HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >

Discussion

More Watertown:Fordee's(falafel) and Town Diner

In a recent WGBH auction, we purchased a Town Diner card, so we've been trying more things there.
Today My Love's burger was a hit for him- rare and flavorful and a good whole wheat sesame bun. My turkey sandwich was on excellent sourdough and the turkey was real, but it was wicked dry, so i may not order it again. My highlight was the Warm (baby) spinach salad with balsamic reduction, chevre and VERY abundant highest quality bacon. We were sooooo disappointed they were out of the eggplant fries which we love. (I just really have a hard time believing they are frozen, [but they are, per the waitress] because they have full eggplant flavor and are not watery or pithy. As with zucchini fries and calamari, they're great with a lot of fresh lemon juice.)

Since finally acting on an old review of MCSlim's praising the falafel, we've recently been twice to Fordee's, 2 blocks down from Town Diner, on the corner to the right of Massis. We didn't care for the dry chicken kabob wrap, but the falafel and lamb kabob wrap(w/ added tahini sauce) are both top notch. And the owner- what a sweet man. He wasn't there on our first visit last week; maybe he works nights and not the day shift. If I lived in the neighborhood, I'd go there every day just to feel his genuine warmth.

-----
Deluxe Town Diner
627 Mount Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472

Town Diner
627 Mount Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Fordee's Falafel Combo just works for me... filling, satisfying, tasty, and I can say I had a vegetarian lunch.

    -----
    Fordee's Grill
    555 Mount Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472

    1. Not a fan of Town Diner, but Fordee's ranks very high in my book - been known to eat there multiple times in a week!

      GG
      http://www.semisweetonline.com

      -----
      Town Diner
      627 Mount Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472

      7 Replies
      1. re: gansu girl

        Easily the best falafel in town, and they'll add extra turnip pickles if you ask, a big plus in itself.

        1. re: Jenny Ondioline

          oh yeah, I'm hip to the extra turnip pickles thing . . . I could eat a sandwich made of their turnip pickles alone, I think! and losh kabab is great too. I haven't had anything there that I'd classify as "meh". Town Diner, on the other hand . . . . best thing about it is that they'll serve you a pot o' tea instead of a Lipton bag in a cup of lukewarm water, which for the serious tea drinker (me), is a HUGE plus.

          GG
          http://www.semisweetonline.com

          -----
          Town Diner
          627 Mount Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472

        2. re: gansu girl

          have you ever had the losh kabab at fordee's?

          1. re: galangatron

            I have. It's quite good: not dried out the way some can be.

            1. re: Jenny Ondioline

              thanks. i usually order the falafel roll up but have been meaning to try the losh kabab

        3. I'm not a huge fan of Town Diner, Pancakes are great, but everything else is just okay in my book. The meatloaf used to be great, but then they changed something...

          That said, their salads with bacon are excellent!

          -----
          Town Diner
          627 Mount Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472

          51 Replies
          1. re: StriperGuy

            I love their breakfasts, particularly the pancakes and the sweet potato waffles, but have generally been disappointed with most non-breakfast meals I've had there. However, based on the recommendation of somebodyorother on another thread here, I tried the mac & cheese the other night, and loved it. It came with a really nice bit of side salad as well.

            1. re: Allstonian

              Not a huge fan of Fordee's-- went based on the recs here and was disappointed. Had the chicken shwarma -- no spit just cooked on a grill. Very ordinary. By the looks of it, I should have tried the falafel but can't imagine it is as good as the place by the Coolidge Theater. (name is escaping me) That based on the schwarma, if nothing else.

              1. re: baldbert

                Rami's, you mean? Fordees and Rami's are my two favorite falafels in Boston, but they are different styles. Fordees is the bigger, puck-like kind made in a mold and Rami's are little Israeli ping pong balls.

                  1. re: baldbert

                    Different strokes. I often find Rami's falafel overcooked and dry myself.

                    1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                      Fordee's falafel is my favorite,but I do like Rami's as well. I like Fo

                      1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                        Haven't had an overcooked falafel at Rami's yet but the price has really gone up over the years-- that's an expensive sandwich nowadays...

                        1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                          Fordee's is the best. While Rami's does a fair job, has nice bread and fixings, the Falafel itself doesn't hold a candle to Fordee's. My Jewish friends kind of don't want to admit this, but I can see it on their faces when we talk about it!

