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yatagan shut down, any good alternatives?

NotSoGoodEats Mar 21, 2011 02:17 PM

Looks like yatagan (shawarma place in the village) got shut down for health code violations. It was my favorite shawarma place in the city...that huge spit meant you only got crispy meat in your sandwiches. Anyone have suggestions on another good shawarma place? I'm not a huge Mamoun's fan for their meat, though their falafel's pretty decent.

Yatagan Kebab House
104 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

Mamoun's Falafel
119 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

  1. h
    Humbucker Mar 22, 2011 05:57 PM

    Cheeps is good for their chicken shawarma and falafel. I go there regularly even though the service is surly, the atmosphere is less than non-existent and I fear what sort of compromises they have to make in order to serve such large portions of tasty food so "cheeply".

    Have you tried Ali Baba on Macdougal, very close to Yatagan? I recall they did a decent lamb/beef shawarma. Also, I recently had Mamoun's shawarma after not having it in some time. If you liked the crispy edges of Yatagan, you'd love Mamoun's shawarma, which reminded me of crunchy lamb bacon.

    Ali Baba
    126 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

    1. rose water Mar 22, 2011 11:27 AM

      Don't know about downtown, but the last shawarma I had at Kuti's, on 116th St near Morningside Park, was delicious, crispy, and awesome, and made even better with pickles and great hot sauce. In the past (about a year ago now), I found their meat too flabby and not crisp enough, but my most recent sandwich was perfect.

      355 W 116th St, New York, NY 10026

      1. t
        tex.s.toast Mar 22, 2011 09:05 AM

        Cheeps on 2nd ave b/w e7th and st marks has some good schwarma - its chicken, im pretty certain (maybe some times they have both chicken and lamb/beef).

        got a giant plate from them last week for 7.50, like their cabbage salads, pickles and carrots quite a bit too - the thicker hot sauce is great. the sandwich is i think 4 bucks and you get to choose your own veggies also (they put them in for you, but the guy asks what and how much you want)

        129 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

        3 Replies
        1. re: tex.s.toast
          JungMann Mar 22, 2011 09:20 AM

          When it comes to Cheeps, my opinion is you get what you pay for. The one time I went, it was an Israeli and myself, and we were both just astounded that this place could set up shop. The shawarma was greasy and flavorless. I mean it takes effort to make chicken this badly. The sauces were watery and the dry falafel was just galling. But at just a few dollars for a sandwich, the space does have its fans.

          1. re: JungMann
            tex.s.toast Mar 22, 2011 09:28 AM

            perhaps i got lucky then but when i went i thought the meat had great flavor, it was well spiced and charred (they had JUST started slicing from a new spit when i placed my order, which i expect helped).

            i definitely wouldnt call it a destination (i only ended up there because it was on my walk back to the train) but its pretty busy and they have high turnover. what i had was legitimately good, not merely passable, but i cant say if it was the norm or i got lucky.

            1. re: tex.s.toast
              JungMann May 13, 2011 08:52 AM

              I tried Cheeps again and it's just not what I would call good shawarma. I thought the seasoning tasted of stale curry powder and the tell-tale yellow of turmeric seeping through the pita told me I guessed right. Even though it was freshly sliced, the meat (which I think was actually turkey) had no char and was spongy in texture. And all the toppings were layered on top of each other so that it was impossible to take a perfect bite combining all the wonderful tastes of shawarma and salad. I'm sure they'll do fine business with the college population, but I can't recommend it.

        2. JungMann Mar 22, 2011 06:52 AM

          I agree with you re: Mamoun's. The West Village doesn't have very many other options, though if you're on the East Side, Kebab Garden is an ok spot down the street from Mamoun's. Big Arc Chicken is another hole-in-the-wall worth some consideration. They serve a lot more than the name implies. The shawarma is respectable, but the Egyptian specialties are the real draw. Last time I was there, I was chatting with one of the cooks and learned he serves a mean koshary. I also saw lubia, molokhia and bamia: the kind of Egyptian home cooking you don't see often in Manhattan.

          Big Arc Chicken
          233 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

          Kebab Garden
          128 1st Ave, New York, NY 10009

          Big Arc Chicken
          233 1st Ave Frnt A, New York, NY 10003

          1. g
            geendatz Mar 21, 2011 02:34 PM

            Oof,that closure was well deserved,it went way downhill,in many ways,over the past ten years...What kind of sheep has a leg that huge?Sadly though,I can't offer a decent substitute,downtown anyhows....

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