Q's Halal Kitchen (Alameda) - great falafel and manti on the island
I've walked by this place a million times when it was Kebab Central, and was never tempted to go in. Today, a picture of a platter of manti attracted my attention, as well as a banner that proclaimed, "Chef Sam is back!"
I love manti, so we decided to give it a shot. Inside, it looks like a cheap lunch takeout spot, but with a chef (Sam, I presumed) dressed in impeccable whites. Business was slow tonight, and he was slumped in a chair, watching a basketball game on the TV, but immediately lit up when we walked in.
The menu seemed both limited and unfocused, featuring falafel, manti, a Lebanese burger, kebabs, and chicken tikka masala. We had the falafel and the manti, and both were excellent. The falafel were among the best that I've had - they're fried to order, with a golden greaseless crust, and a fluffy, light interior, garlicky and green with herbs. They came with good pita bread, hummus, a small salad, and two excellent sauces (one spicy green herby one, and one yogurt based). The manti were large, with thin pasta wrappers (I prefer the thicker, doughy ones), with a flavorful filling, topped with yogurt and a great spicy sauce. The chef said with great pride that he makes everything himself - I'm guessing not the pita bread, but I believe it of everything else. I'm actually really looking forward to trying the rest of the menu now.
They get extra green points for their clearly marked, large recycling and composting bins (and tiny "landfill" bucket).
I'm glad you posted about Q's, because my husband and I tried it last week (as takeout) and I forgot to post about it. We were pleasantly surprised by our experience--particularly because we never liked the Kabob place.
I agree that the wrappings on the manti were different than what I've usually had, but I ended up really liking the lightness of them. We shared another dish that was a combo of grilled chicken and a kofti type meat along with rice (can't recall what they called it at the restaurant, and they don't have a website). Tasty! Chicken stayed moist and the meat was nicely seasoned. It was a generous portion for (I think) about $12.
I'd describe this as a great neighborhood place--not likely that I'd go out of my way for it, but tasty with good quality and reasonable price point for when I am in the neighborhood.
Oh, and the details:
Q's Halal Chicken
2306 Central Ave. (between Park and Oak St.)
Alameda, CA 94501