In search of a REAL Israeli Grill...
Hey all. So I'm an Israeli-American in search of the real deal :)
I'm looking for an Israeli grill ANYWHERE in the boroughs that will offer me the staples I'm used to:
1. A *wide* selection of grilled meats, especially grilled chicken hearts, etc.
2. Strong and authentic seasoning
3. A vast salad bar for stuffing into your pita and falafel!
4. Whole grilled fish like tilapia or snapper
5. Spicy shakshouka would be great as well
I'm basically fed up with the offerings in Manhattan- most places cut out at hummus and falafel, and the grilled meats lack the flavor I'm used to. I've seen some places on chow in the outer boroughs that look promising, but still fall a little short in the offerings- for example, too narrow a meat selection and not enough salads. For those of you who have been to Israel and any number of stalls in the malls and streets, you know what I'm talking about- seven kinds of eggplant, thirty-three types of carrots, etc. etc. :) And many, many, types of skewers to choose from.
If anyone can lend me some insight into a truly authentic Israeli joint, I'd be forever indebted!!
Sorry, know exactly what you're talking about, and there's no such beast in Queens or Long Island. We have to make due with digging up the few decent falafel places and simple grilled stuff. I wish there was a place like that, and with all the Israeli's here, I don't know why no one has ever opened one.
The Morrocan Israeli's that I know cook in that style, lots of spice and great dishes all around. If you find something, let us know! In the meantime, the best I can offer is Hapisgah, and frankly, I go there for their falafel and fried eggplant salad, and some other stuff.
Used to be a very good place many years ago in Rego Park called THE FLAME which had excellent grilled stuff, but it's long gone...along with a lot of its customers that got replaced by the influx of Bukharians to the area.
I don't know how authentic these places are, nor if they will satisfy you, but there are two Sephardic restaurants in Brooklyn that I think are quite tasty, FWIW.
Olympic Pita on Coney Island Avenue between Avenue J & Avenue K has a range of kebabs and an even bigger range of salads, which are quite sumptuous and delicious. I believe that they're Iraqi/Israeli, although I'm not sure.
Famous Pita on Coney Island Avenue around Ditmas is my favorite place for falafel. After you get it (with a shmear of hummus), there's a brimming salad bar where you can help yourself to falafel trimmings.
This may not be totally on point for your request, but as I said, these places are quite tasty. Good luck!
Hah, funny you should respond to this thread so long after I posted it, just as I was checking on another one of mine you've responded to. :)
In summary, friends and I ended up hitting all the biggies, and the winners were certainly Grill Point and Mabat. Now, Grill Point is SPOT ON with everything up to the meats. Unfortunately, and quite inexplicably, their meats are really quite bland, even after we asked them to heavily season them. Mabat is more well rounded, but unfortunately, their salads, pita, etc. just don't live up to Mabat's, leaving us with a tie for first place.
Now, somewhat serendipitously, around the time I posted this, I went back home to LA (where I grew up) and, about two blocks from the Israeli grill we frequented when I was young (but has long since closed), I discovered a new place by the name of Humus Bar and Grill (http://www.hummusbargrill.com/) which is mind-blowingly good.
This is the type of place where from pre-appetizer to dessert, you are in absolute gastronomic heaven. The fresh laffa, the fifty or so salads :), the impeccably seasoned grilled meats and fish (they even have skewers of foie gras!), the falafel, and even the bavarian cream are pitch perfect. A little bit of a drive from Manhattan, but hey, whatchya gonna do? :). They also have chicken hearts which *no* Israeli place I've been to on the East serves.
So point being, if you're ever out that way, I highly, highly recommend a stop. And now, between it on the West Coast and Mabat/Grill Point on the East, I'm satisfied for the time being. Thanks Hounds!
I like Pahal Zan on Continental in Forest Hills. It's wedged in next to the LIRR tracks on the east side of the street. Mostly a take-out joint, with maybe 6 or 8 stools at the counter.
The falafel is underwhelming, but the grilled meats are tasty. I haven't been to Israel so I can't comment on authenticity, but they do offer chicken hearts and a variety of salads, including an addictive fried eggplant.
They're shomer Shabbat, so don't go on Saturday.
106-12 Continental Ave, Queens, NY 11375
Hah, it's like they're speaking straight to me on their site:
New Items Added to Platter and Pita Sandwich Sections, Including Chicken Hearts!
Hahahah. Will have to give em a try. If they're in Forest Hills, I may as well buy salads, falafel, etc. from Grill Point and walk on over there for meats! :)