had a number of deep failures, a couple of meh, I'd eat thats, and one rousing success. Namely, falafel. Actually, come to think of it, falafel was our biggest success and our biggest failure. It all depends on how you waffle it.
'falafel' on Serious Eats
Sandwiches are one of my weekend lunch staples when I'm on a vegan diet, and I'm always looking for new delicious fillings. This time around? Crispy, herb-packed chickpea patties, topped with a bright slaw flavored with tahini and lemon juice. Think of it as falafel in a completely different (but equally delicious) format.
The five boroughs are dotted with numerous cuisine-unspecific kosher restaurants, serving everything from shawarma to pizza to sushi, all rabbinically approved for Orthodox Jewish consumption. Benjy's Kosher Pizza Dairy Restaurant & Sushi Bar in Flushing is one notable example. According to the restaurant's extended name, a woman I spoke to while having lunch there, and this blog post (picked up by Gothamist), the pizza is the thing to order at Benjy's. And having read that post, there was no way I'd be ordering anything other than the Falafel Pizza.
When it comes to falafel, there's no one like Astoria's King of Falafel and Shawarma. Now you can get the cart's award-winning falafel and falafel mix to make at home.
It's easy to drive by Hungry Pocket Falafel House hundreds of times before you realize that this tiny run-down shack on Pico Boulevard is home to delicious Middle Eastern fare. The dilapidated exterior may even make you question whether or not it's safe to go inside, but have no fear: you'll be welcomed instantly and the food is well worth it.
One might think that falafel, often championed by the vegetarian set, would be an unlikely partner for ham, darling of many a carnivore. One would be wrong.
On a lazy afternoon, you'll want to head over to Eastwood, an inconspicuous bar in the Lower East Side offering wine and beer and a small snack menu that crosses between Middle Eastern and fish and chips.
Non-falafel options at falafel joints often disappoint, but that's not the case at The Falafel Shop.
The falafel ($5.75) at The Falafel Shop may be petite, but it's far from delicate.
Does the namesake falafel hold up to the shawarma at Homemade Falafel? I think so.
After making King of Falafel & Shawarma's falafel recipe in Alexandra Penfold and Siobhan Wallace's new cookbook, New York a la Cart, I may stop buying pre-made falafel. These falafel fritters are made properly, with soaked dried chickpeas and a whole party of spices. Rolled into small balls and fried for just a few minutes, they emerge crisp-tender and fragrant.
I eat a lot of falafel. It can come from a cart, a restaurant, or even a deli case--I don't really discriminate. But I probably should be more picky because most of the falafel out there isn't great. So much of the falafel I find is either greasy and falling apart or dense and dry. But after making King of Falafel & Shawarma's falafel recipe in Alexandra Penfold and Siobhan Wallace's new cookbook, New York a la Cart, I may stop buying my falafel pre-made (unless of course I happen to be in Astoria and happen to stop by the Falafel King himself). These falafel are made properly, with soaked dried chickpeas and a whole party of spices. Rolled into small balls and fried for just a few minutes, they emerge crisp-tender and fragrant. They're perfect in pita sandwiches or eaten one by one, with your hands, dipped into a giant bowl of tahini.
The falafel and spicy sauce lift an otherwise nondescript sandwich at Milo's Pita Place.
Though missing the vibrant array of toppings that some of the newer Mediterranean places serve, the falafel sandwich at Oasis Cafe succeeds thanks to a warm and fluffy pita and some exceptionally crisp falafel balls, which hold their crunch even when drenched with tahini.
Nish Nush on the corner of Church and Reade in Tribeca avoids all falafel follies and turns out a delightful rendition for lunch.
These falafel-esque fritters started off as exactly that—an experimental recipe for falafel. My problem? I longed to have a recipe that could give me the satisfying crunch and nutty/herbal flavor of falafel without having to pull out the deep fryer.
These vegan falafel-esque patties made with chickpeas and bulgur wheat have a crunchy breadcrumb and are served with mashed avocado for a rich and creamy texture.
Finding falafel in the Loop is about as easy as picking a random storefront and walking in. (I am only slightly exaggerating.) But finding the fried specialty elsewhere in the city requires a little more planning.
At long last, the Nolita branch of Taïm officially opens today. The space is five times larger than the original one on Waverly Place in the West Village, and makes the same amazing falafel we love.
The crispy orange stained exterior houses a creamy and well-spiced interior where "sweet" is the operative word. A quick dip in one of the many house-made sauces results in a bite that is more balanced than the sum of its parts.