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Jun 13, 2006 07:07 PM

Falafel Hut, San Rafael

  • m

I had lunch at the new Falafel Hut in downtown San Rafael on Saturday, and had the beef and lamb Shawarma ($6.95 as I recall). I expected to really like it, and I watched the top half of the kitchen staff (the half above the counter in my field of vision) as he grabbed stuff, chopped, etc., taking significant time to create the thing. But alas, it was a pale poor-stepchild of the other one I'm familier with, the one at Aram's in downtown Petaluma. Smaller, meat chopped small or ground, with a one-note-taste sauce, nothing at all like Aram's larger version with much larger pieces of meat and a more complex sauce (plus their red pepper sauce on the side). They seem to take pride in what they're doing at this new place, but at least for this one item, their version doesn't do it for me.

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  1. I went back today on the recommendation of a food-loving friend who had been there a few times lately and really liked their food. I found the shararma to be much better than the first time which was shortly after they opened. The meat was nicely sliced instead of chopped small or ground and the sauce (I ordered it spicy) was much better. I think the first time was just too soon. I now want to try some of their other interesting-sounding things. For the record, I still prefer the shawarma at Aram's in Petalums (Tue, Wed, Thu only) but I'm in San Rafael much more often than Petaluma.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Mick Ruthven

      I had been aiming to make it to Om, but I had some delicious home-cooked Indian food the night prior and instead decided to stop by here for a deluxe falafel.

      Pretty good overall - just a shade below the version at The Mediterranean in Concord. If anything, it definitely made me forget about that awful version I had two weeks prior at Amoura in the Westfield food court.

    2. There was a poster asking for foul in either the East Bay or Marin. I see it is on the menu here. Has anyone tried it?

      Also, has anyone tried any of the Palestinian dishes such chicken tabaka, mujadara, or haswa ... I'm assuming they are Palestinian as the owner is of Egyptian and Palestinian ancestry and some of those dishes are on the Old Jerusalem menu.

      Speaking of which ... I notiiced on the OJ menu the shawerma sandwich on the menu says "beef and lamb marinated in spices with tahini sauce, hummus, eggplant, potato, salad, and lettuce".

      Falafel Hut says that they have fried potatoes as a side. One yelper mentioned you could ask for potatoes and eggplant on the shawerma. What's that all about? Is this some Palestinian version? Anyone tried this ... or the potatoes alone?

      Or is that fried potatoes as in French fries. I know in Greece they often serve gyros with French fries in them.

      They also have zatar and MIddle Eastern pizza. Anyone tried that.

      Another Falafel Hut post.

      Falafel Hut
      1109 4th St, San Rafael, CA 94901

      3 Replies
      1. re: rworange

        Adding fries and/or eggplant is quite common at Lebanese and Palestinian places.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Israeli places also add fries and eggplant.

        2. re: rworange

          That was the spiciest shawerma I have ever had - it should come with a warning!

        3. Today we checked out the Falafel Hut in their new location on 4th St, just next to their former location. I had the hummus appetizer and kefta kebab sandwich, which were both excellent. My wife had the falafel appetizer portion, which was also good.

          The only downside was that service was extremely slow and confused. The owner was apparently away for lunch, and the staff holding down the fort couldn't even take order by item number....they messed up our order of three items. Two other tables had to get up and leave before being served. I hope they get their staff trained and up to speed...I want to go back.