>> Wednesday, May 21, 2008

106-12 71st Avenue
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 793-7177

Pahal Zan sits almost hidden under the LIRR tracks on 71st/Continental. In fact, for the first six months I lived here, I didn't even know they existed even though I walked past them every day on my way to the subway. Pahal Zan is kosher and serves a variety of kosher "street food", for lack of a better term. Kabobs, gyros, and so forth, with a Moroccan flair. So you know this stuff ain't healthy and therefore, must taste good. And man oh man does it taste good.

Street food or no, this isn't fast food. This isn't the Halal cart guy who makes the chicken and keeps it warm for you. Everything here is raw until you start talking. So you might wait a bit.

The sheer tininess of Pahal Zan (pity the fat man who wants some schawarma) makes eating inside a laughable notion. Oh sure, there's a counter with stools, but in all real practicality, the counter's a shelf and the stools are a courtesy for when you're waiting and don't want to stand. But on a busy day, the people on the stools get in the way of the people on line. Just take your food, leave, and find a bench. That's what I did.

Pahal Zan is kosher, and strictly so. Therefore, should your a craving for their fare hit you one Friday evening or at all on a Saturday, you're SOL.

I had hoped to order the House Soup. Pahal Zan says that it's the best soup "ever". Them's big words. I was denied. It's only sold in the winter.

Instead I tried a range of other things:
I tried three pitas (with Bro. After all, I don't want to be that poor fat guy I mentioned who couldn't get in the door.): The Lamb Kebab Pita, The Turkey Shawarma Pita and The Falafel Pita, in descending order of greatness. The lamb kebab pita was flat out amazing. Tender, warm and juicy. The turkey was almost as good, and certainly was as good as could be hoped for (I have a thing for red meat). Perfectly spiced and oozing flavor. The falafel was actually mediocre. It tasted thick and chickpeaish, which is unsurprising, but it got completely lost in the pita filling. I'd probably order it separately and dunk it in the hummus... more on that later. Speaking of fillings, I got them filled with everything. Salad, tahini sauce, hummus, hot sauce, eggplant. If it was there, I asked for it. Except for the peppers and beets. I skipped the peppers and beets.

Okay, the Hummus. In all honesty, this might have been the best hummus I can remember having. That may not say much since I don't really eat much hummus. Still, it was as smooth as toothpaste instead of gritty and lumpy as some others I've had are. It was so good, I found myself dipping the Israeli French Fries we ordered in it. The french fries were Israeli. I'm guessing that this implies that they were seasoned, which they were. And they were quite good, albeit too soggy. Still, the flavor made up for the sogginess. I won't take them over the fries at Casanis in Nolita, but they were still pretty kickass.

These three pita sandwiches, the fries and the hummus was $32.75. Is $8 per pita sandwich cheap? Well, I don't think so, but I think you could do far worse for your money.


Erica May 22, 2008 at 10:27 AM  

Thanks for reviewing Pahal! They are awesome there. As a (pseudo) vegetarian, its one of the few, really filling meals you can get on Austin Street. Their Moroccan carrots are awesome. And oh, the pickles.

Anonymous,  June 27, 2008 at 1:32 PM  

And they just launched their website!

Now you can see their menu online. So cool!

Anonymous,  November 14, 2008 at 12:44 AM  

i'm a huge fan of their falafel! the best one i've ever had!

Anonymous,  January 14, 2010 at 4:56 PM  

I used to think they only had falafel and chicken (which is amazing), but then I tried the Moroccan cigars. WOW.

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