>> Thursday, July 1, 2010

72-32-B Austin Street
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 268-9500

If Wafa's was too far away from Pahal Zan to be much of a threat to its dominance, then here's the NY Falafel Bar, just a few blocks away on Austin Street. It's Kosher, it's newer and has more space, it's got a TV playing bone-jarringly irritating Hebrew-language TV shows and it's already packed with people chatting to the guy behind the counter about how their mom used to make this, that and the other. "She'd put garlic and onions in everything!" Even if my experience finally did end with Pahal Zan winning in terms of taste, NYFB is mind-numbingly faster. You walk in, you order and you're out the door before you know it. Its speed has already curried the favor of the maintenance guys from National Grid, who can't afford to spend twenty minutes waiting for their lunch while their truck sits by a fire hydrant with its blinkers on.

The first time I went, I pulled up a seat by the window and chowed down on the Falafel Haim sandwich in a pita with everything. You can also get the sandwiches serve in a wrap the way Wafa's serves them, or in a baguette roll... like Subway. The first thing that went through my head as my mouth hit the food: "oh man, this is good!" This was a damn good falafel sandwich. There were just the right amount of toppings to add flavor without diluting the presence of the falafel balls. The pita was much thicker than I'm used to, but I liked it that way. It didn't shred as I was eating, spilling cucumber and tomato and hummus across my lap. The hot sauce was extremely timid however. They need to crank that up a notch or three.

I would have gotten something with lamb for round two, but NYFB doesn't serve lamb. They do serve schnitzel (Israeli, Spanish or Chinese (?) style), but I decided to leave my schnitzeling to Manor Oktoberfest and chose to try out the Shawarma. This was far less impressive. Not serving lamb, NYFB serves chicken roasted on a spit "Israeli Style" - which happens to be the exact same style used by the Greeks and the Turks and the Lebanese (and the list goes on) for roasting big cylinders of meat to be used in pita-wrapped sandwiches. Anyway, unlike my experience with the falafel, the flavor of the chicken was entirely drowned out by the toppings. Weirdly, after eating most of those toppings, the flavor of the chicken was again drowned out by the spices that were used on it. Maybe chicken isn't the way to go? I might return to give their Shakshuka sandwich a whirl.

Becuse NYFB is Kosher, don't expect to chow down Friday nights (after 4pm as of this posting) or Saturdays at all.


Wayno2424 July 6, 2010 at 10:02 AM  

The place seems to have a good crowd. I have been slow to try it but with the Parker Stamp of Approval I will try it soon.

BronxJim July 27, 2010 at 7:04 PM  

Good falafel needs to cooked in fresh oil, the smell of old oil permeates the bar.

The food is overpriced and is a far cry from the authentic flavors of Middle Eastern food.

Anyone wanting a decent falafel sandwich should take the train to Bay Ridge it is worth the ride and the item is authentic.

The Falafel Bar is a big disappointment for this Forest Hills resident.

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