Saturday, January 15, 2011

O' Falafel

I am pretty sure the morning crew thinks they are under FBI surveillance
after the way I did a drive by photo with a large telephoto lens
It is now January, the most not fun month of winter. There is no Christmas on the horizon, New Year's has had its fleeting moment of joy and spring seems a lifetime away. January snow is annoying, December snow is seasonal and fitting, February snow makes you nostalgic because you know that the sun will be melting it shortly into disgusting brown puddles. The petite copine was working late, I didn't want to cook and I wanted something to make me feel warm, tropical, exotic. It is 86 degrees in Aden, Yemen I need lamb and falafel.

Flafel is the type of meal that can benefit from being in shopping center and sharing a wall with a beauty supply store. The type of place that the wrong kind of foodie would turn their nose at, but those who who know good street food know shopping centers can hold culinary treasure.  As I pulled to back entrance of the restaurant I was greeted by a Persian man smoking a cigarette talking to me about how the early snow and the cold weather. I ordered lamb kabob and a side of the namesake falafel.

I took my seat and listened to the middle eastern music at it took me to a warm desert filled with sand and Peter O'Toole blowing up railroad tracks. The eyes of a beautiful women peered down on me from the mural (she seemed as annoyed by the grad student trying to impress his date by reciting facts about James Joyce as I was). Two men at the table behind me were drinking Turkish coffee and speaking in Farsi entitling the place to a greater level of credibility.

When the falafel arrived it was crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. The buttery nature of the chickpea and the bright clean flavor the cilantro provided a wonderful contrast of flavors. The side of yogurt provided a sour creamy layer of texture and flavor the signature food.

Oh Falafel
Disassembled Lamb Kabob
When the lamb kabob came it was disassembled on a bed of yellow rice garnished with fresh parsley and a side of tzatziki.  The presentation was colorful and gave elegance to what I had anticipated as a counter food. The rice was bright and clean, but dry. The vegetables melted in my mouth. The peppers were fruity, sweet and bright notes of citrus.  The onions were sweet with the char giving it wonderful smokey flavor.

The lamb was spiced so as not to cover up the lamb's natural sweetness and earth tones, but to enhance it. It was and crisp well defined grill marks on its surface and a tender moist interior. The tzatziki was filled with crunch and pungent sharp flavor. The dill and lemon juice gave aromatic flavor and blended well with the lamb. The aforementioned dry yellow rice benefited greatly from the tzatziki.

I enjoyed my night in the desert and felt like I was not in a freezing city high in the mountains watching the snow fall and trying to warm up. I was a world away enjoying exotic food and music.

O' Falafel on Urbanspoon


  1. So sad that I lived right by there and never ate there.

  2. Had really good falafel in NYC last month - The Hummus Place. Alan and Ruth took us, and Alan says "real" mid-easterners even recommend the place. I like that your falafel place has an authentic fell, right down to its patrons.

  3. It certainly helps a restaurant's street cred to have people from the culture they are representing eating there. The way I found all of the Ethiopian and Eritrean restaurants in DC I liked was my cab drivers told me where they went.

  4. O Falafel is a personal favorite of mine here. Its a great place for an introduction to falafel. Since first having it there I've had some of the best falafel in the country in San Francisco and Portland.

  5. One of the best things I ever tasted was from a food court in Boston.

    I second The Hummus Place. I could have just camped out there and fed till I exploded.

  6. I have only had the healthy baked kind the petite copine makes, which are flavorful, but obviously healthy.