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Jun 1, 2008 08:54 AM

Ibby's Falafel Freehold

Cliff notes - Go soon and go often as we desperately need some good non italian, chinese, or mexican places in Freehold.

OK, call me crazy, but I just had to try them out so just before 11 am I found myself near the corner of Main and South St in Freehold getting takeout. Much like the owner's uncle's place in the east village, Mahmoun's, this is not a huge, sit-down kinda place, but they do have room for perhaps 20 or so patron's to eat in this bright, clean and new-looking place.

I ordered one falafel and one chicken shawarma sandwich, both with everything. As they made them we talked and I found out that they make all their pastries on premises so I had to try a Kanafe and a Namoura (I'll get the Baklava next time). I also found out that they are delivering locally and since I only live a few miles from town I am in luck.

On to the food. Both sandwiches rated a very good on the seal sandwich scale with plentiful, fresh lettuce, tomato and onion rounding out excellent falafel balls and tasty chicken. Also, the white sauce was authentic and good too. My minor quibbles were that they did not yet have any pickles (I am told that pickled radishes are coming) and that the hot sauce was the generic Frank's red variety, not that day-glow orange middle eastern variety found in the east village. I am kinda full, so I just tried one bite of each of the pastries, but that was enough to tell me I am in for a treat.

I am looking forward to trying more of them menu, especially the lamb shawarma, shish kabab, baba ghanoush, and the fatoush(lebanese salad). In fact, I think a sandwich with fatoush and either the falafel or the shawarma would be just about perfect especially when those pickles are ready...

Ibby's Falafel
4 West Main St.
Freehold, NJ

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  1. Crazy? Not in the least seal! You are the best pal we Hounds can have because you are always at the ready to check out new possibilities for us. Sometimes you end up taking one for the team but, in so many instances, you have an experience that is worthy of a very positive review. Happily, this is one of the latter.

    We've never been to either of the two Mamoun's, in NYC. Yes, I know. That's a shock! But since you have, and you think Ibby's rates so well in comparison, that's good enough for me. I hope to get to Ibby's in the not-too-distant future.

    Btw, I presume the "white sauce" you referred to is tahini?

    5 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      RGR - yes, the white sauce is tahini. And I will surely be having some delivered this week ;o)

      1. re: seal

        Sounds to me like you are connected to Ibby's!!!

        1. re: skipper

          Lol - I read those posts this morning.

          But I have to take some of the blame, since when I was talking with the owner I told him about chowhound, but did not tell him the rules here on the boards. I'll have to make sure I do when I see him again.

          Back to food - I had them deliver some shawarma last night and the lamb was really good. As a fat guy ;o) the only issue I have is with the portion size. I would have liked more meat on my platter. When I get even a sandwich at Chickpea in the city it is literally bursting with meat. But it is still nice to have a good choice in Freehold.

      2. re: RGR

        I have been to Mamoun's in the Manhattan over 30 times, and the one in New Haven. I have 2 Mamoun's t-shirts. I went to a falafel place in Paris because Lenny Kravitz said in an interview it was the best in the world. Point is, I love falafel and shwarma. Nothing compares to Mamoun's, which is the Peter Luger of falafel. That said, I had Ibby's last night and I totally loved it. The falafel with hummus sandwich compared well to Mamoun's (although you need to add your own hot sauce), and the lamb shwarma platter as fantastic.

        1. re: CSmooth

          Mamoun's also used to be in Middletown,Ct. Broke my heart when they closed. Still have the t-shirt. I'm picking my Wesleyan-Mamoun's- Loving son at Newark airport on Sun. We'll have to visit. Thanks.

      3. The original comment has been removed
        1. On seal's endorsement, I stopped by earlier this week for some takeout ... an Ibby's meat platter with lamb shawarma and a chicken kabob platter, and a couple of desserts (baklava and another but the name escpaes me). The owner couldn't have been any friendlier. The lamb shawarma was very tasty but could have used a bit more meat. The rest of the platter included falafel (good, but were barely warm by the time I ate them at home), humus (good, but I'm particularly deferential to the garlic humus sold at the Wegmans olive bar), and baba ghanoush (also good). The humus and baba ghanoush portions were huge and I was not able to finish it all. The pita bread which had been warmed and wrapped did not travel well and were hard by the time we ate them. I had only a bite of the chicken kabob which was served over rice ... it was moist and tasty. The platters were around $11 each and, in my opinion, were a good value for the quality and amount of food. The desserts were both solid. I think I would have enjoyed the food even more if I had eaten it at one of the few available tables (its a very small place). Its nice to have Ibby's as a new local dining option.

          1. I live on the Shore and work in Jersey City. I go to Ibby's in Jersey City for lunch quite often. It's a beloved landmark there. When I drove through Freehold yesterday and saw the "Ibby's Falafel" sign, I had to stop and take a picture. My first thought was to show the JC Ibby's guys so they can sue the pants out of these people. I went inside to get to the bottom of these shenanigans. To my delight, I saw many of the same faces I saw in JC Ibby's during the work week. Turns out that most of that family live in Freehold, and they finally decided to open an Ibby's locally.

            We ordered dinner, and not surprising, it was the same delicious falafel and hummus that made the JC location such a popular place. As a bonus, the menu has a few more options than the Jersey City location, and the inside is much bigger!

            2 Replies
            1. re: Shu the Moody

              If the inside of the Freehold Ibby's is "much bigger" than the Jersey City location, then the JC restaurant must be in a closet.

              1. re: jsfein

                It is a closet. You can barely walk up to place your order. By my guess, Ibby's Freehold has about a 150% larger dining area than JC.

            2. My family and I just ate there on Friday and it was the best falafel we have had in the area. We live near Red Bank, and have seriously missed good falafel since moving from NY. I would recommend eating there without hesitation.

              I had the falafel with hummus. It was all freshly prepared and had nice garlic overtones. My daughters had a chicken shwarma, which was also nicely spiced with a hint of cinnamon.

              I will be there anytime I am in Freehold again. I just wish they had opened in Red Bank. Zaitooni is good, but not nearly as good as Ibbys. And Ibbys' was much more reasonably priced. I believe my falafel was $4.50.

              2 Replies
              1. re: manfredtex

                just had the combo sandwich w/ chicken for lunch. delicious. also tried the spinach pie. hadn't had that before and it was a little tart/bitter for me. Maybe it's the style, not sure. It was good but I can skip it in the future.
                I can walk to this place so it's a good, reasonable option for lunch!

                1. re: manfredtex

                  What about the place in Red Bank on a side street? I've only have a sandwich there but thought it OK.