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Feb 5, 2011 07:51 AM

Duzan on Steinway

I've been hearing some rumblings about quality schwarma from Duzans on Steinway and Astoria Blvd. and the fam finally made it there a few days ago. Very clean and new looking location. It's kinda outta place in the area it's so 'finished'. The place and their menu's make it look like a chain, which it is not. Maybe the owners have chain aspirations.
From the quality of the food I ate there, they have a chance. They are on a odd stretch of Steinway, but more restaurants keep appearing so the business must be making it's way to this stretch of 'little Egypt'. The owners are Palestinian, and the food reflects this heritage. The menu consists of beef or shx schwarma, kofka, kebabs, schnitzel, falafel and fries. They also do a number of hummus's with different toppings. They also have a pickled salad bar to add more goodness to your schwarma. And to top it all off they make their own pita bread to order. This makes all the difference.

I got the chx schwarma sandwich, extra salad ($1), and a garlic/pine nut topped hummus. The schwarma took a good ten minutes, but due to the fresh pita that was being made for it. Stuffed with two cabbage salads, tahini and very flavorful chix, the pita bread was the perfect delivery mechanism. A bit thicker than inferior pitas, soft with amazing hole structure, but solid enough to hold the chicken, sauces and salads without any sogginess all the way till the end. They serve it with three sauces, each very different from each other and providing a different experience depending on you mood. The green hit you first with a strong lime flavor that gets overtaken by the significant raw garlic minced into the sauce. Love it. The second was and orange sauce with an almost gooey consistency. Sour and then curry flavor were the flavor notes here, and this sauce was my favorite with the chx. The red, hot sauce has a good kick but was a bit to heavy on the sour note for me. The green sauce was my favorite with the Hummus I ordered.
The hummus was different than any hummus I can remember. It had a strong toasted note that I couldn't place. Hummus is such a straight foward dish, I find it's either heavy on one of the four ingredients that make it up (bean, tahinni, lemon or garlic). The toasted note in this hummus was something different. At first I was not happy, but as I ate more I enjoyed the flavor and super smooth texture more and more. This place is a great find.

One thing I want to mention is their take out menu's. They have these long narratives printed on the front and back that had me laughing out loud. You'll have to see one for yourself, but they are just taking themselves a bit too seriously for a schwarma joint. And with terrible sentence structure to boot. But they can write whatever they want if I'm consistently fed chicken schwarma as good as I had the other night.

ps. sorry for the spelling. I don't have the energy to go through and correct.

24-11 Steinway St, Queens, NY 11103

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  1. Thanks for the report. I've also been enjoying the food at Duzon for the past few months. I first discovered them when I was looking for something quick and inexpensive, and slightly different from my usual Lebanese or Moroccan joints in the immediate area. The chicken shawarma is solid. The three cabbage salads and other salad items are a nice bonus. One time when I was in the mood for a falafel, I was told they were out, but if I waited 15 minutes, they would whip up a large batch for me. I got to talk to the boys running Duzon, and they're really nice folks, with interesting backgrounds. Anyway, the falafel was really good, and better than any of the stuff I've had in the area. I'm not sure if it's better than the ones I've had at Taim, but they were close. And you're right, the fresh bread makes a real difference. I've always gone there at off-hours, so I've never seen more than 2 others in there. I'm not sure how the business is doing, but it's really worth supporting for something slightly different in that section of Little Egypt.

    3 Replies
    1. re: E Eto

      We enjoyed our chicken so much we ordered from Duzan again over the weekend. Chicken was just as impresive, and this time I tried the falafel. I don't know if the falafel suffered from steaming on the way to my house, but they were not crunchy at all, and pretty dissapointing. I think I like spicier falafel style with more emphasis on the crust. The falafel and schwarma king of Astoria provides me with my fav. in the hood, though not that close to this area.
      Alo had some french fries. They have both frozen, or freshly cut. Both were not crispy enough for my tastes. I wonder if it is just a regional style thing, because I find myself getting oily and not crispy fries from middle eastern places. Almost like the fries are being treated like rice or potato's to just soak up juices as opposed to American fries, which are geared for eating straight up or with ketsup. Anyway, I'll stick to the chicken and away from the fries for now. I do want to give the falafel another chance some time when I'm eating in. I also want to try the schnitzel, but I imagine that's best eaten in too.

