Monday, October 25, 2004

Mamoun's Falafel

119 MacDougal St @ W 3rd Street, 212-674-8685


Cost per person: $5

"YGWYPF" factor: 10/10 (you get what you pay for)

The ambience: barebones, to nothing. The location: West Village, close to Washington Park. The appearance: if this is not called "hole in the wall", I wodner what is. The crowd: half a block long, and very hungry. The service: fast, no nonsense.

If there's any other place as focused on just the food, and keeping costs down, then I'm not aware of it. Even though it's a brick-and-mortar place, prices are cheaper than the food carts in the street corners. Food is guaranteed fresh, as the place usually has a long line in front of it. Seating arrangements are rare - 3 tables, 12 places in all, and extremely crammed. But then if you are looking for a relaxed lunch/dinner, you should not be looking here.

As for the food - mouth watering. I wouldn't know authentic middle eastern from the not-so-authentic ones, but this tastes wonderful. Unless you really like creating your own pocket pitas, skip the platters, and go for the basic sandwiches. I recommend the Falafel with Baba Ghannouj or the Falafel with Hommus - at $2.50, they are 50c more than the regular falafel, and add interesting side notes. Shawerma and Chicken Kebabs are nice and juicy. The only issue with all of these is the thick, creamy white sauce that drips onto everything for all but the seasoned eater, so try avoiding your finest silks when you visit this joint.


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