Rest of the “Best of”: Falafels
Written by Bwog Staff
Welcome back to the Best of series in which Bwog analyzes the best in a category of chosen food product!
This week, we take a critical eye toward perhaps the only apolitical Middle East controversy on campus. Join us as we debate the virtues and vices of three of Morningside’s falafel-purveyors: Amir’s, the Cart on 110th and Broadway, and Jerusalem Restaurant.
You don’t have to worry about staining your shirt when you eat a falafel at Amir’s. The tidiness of the sandwich here, however, is not necessarily a good thing, as Amir’s falafels tend be on the dry side. While the fried falafel ball itself is crispy, its crunchy exterior overpowers the moist doughiness of the interior. The veggie condiments also give the sandwich an additional crunchy fresh kick, but overall there’s no messy, sauciness that makes falafels so savory.
The Amir’s chefs tend to be pretty stingy with their tahini allotment. And don’t bother jazzing up your falafel with the hummus and babaganush: they’re bland and homogenous in taste. That said, the service is reliably fast, the location is convenient and the prices are cheap ($4.25 for a sandwich, $6.75 for a platter), and the fries and Flex-friendliness are added bonuses.
The Halaal Cart on 110th and Broadway:
Proximity to lower Broadway shopping and the downtown 1 stop makes the cart an ideal and affordable place to take a break from an afternoon of purchasing at American Apparel or Rite Aid.
The falafel itself is basic. Although chickpea ball is usually not served hot enough for Bwog’s taste, the piping hot toasted pita is valiant attempt to compensate. But the temperature disparity is evident nonetheless.
The sauce quotient here is high, but it tends to leave the abundance of iceberg lettuce and diced tomatoes soggy. In addition, the server ladles on sauce liberally and thus avoids the dryness problems that plague Amir’s. Be sure to ask for extra napkins.
Bwog likes to think of the Jerusalem Restaurant as a hidden gem. Admittedly, that’s probably a misconception. But whether you’ve heard of it or not, Jerusalem Restaurant serves up a substantial falafel.
The service might be slow but that’s because the falafel balls are made and fried fresh to order. And each order comes with an amuse bouche — which is French for “hooray! free sample” — of toasted pita and hummus.
Extra hummus or babaganush can be added for no additional charge. And you’ll want to add more hummus: it’s thick and flavored with just the right amount of garlic and a touch of lemon.
Although its bit of a hike to 103rd and Broadway, the sandwich here is worth the distance, and at $5.50 for a falafel platter it’s even slightly cheaper than Amir’s. Plus there’s baklava and Turkish coffee for dessert.
In Conclusion: Winner: Jerusalem Restaurant, Silver medal to Amir’s, with an honorable mention to the Cart on 110th.