Apr

28

It’s Tasty, Fun, And Yes It’s Healthy!

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Maoz is officially open. Having attracted a flurry of media attention, Bwog joined the ranks of the falafel fiends whose steady flow kept the joint buzzing during lunch hour its first day in the new 111th St location. The premise is simple: choose a form of falafel, either in a pita (whole wheat or white), or in a salad, and then help yourself to fixings and sauces from the unlimited salad bar.

While this seems like a fine idea, in practice it was quite a surreal experience. Having placed your order, you are given a number, which causes a rather awkward traffic near the salad bar, while some people linger at the register and others heap the cucumbers high on their sandwiches.

Read on for Bwog’s full report!

However, the goods are good! Fresh warm pitas and crunchy, not-too-greasy falafel are a good value for money, ($4.95 for the basic sandwich, extra for hummus, or the salad box.) The salad bar has a wide variety of fresh toppings, with the roasted brocolli being Bwog’s particular favorite.

There is more to the experience than just the sandwich. There are more pieces of falafel than expected (Bwog lost count amidst all these musings) presenting several difficulties:

  • It is difficult to fit very many toppings from the salad bar into the pita, necessitating multiple trips to and from the awkwardly placed and crowded salad bar, and navigation of the unwieldy benches.
  • Falafel is filling! While you think you’re tucking into a crunchy, vegetable filled meal, you end up feeling pretty weighed down by the volume of chickpea, (which a chart on the wall informs you is a legume, in case you didn’t know.) This leaves you on the more unpleasant side of sated while yearning for more delicious salad that you don’t have room for.
  • It is so hard to eat! A pita stuffed with falafel, overflowing vegetables AND sauce is an awkward thing. We ended up using a combination of the traditional hold and bite method, plastic forks, and the occasional free hand for assistance.

All this is to say that the Maoz experience is a unique one, certainly with delights, but one that also left Bwog with reservations. The comfort factor is a great one: the busy, overwhelming decor, bright lights and benches make the space somewhat awkward, yet the sandwich itself is too difficult to eat on the go, plus you want to be by the salad bar. Too heavy for a light lunch, and too healthy for the late night drunchies, we’re left wondering where exactly Maoz will fit into our lives. Only time will tell. Nevertheless, it was a hearty, satisfying meal, and we strongly encourage you to go try it for yourselves.

Reporting and photos by CCS and SS

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38 Comments

  1. omg  

    what are the hours of this? please tell me this is open late night

  2. I've been eating at Maoz  

    down on Union Square for ages. It's some of the best felafel in Manhattan.

    If you think you can't fit everything you want into a pita, then get a platter, for heaven's sake. Amazing that you have reservations about getting TOO MANY felafel balls. Geez, there's no pleasing some people.

    CAPCHA words: its mindless. Prescient CAPCHA!

    • FYI  

      there's also one at 72nd street. in case you were traveling all the way to union square just for maoz.

      • 72nd Street?

        If you're on 72nd, try SoomSoom! Opened last summer, family-owned (not a chain!), and absolutely delicious falafel. A bit pricier than Maoz, but they tend to be friendlier and have a wider selection of salads to choose from. And they're certified-Kosher, for what it's worth.

  3. ...  

    isn't that it's 111th street location?

    and... how does it compare to amir's?

  4. Anonymous  

    I had it today and loved it! It's a great afternoon snack. Definitely more and better food and prices than Empanada Joe's. It's obvious why they failed.

  5. Anonymous  

    does anyone know if it's kosher?

  6. ummm

    it's all veggies so...yes...

  7. orange juice!  

    Most definitely the best fresh orange juice in the area! Soo yummy, and they make it when you order it. Didn't think it was hard to eat at all, bwoggers need to learn how to eat a stuffed pita I guess. Got mixed fries, so I could try both. Both were great but the sweet potato fries killed, clearly the winner (if you're willing to pay the extra 50 cents).