                          1. re: tatsu

                            You all have drank the KoolAid when it comes to Fordee's. Based on one visit, and not having had the falafel, I still won't go back-- or make a special trip to Watertown. My chicken sandwich was totally ordinary--the pita wasn't as good as Rami's nor was there anything else in the sandwich to make it exceptional.

                            1. re: baldbert

                              Sorry, baldbert, but until you've tried the falafel you can't weigh in on anything other than the ordinary chicken sandwich you had, which is an entirely different animal than the falafel. I've never bothered to try anything but the falafel because it's so good. The tahini-based hot sauce (you have to request it) is really delicious, too. The pickled turnips are great, but no better than the turnips at Arax nearby. The combo of falafel, turnip and tahini sauce is alchemy. Hope you give it a try sometime.

                              1. re: baldbert

                                I have indeed drunk the Kool Aid - a delicious falafel and pickled turnip sandwich flavored Kool Aid. I actually went there a couple weeks back and had a falafel sandwich, and a chicken shwarma, and thought they were both excellent. I have had the occasional bad chicken shwarma or gyro at normally excellent places (Falafel King, and Farm Grill) and the meat can get dry, and the sandwich can be lackluster, overall. I'd say give them another chance, they really are the best for falafel.

                                1. re: baldbert

                                  i find it so fascinating how sarcasm can draw so many different responses. i thought your kool aid remark was really funny. maybe it comes from some t.v. show that i don't know or something, but it is new to me and gave me a big chuckle; i resolved to try to use the expression some day (or just think of it from time to time and chuckle).
                                  My only problem w your post was 'have drank' when it needs to be 'have drunk' but i'm rooting for that to have been a typo.
                                  thanks for the laugh. but you really do need to remember that if you review a restaurant that is being talked up on CH and lauded for one particular dish , you won't likely get any CH respect unless you taste, and comment on, that dish. just a suggestion.....

                                  1. re: baldbert

                                    It's about the Falafel Baldbert, it's about the falafel.

                                  2. re: tatsu

                                    that's a strange comment tatsu. want to explain?

                                    1. re: tatsu

                                      I'm Jewish, I've had both in the last 4 months...

                                      Fordee's is a better falafel sandwich AND considerably less expensive.

                                      And you get to go grocery shopping at Arax (again beating the Arax drum, but it is probably my single favorite food place in Boston) down the block when you are done.

                                      Arax had stunning white cherries the size of Walnuts yesterday. A friend grows them in Chile and flies them up himself. Crazy expensive, but some of the best white cherries I've ever eaten.

                                      1. re: StriperGuy

                                        i'm not arguing the food evaluation, and I'm a huge fan of Arax and the other Watertown stores. I'm just asking what Jewish has to do with Fordee's vs. Rami? You like one falafel or the other: how does religion enter into it?

                                        1. re: teezeetoo

                                          I was just responding to Tatsu.

                                          But it is common knowledge that Jews (and Moslems as well in fact) have special falafel taste receptors right next to their nachas ( http://www.urbandictionary.com/define... ) which are not present in gentiles and in particular protestants ;-).

                                          A group at Ben Gurion University is working on the genetics of the Nachas falafel taste receptor binding sites, but their research is not expected to yield results (gene therapy for non-falafel tasters...???) for a few more years.

                                          1. re: StriperGuy

                                            I guess this explains the basis for why my peeps in Watertown make awesome falafel: http://web.archive.org/web/2005032211...

                                            1. re: nsenada

                                              I mean come on, everyone knows that Armenians are one of the lost tribes.

                                              Heck just the other day my Italian SO was commenting on the commonalities between Italians and people of Hebraic derivation.

                                              That said go up to Geneva or Basel, and see if you can find a Swiss person that can taste the difference between a decent falafel and a ping pong ball, I dare ya.

                                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                                We actually think the British had to empire-build in order to find decent food. I believe the only actual English contribution to cooking might be jello. The swiss at least make good potatoes.

                                                1. re: StriperGuy

                                                  I shall have to examine myself for the location of my hitherto hidden "nachas." I trust they have not suffered due to lack of routine maintenance.

                                              2. re: StriperGuy

                                                man, stripes, you are FUNny!!! i wish you lived next to me, but at least i get to have an extended laugh because you so generously post here.

