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Azuri -- rumours of great falafel are emphatically untrue

Skillet Licker Aug 8, 2012 01:00 AM

I've been hearing for years how great their falafel is, so I finally tried the falafel platter which, in addition to a smear of every salad in the cooler trays, includes several very flat, very crispy, dried-out, tasteless discs of supposedly Israeli-style falafel. Many customers no doubt have a sentimental attraction to the place as it reminds them of Israel comfort food (it is kosher as well, I believe). Ok, but the falafel on a scale of 0-10 is a 1 (it gets a 1 because at least it didn't make me sick). The salads were undistinguished and indistinguishable from one another in flavor.

I'm no falafel fanatic, but when the mood hits, I hit up Mamouns for a near perfect rendition.

  1. a
    AubWah Aug 8, 2012 06:14 AM

    Have you tried the falafel king?

    1. j
      jewelin Aug 8, 2012 07:25 AM

      I'm sorry it wasn't good for you. It doesn't sound like you voiced your low opinion to the owner Ezra, as you'd have known about it - he's a bit spiky. I do get there now and again but stick to the chicken liver pita, which is the best I've ever had. I will try Mamouns for a falafel on your recommendation.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jewelin
        Pan Aug 11, 2012 02:19 AM

        I've found the original MacDougal St. location of Mamouns better than the St Marks location.

      2. a
        Alan Henderson Aug 11, 2012 05:41 AM

        I had lunch at Azuri yesterday, and although I've never had the falafel platter, the sandwich was excellent as usual. I personally like a high crisp:mush ratio on my falafel balls, and what I love is the construction of the sandwich where the additional ingredients are layered in with each patty giving a different taste with each bite; one with pickle, then one with hot sauce, then tahini, etc. but falafel through out. You are not given a pita stuffed with iceberg and mealy tomato with falafel on top as with most Israeli style pita based sandwiches. This better distribution is the reason that I generally prefer the Lebanese style wrap or a laffa wrap.

        RE AubWah: I was not impressed with the falafel king's new cart in Midtown, but have never sampled his wares in Queens, is there a difference?

        1. f
          Funkalicious Aug 11, 2012 03:03 PM

          It's really hard to find a decent Falafel if your foundation is Mamouns MacDougal Street. I've still on my 20year search to find another Falafel as good in USA. Had some really great Falafel in Egypt but that's a given.

          Mamoun's is opening a location in New Brunswick, New Jersey next week. I think it's time for them to be national chain.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Funkalicious
            Skillet Licker Aug 12, 2012 09:48 AM

            Funkalicious, since your scope is the USA, I know of one other exceptionally good falafel sandwich in the region. Its a family-run falafel stand at the Sunday Rhinebeck Farmers Market (approx. 2 hours north of NYC). It's probably the most expensive falafel pita anywhere at $7, or is $8? But it doesn't matter, its top notch: truly tasty falafel balls -- crunchy outside, fluffy inside -- and a nice selection of do-it-yourself hot sauce and and pickle toppings, as well as a substantial, homemade-like pita. Also, you can request of the sandwich maker to apply tahini, hot sauce and pickles in multiple strata, rather than having everything applied only to the top layer, thereby distributing maximum deliciousness throughout the meal.

          2. Jeffsayyes Aug 13, 2012 07:38 AM

            1 - holy cow, you are a passionate dude! I'd at least say they are decent.

            on of my favorites is Jerusalem Pita/Pita House/Pita Hut in Astoria, but I wouldn't want you to go there because I'd be too concerned about it not coinciding with your tastebuds and then you leaving an outrageous and negative post up on chowhound.

            1. s
              sugartoof Aug 13, 2012 10:15 AM

              Are you also ordering platters at Mamouns? I think Mamouns does a good job with their falafel, which gets all the flavors right, but the rest of it is a disaster. The pita, lettuce, salads, and often even the tahini/hummus are all inferior to their falafel itself. You seem discriminating, so I'm curious how you can look past that? The pita alone is pretty important.

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