      24-11 Steinway St, Queens, NY 11103

      1. re: SpiceJunkies

        Give the falafel and fries a chance when eating in. I can't imagine any of the fried items being optimal for delivery.

        1. re: SpiceJunkies

          Yes, feel their delivery can be a little slow, turning fried things soggy, and hot things cold. Thankfully not too much of a problem for the delicious hummus though.

      2. Love to order in from this place. Don't think I've had anything bad from here. I think their hummus may be my favorite in the city, though their portions have been sadly shrinking. Tastes like what I had in the West Bank.

        El Karnak, is also pretty decent Egyptian food nearby. There's some real finds on that little stretch.

        Also, the orange sauce in amba, or Iraqi pickled mango sauce. If you're a Taim fan, they also offer it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Mr Porkchop

          Thanks for naming the orange sauce for me. Do you happen to know the name of the green sauce?

        2. My husband and I finally walked across Astoria to try this place and it was well worth it. We both had the chicken shawarma, after the guys running the place gave us a little plate of it to try. I'll echo the other posters comments that the bread was great. We also had the hummus with the pine nuts and garlic, something they made while we waited. I don't have anything to compare it to, but the portion didn't seem small. We also got one of the chopped salads--cucumber, tomato, green chile pepper.

          What I really liked, on top of the food being delicious, was how proud the two guys running the place were of what they made. It's one of my favorite qualities in a restaurant. The guy who made the salad (from scratch while we waited) tasted it with a fork when he was done and added a little more of something to it before he packed it up for us.

          We'll definitely be going back, especially now that the weather makes the walk more appealing.

          Loved the mango sauce. Didn't care much for the sort of Russian dressing-ish sauce that one of the guys said was a "fusion thing."

          1 Reply
          1. re: versicle

            Last time I ordered in the portion of hummus was smaller, though I don't think small for the price. You have to understand that when they first opened they'd give you a tub of hummus that felt like it weighed a few pounds, that I'd eat off of for days.

          2. I went today and had the amazing falafel. He put everything in that I asked, including extra pickles, and I just loved it. An impt note, the M60 from 125th Street stops right across the street so it's an easy jump for upper east sider's like myself. I will go back.

            1. Well, I finally made a long overdue trip to Duzan's, which is a short walk from my place, and all I can say -- where the h#ll have I been?

              I will just echo all the enthusiastic remarks provided by everyohe else here:

              -AMAZING fresh hummus, the best I've had outside of the Middle East
              -Among the best falafel I've had outside of the Middle East
              - The guys who work there could not be more friendly, dedicated or hospitable (which, let's face it is not what you always experience along that strip of Steinway)

              I am sure I will make at least one visit a week here until I die ....

              24-11 Steinway St, Queens, NY 11103

              2 Replies
              1. re: Anicca

                I'm going to have to disagree slightly with the shawarma raves. I had it tonight and while it was a good sandwich, I couldn't taste the chicken. So I pulled some chicken out to taste by itself, and it was just underseasoned. It was well-marinated; I could taste the herbs, but it needed salt. Having said that, it was tender and juicy. The sauces were great and all the condiments worked well in the sandwich. The pita was fabulous --- warm, pillowy soft, and nice bit of bite (it didn't get soggy at all). I want to try their falafel next time I'm in the area.

                1. re: Anicca

                  Still eating at Duzan every week since my OP and still loving it. Versicle is correct in the pride the Owner and brother take in their food. Last time I went in with a friend the owner kept bringing us out 'ideas' of the owner. We were pleased to taste some of the best onion rings I can remember. And the owner new it and was so happy we were enjoying them too. Great experience...I just hope those onion rings appear on the menu soon.

                  One thing to note is that their delivery takes a very long time 1- 1 1/2hr long. Luckily it doesn't taste like the food has been sitting once it finally arrives. We just make sure to order early.

                  24-11 Steinway St, Queens, NY 11103