    My meal came to 11.12 with tax. I got the first meal option, with the pita with 5 falafels eggplant and hummus (plus the unlimited salad bar), mixed fries ($.50 extra), and fresh squeezed orange juice ($1.00 extra and more than worth it). I was super satisfied. So yummy and filling without feeling weighed down by the meal!

    The only negative I think is the salad bar. It is awkwardly placed, and I wanted more toppings that I could fit because I could only access the top of the pita. Platter may be the way to go in the future.

  8. Dear Bwog  

    Please learn how to eat falafel!
    If they give you more its a good thing!
    If you are that lazy to go back and forth, get a plate for the salad!
    And, if you don't want it to overflow, then don't put so much sauce and vegetables in the pita!!!

  9. Anonymous  

    i absolutely adore maoz. so happy that they've opened one up here!

  10. i  

    i feel kind of bad for amir's...I know they're not the best but this is surely going to put them out of business, I would think. I did see they're doing 2 falafel bites on the sidewalk for $1 as a snack, which I would assume is their attempt to compete

    but maoz is just way fresher and tastier, and no risk of roaches as of yet....

  11. moaz  

    is israeli. go elsewhere.

  12. vivian  

    YESSS FINALLLY I LOVE MAOZ I DIIIEEE

  13. Anonymous

    Whoever told you a falafel was healthy was lying. It's deep fried chickpeas, plus lots of oily sauces. The healthy part is the extra vegetable that are put in it.

  14. Anonymous

    do you know if they post calorie counts?

  15. soooo  

    happy they have this

  16. oooh  

    this was so good! for a reasonable meal, get the junior sandwich and drink, load it up with toppings, and split the sweet potato fries with a friend! I'm stuffed!

    so right- the roasted broccoli was a tad greasy but delicious!!

  17. israeli owned?  

    really?

    • Actually  

      You posted more-or-less the same comment a few lines back, so cool it.

      They're from the Netherlands. They are originally from Israel. If they don't live there anymore and don't really have any political statement or anything at all, what are you trying to say?

      • Anonymous  

        Seriously. Even if they did still live there, big fucking deal. It's a goddamn falafel place, dude needs to chill out!

        On a more important note: maoz rocks, I am SO excited it's finally open!!!! yesssss

  18. tip:  

    get the junior one, which has 3 falafels instead of 5. this leaves more room for fixins, and it's cheaper.

  19. yes!

    the junior meal is the deal!!!

  20. D.C.

    It ain't no Amsterdam Falafelshop

  21. hee lekker ding  

    i used to live in amsterdam, and spent many mealtimes honing my pita-stuffing techniques at maoz. (it IS an amsterdam falafelshop, it just bears little resemblance to the typical dingy israeli-owned falafel joints in that city; i.e., maoz stores are always clean and bright, and the veggies are FRESSSSH!)

    anyway, here's how to max out your pita at maoz:

    * ask the counterperson to hold the salad. the "salad" is just shredded iceberg lettuce; it takes up space in your pita where you could otherwise put something awesome.
    * upon receiving falafel, distribute the balls evenly within pita and SQUISH. i mean, flatten it. now falafel is evenly distributed and your pita is at max capacity!
    * put your favorite sauces in first. if you wait til the end, only the bites on the top will be saucy!
    * ignore the common wisdom of packing in the big things first, and start filling the pita with the salads that easily assimilate with your mashed up falafel (such as couscous, diced tomato, anything finely chopped). THEN add the big sliced veggies-- cucumbers, pickled carrots and beets. slide them in along the sides of your pita, and they will give it a bit more structure-- potentially less messy, unless you rip the pita bread. if you rip the pita, you may as well just ask for a salad bowl and a fork... you are not eating street food anymore!

    * if there is room to sit down and eat there, then you can ignore all these tips and just reload at the salad bar as many times as you want, health codes be damned!

    see yall at maoz! i'll be the individual with the neurotic pita-stuffing habits, accidentally speaking dutch.

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