Falafel House opens on 33rd
Issue date: 3/11/11 Section: Arts & Entertainment
As diners enter, they are introduced to a very casual setting that allows guests to order takeout or sit down and dine. With only enough space to seat 20 customers at most, the dining area gets loud quickly. Not to worry - the service is friendly and excited to cater to customer needs. After placing my order, the food was admittedly a little slow to come out, but this is surely a small kink that should be worked out within the next few weeks.
Looking at the menu, it may be hard just to choose one thing; almost everything on the menu sounds tasty. Not only are there plenty of choices that will have you coming back for a second visit, but the prices are very affordable. Falafel sandwiches start at only $3.99, and nothing on the menu costs over $12.99.
The other thing that makes Falafel House so appealing is that there are many vegetarian options to balance the meat-filled dishes. Vegetarian dishes include baba ghanoush (grilled eggplant pureed with tahini sauce, lemon juice and olive oil), rice-stuffed grape leaves, tabouli (finely chopped parsley mixed with tomatoes, onions, cracked wheat, lemon juice and olive oil) and the fattoush salad (mixed vegetables, lemon juice, olive oil and spices).
As much as I enjoy many of the items mentioned above, I am no vegetarian. As far as sandwiches are concerned, the lamb and chicken shawarma sandwiches are great. A hearty filling of chicken or lamb is cooked in a creamy, garlicky, spiced sauce and rolled up in a thinly baked pita with a mix of onions and parsley. While the menu said that all sandwiches came with the salad mix, my friend's sandwich contained the mix of onions and parsley while I did not receive any. It's a little unfortunate, because the onions and parsley do a nice job of cutting the heaviness of the meat mixture. Other entrée items include shawarma platters, meat kebab platters and soups.
Not everyone may want a hearty platter, so another option is to simply get a variety of appetizers. In terms of appetizers, the hummus and falafel are tasty. The hummus bowl ($3.99) is served as a generous portion with two pieces of pita bread. Hummus here is topped with olive oil and a dash of paprika. It is very smooth and melts in the mouth; my only recommendation would be to finish the hummus with a little less oil.
The falafel makes another good choice. Made a little differently than most places, this appetizer is still worth it to try. At only $1, diners can opt for the appetizer falafel (3 pieces) instead of paying more for the sandwich. One-and-a-half inch falafel balls are well seasoned and fried perfectly. Instead of strictly using tahini paste mixed with the crushed chickpeas, Falafel House adds whole sesame seeds, giving the falafel more texture and crunch. This makes the falafel grittier, but it's not too bad.
Falafel House is open daily Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. If you haven't had a taste of Middle Eastern cuisine yet, forgo the pizza places and try the new place around the corner. The rustic and simplistic foods of Falafel House will have newcomers wanting to try more.