>> Friday, April 24, 2009

Wafa's has moved to 105-03 Metropolitan Avenue.
96-08 72nd Avenue
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 263-2757

I was out with a friend for dinner on Metropolitan Avenue, looking for one of those rare parking spots when I first saw Wafa's, tucked around the corner from the main drag. Whatever my friend was saying at the time disintegrated into a blur as my mind went into "hmmm, something new and different" mode.

Metropolitan Avenue is a shopping desert. There are few things worth buying there and fewer places to buy them in... unless you count nail salons as shopping. Yet despite this, and despite the fact that it's a generally depressing place to be, the number of restaurants there keep growing. Let us all pray that this trend continues. Wafa's is the latest addition, created for those of us who get shawerma cravings on Friday nights and require finding a non-kosher, homier alternative to Pahal Zan. Or maybe you just want to be able sit down with your pita bread.

Wafa's is teeny, with just two tables and three seats by the window. Painted like it looks at the sea from atop a Mediterranean cliff, there's at least the illusion of escaping the grind of your day. Add to it that the woman who runs Wafa's (perhaps Wafa herself?) is a kind and pleasant patron, always offering you (or me anyway) free samples of her fare and you can't help but like the place. In fact, each time I've been there, happy people were always coming in and out.

Pita sandwiches are not a photogenic food and, wrapped in foil like the head of a lunatic panhandler, they won't be anytime soon. This is not to say that they don't taste great. This is just one of those rare times when you really can't judge a book by it's cover. During my visits to Wafa's, I've tried a handful of items on the menu. The Grape Leaves were excellent. I've never met anyone who hasn't liked a good grape leaf, and these won't disappoint. Just slightly sour, as they should be, with that sweet carb-rich aftertaste. Wafa's Hummus, served with pita bread, was good, but didn't have quite the oomph that Pahal Zan's does. It was however, probably the smoothest hummus of all time.

Wafa's Falafel Sandwich, stacked to the brim with onion and lettuce and tomato, was very very good. I asked for it to be made authentically spicy, instead of watered down for a more timid tongue and sure enough, it was good 'n' hot. My only real complaint was that the falafel got somewhat lost amid the pita and fixings. When you got a chunk of it, you noticed, but if you didn't, then you were eating a salad. I also had both shawermas. The Spiced Chicken Shwarema and the Lamb Shwarema with lettuce, tomato, tahini sauce, pickle, onion, and . Again, I didn't want her to hold back on the hot sauce, so I had a nice little runny nose by the time I got halfway through them. Good stuff. The lamb was the better of the two, but that's not to say that you'd go wrong with the chicken.

The Baklava was better than many I've had in the past, but won't win the award for best. Tender and neither too flaky nor too chewy, but somewhat on the dry side. I'd get it again, but I'd like more honey.

Wafa's is cash only and is closed on Tuesdays. Appetizers run $2-$5, sandwiches run $5-$8. There are occasionally specials.


Anonymous,  April 25, 2009 at 9:14 AM  

Thanks! I saw this place while looking for parking for Eddie's and put it on "the list"

Gar October 5, 2009 at 10:40 AM  

I love hummus. What's the 'oomph' you were referring to? :) Do they offer hummus sandwich? How's the weekend crowd, would you know? Thanks!

Jon Parker October 5, 2009 at 12:21 PM  

"oomph" like, uh, I don't know how to explain. Maybe like a flavor burst. I feel like Pahal Zan's has a bit of a tangy edge. And I have no idea about the weekend crowd. Whenever I've been, there was always someone there either coming or going, but never a "crowd". I blame the location, which sees virtually no foot traffic. It's around the corner from Metropolitan, which is already a bad daytime shopping street. If someone didn't tell you, you wouldn't even know it was there. But that's where I hope I come in.

Anonymous,  April 25, 2011 at 8:08 PM  

Wafa's new location is 100-05 Metropolitan Ave.

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