Sep

27

Rest of the “Best of”: Falafels

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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.

Amir’s:

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.

Jerusalem Restaurant:

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.

— MEQ

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20 Comments

  1. Huh.

    WHOLE in the wall? Is that really how it's spelled?

  2. Native New Yorker  

    I think the best falafel you can get is Mahmoun's at MacDougal Street, and the Israeli chain that has a few locations in NYC (such as Union Sq.), Maoz is wonderful

  3. Amir's Flex Policy  

    Is bullshit. They make you buy at least $10 in food to use Flex, which none of their items are

  4. I always

    used to go to jerusalem cafe---great food.

  5. name  

    its all about taim on waverly. the falafel comes in three flavors of deliciousness. amirs sucks.

  6. NO NO NO!

    AMIR'S SUCKS. IT IS THE WORST PLACE IN MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS. BOYCOTT AMIR'S!!!

  7. meh

    Mahmoun's is just cheap. No better (in fact worse) than Jerusalem garden. The fact that the Falafel is only 3.00 seems to make it tastier though.

  8. lildee  

    best falafel, hands down is tahini by astor place. best pita bread anywhere.

  9. what  

    Best falafel (closer than 103rd), the place that opened up next door to Taqueria.

    Huge, disgusting and cheap falafel at Che Bella.

  10. Thads  

    Jerusalem Falafel is great...
    but so is Alibaba, 85th & Amsterdam,
    run by Yemenite Jews and serving scrumptious Yemeni specialties as well as falafel that gives Jerusalem a run for its money

  11. The Converted

    Or you could enjoy actual Jerusalem felafel...for free!

    www.birthrightisrael.org

  12. MAHMOUNS  

    Mahmoun's is the shiznit. nothing compares to a 2.50 amazing falafel at 4 AM

  13. maoz!!!  

    just opened at 72nd. their salad bar is amazing.

  14. shlomohamed  

    three items are key for a good falafel:
    1- paper-thin hand-stretched pita, not that thick dry industrial crap they serve everywhere
    2- a little tahini sauce that's not too thick to avoid the falafel dryness problem
    3- those purple turnip pickles to give the sandwich a little bit of tanginess, juiciness and crunch
    i have yet to eat a great falafel sandwich in nyc, let me know if you know a place that satisfies these three criteria and i'll be eternally grateful.

  15. good and not so far  

    hummus place!
    74th and amsterdam!
    (west village and east village locations too)

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