                                                1. re: StriperGuy

                                                  Ha ha, I like! Well nothing incites a good fight as to which country makes the best falafel. My plan for Middle East peace is to have a Falafel Summit where talks are centered around the premise: Everyone's falafel should be tolerated.

                                                    1. re: tatsu

                                                      there is a hysterical short film about this, available through Minuteman Library Network. Stripes- right up your humor alley!

                                                      WEST BANK STORY- Part of the 2006 Oscar Nominated Short Films, this is a hysterical spoof of West Side Story. Set in Israel's West Bank, the story centers on a Palestinian and an Israeli whose love is thwarted by their respective warring Shwarma and Falafel shops.

                                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                        I have GOT to take out that movie!

                                                        Even in the Holy Land I can't blindly take one for the team... my experience is that the Palestinian-made falafel gets the edge even in Tel Aviv.

                                                        And the shwarma, lamb steaks on a vertical spit with real charcoal stacked in the grate... even all these years later my taste memory makes me drool. Pretty ubiquitous all over Tel Aviv, but it was a LONG time ago last I was there. Never had anything even close here in the USA.

                                                        In fact the best falafel I've had is in the village in NYC a few blocks off of Washington Square Park. UPS guy pointed me in the right direction.

                                                        Literally a hole in the wall run by a 20 year old Lebanese kid.

                                                          1. re: tatsu

                                                            NOT Mamoun's. Not impressed by that place in the past.

                                                            The UPS guy basically said: "yah Mamoun's is famous, but the place across the street is WAY better.

                                                            Believe it is Ali Baba's. Really was superb falafel...

                                                            Here it is on Google Streetview:

                                                            http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&amp...

                                                            That said on the same block as Katz deli there is also a VERY good falafel place.

                                                            1. re: StriperGuy

                                                              Azuri Cafe and Taim are hard to beat in NYC, for me.

                                                    2. re: StriperGuy

                                                      Incidently I brought a Moroccan friend (Moroccans don't make falafel, but my friend cooks anything vaguely Mediterranean to Middle East.) to Fordee's who used to work for Sepal many years ago. (Sepal, which was equally as famous for their falafel, used to be where Fordee's is now, maybe 10+ years ago, then they moved to Nicols St. and finally now MIT.)

                                                      The guy in charge of Sepal's formula was an old Egyptian guy who has long since moved back. My friend learned the recipe shared it with me, and I do occasionally make it at home. It is top-secret! I have the power!

                                                      Anyway, upon first bite at Fordee's, I asked my friend, "So, it's totally the same recipe, right?" He said, "It's the same, yep." Nom nom nom....

                                                      SOMEHOW they got the magic recipe or there is something special about that corner....

                                                      Another Palestinian friend actually prefers Fordee's over Sepal's, which to me, is a pretty bold but nuanced statement.

                                                      1. re: tatsu

                                                        Never made it to Sepal, but thought he was making fava-lafels ? I don't think Fordees uses favas (right?). Hmmm.

                                                        1. re: Nab

                                                          Apparently it is an Egyptian spin to use fava, but I don't believe Sepal did. I don't think Fordee's does either.

                                                        2. re: tatsu

                                                          sounds like a good moniker-
                                                          bold but nuanced :)

                                                      2. re: teezeetoo

                                                        tz2, i think maybe tatsu was referring to the more jewish community of brookline
                                                        and his/her jewish friends in that community- wishing that rami's falafel was better than fordee's; you know, rooting for the home team.

                                                        1. re: teezeetoo

                                                          Well, it's not so much Jewish as it is *Israeli*. In Israel, falafel comes in a pocket pita, like Rami's serves, with LOTS of topping choices (all types of cold salads and sauces, cole slaw, etc). There is usually a toppings bar, actually, that would never fly here. You can add toppings as you work your way down into the sandwich....so yummy, but would never pass mustard here with health code. Anywho, the Lebanese and Armenian folks around here serve the sandwich as a wrap with fairly limited choices of augmentation. Also, the seasonings tend to be a bit different. I think Rami's is overseasoned for my taste, as does my Israeli SO...but they win in the pita/toppings department. If only I could sneak in a Fordees falafel and get the Rami's toppings! ;)

                                                          1. re: Science Chick

                                                            thanks SC. You very politely hit on what was making me really uncomfortable with this post and discussion: Jewish and Israeli are not interchangeable nouns. The distinction in the way falafel is made or served is national, not religious. And most eaters "root" for the best food, not the "home team."

