The Olympic Pita in Manhattan?
- Miss Needle Aug 28, 2006 10:56 PM
A couple of days ago, I noticed a sign on 38th between 6th and 5th ave that Olympic Pita was going to open. Does anybody know if it's related to the same one in Brooklyn?
Just wanted to let you guys know that I just had lunch from there. It is definitely affiliated with the Brooklyn one. It is a bit chaotic. I think they're still trying to work out the kinks. I got there around 1:30P and they were only doing take-out as they close early for Shabbat. There was no organization. People had no idea where to go. The deal is you have to go to the cashier in the back on the right. Place your order, pay for your order. Then go back in the front and give your receipt to one of the guys. I ordered a falafel on laffa to go and the schwarma Olympic special.
The falafel was cold and heavy, different from what I experienced in the Brooklyn location. Perhaps it was sitting out too long. The laffa was delicious, tastier than pita bread. You had your choice of salads that they put generously into the sandwich. My fiance was here a couple of weeks ago and ordered a falafel on laffa. He was asked if he wanted french fries in his falafel, to which he said yes. He was also given a take-out container to fill up with salad. Alas, I didn't receive that same treatment.
The schwarma was not as sweet as I remembered from the Brooklyn location -- I preferred this one. The special came with two sides, laffa bread and soda. I chose the fries and yellow rice and beans. The fries definitely need some improvement. While they were fresh, by the time I ate it (I live a few doors down from the restaurant)it was soggy. It was not salted (which is a big no-no in my book). I believe the potatoes they used were waxy ones. I really prefer my fries made with Russets. The rice and beans were pretty good. I never received my laffa bread with the special.
While I'm happy to see Olympic Pita in my hood, they definitely need to work some things out.
Tried Olympic Pita and it reminded me a lot of the Brooklyn location. Got a schwarma on laffa and a side of falafel. I'd forgotten how greasy and ginormous their schwarma sandwiches are. Still, the laffa and salads seemed to absorb the grease, yielding a tasty middle eastern burrito that could have fed two. The irony is that it was better wrapped than most of the mexican burritos I've tried in NYC.
There was a selection of several different salads and cole slaws, as well as the delicious fried eggplant, which is key. I was given the option of fries on my schwarma, and provided a second container to fill up with salads. Unlike Ms. Needle, I actually loved my falafel balls, though mine were freshly cooked. The falafel isn't on par with Azuri or Taim, but still very good. In my opinion, it's the way to go.
Let's be clear: Olympic is not Azuri, and never will be. The variety, freshness, and tastiness of Ezra's salads still reign supreme. It's also a little frustrating that Olympic doesn't offer a reasonable schawafel option (the price is approximately $20) like Pick-A-Pita, which is another great place for Israeli-style falafel in the Garment District. But I still place it at the top of the second tier of falafel places in mahattan.
Lucky you you were able to get the fried eggplant! I've been there twice with no eggplant in sight.
During my second visit, it was pretty empty. I ordered a falafel on laffa. This time, the falafel balls were fresh and quite good. I do agree that it doesn't hold a candle to Taim (haven't been to Azuri yet). I was also given a container to fill up with the salads. Unfortunately, I wasn't given the option to put fries inside my sandwich. I will have to speak up next time.
btw, I also like Pick-A-Pita, but really dig the pick your own salad thing.
Loved the Yemenite soup, the Pargit (baby chicken) skewer, and the chicken soup was interesting, too, with some sort of herbed matzo balls. We found the service excellent and the laffas were fab. Would definitely go back.