                                                            1. re: Science Chick

                                                              It wouldn't fly here meaning Boston or the states? Amsterdam Falafel in DC has a toppings bar. It was definitely the best falafel I'd ever had (falafel, pita, and toppings were all great). I'd heard they might be opening a location in Boston someday. Hopefully *with* the toppings bar!

                                                              Last time I was at Rami's, everything was way too salty. It was disappointing. I definitely need to check out Fordees.

                                                              1. re: Science Chick

                                                                Maoz the international chain, has a toppings bar. I've seen two locales in NY.

                                                                Well tz2, that is what I have been saying all along, but I really couldn't understand your queries. Pardon.

                                                                1. re: tatsu

                                                                  Thanks for the tip! I'll have to check it out next time we're in NYC. We usually go to Taim....love their falafel. But the toppings bar is a HUGE draw for us.

                                                    3. re: newhound

                                                      I love Fordee's and Rami's both. I have heard from my israeli friends that they find Rami's dry. My wife finds Fordee's too mushy. The overall wrap at Rami's is much more satisfying and varied texturally to me ( red cabbage!), and their hot sauce rules. Either of them is vastly preferable to any other falafel I have had in the Boston area. If someone wants to start a Falafel to avoid at all costs thread, I know a couple of places on that list.

                                                    4. re: baldbert

                                                      " We didn't care for the dry chicken kabob wrap, but the falafel and lamb kabob wrap(w/ added tahini sauce) are both top notch. "
                                                      to quote my original post.

                                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                        Finally-- KoolAid makes its debut on CH. I think it's become common to use the phrase to indicate that people are just accepting the conventional wisdom of an idea without thinking. My point is that given my experience at Fordee's,albeit not having the falafel, there was nothing to lead me to believe that anything else on the menu would be extraordinary. i will try the falafel based on what has been reported here.

                                                        1. re: baldbert

                                                          You should, you really can't go on saying something is not good without trying it. It's not right in the least.

                                                          I can't believe people have never heard of "kool-aid", that is strange.

                                                          1. re: tatsu

                                                            Don't drink the kool-aid, if you don't know the "flavah"! I vote for Rami's over Fordees :)

                                                    5. re: Allstonian

                                                      Town Diner does a spectacular tuna melt if you get it with cheddar and tomato on the rosemary garlic bread! Their bacon is also very nice. Their linguica is only so-so.

                                                      -----
                                                      Town Diner
                                                      627 Mount Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472

                                                      1. re: quirkydeb

                                                        hmmm, gonna have to try that one; th you!

                                                        1. re: quirkydeb

                                                          deb, My Love really liked his tuna melt yestday, thnx to you! i thought the curried appple turkey burger had really good flavor but the texture was not meat like- rather moist bread crumb like- so i'm wondering if it has low meat content.

                                                          fordee's falafel lovers: a friend prefers The Greek Corner's falafel AND its tahini sauce; have you tried it and what do you think?

                                                          -----
                                                          Greek Corner Restaurant
                                                          2366 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140

                                                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                            Greek Corner's? Really? For me, no comparison - Fordee's is much better!

                                                            GG
                                                            http://www.semisweetonline.com

                                                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                              So glad he liked it! Thanks for the feedback.

                                                        2. re: StriperGuy

                                                          Still working through that gbh coupon and yesterday's town diner experience was not so great. spinach salad delic as usual, ditto eggplant fries. calamari was so bad i sent it back.the squid itself was not off or anything; it was the coating and/or the oil. major yech. corned beef sandwich was rather skimpy while pastrami was the opposite, but the RUSSIAN DRESSING - omg, enough sugar to be a dessert sauce. ruined an otherwise perfectly good sandwich. Boy this place is dangerous; you must plow through so many losers to find the winners. Does anyone know if the eggs benedict sauce is homemade and delicious/lemony, or yucky? and what about the curried chicken? thanx much.

                                                          -----
                                                          Deluxe Town Diner
                                                          627 Mount Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472

                                                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                            oc, I also would love to know about the hollandaise at both Deluxe Town and Station.