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With nothing in mind to eat last week, I was wandering down 46th St. (btw. 5th & 6th) when I stumbled upon another one of those Kosher versions of the ubiquitous midtown deli. Sandwiches, Salad bar, etc… but a quick look at the menu in the window, and I discovered they had Chinese food! Now, I was brought up Jewish (a reform Jew, so we didn’t keep Kosher at all)- which means I love Chinese food (the goto meal on Sunday nights and Christmas). But what’s Chinese food without pork (and shrimp for that matter)??? I love pork. A lot. As a matter of fact, with all the pork I’ve eaten in my lifetime, I was sort of surprised that an alarm didn’t go off when I walked into Kosher Deluxe.
I bypassed the salad bar and shwarma station on the right, and headed straight to the back, where they serve a variety of sandwiches, dinner type dishes and of course- the Chinese food. The menu had most typical Americanized Chinese dishes (all served with chicken or beef)- like Lo Mein, General Chow’s, Beef or Chicken and Broccoli, Moo Goo Gai Pan, and my personal favorite- Pastrami Fried Rice, in case you had forgotten where you were. The big problem was the price. Almost every Chinese food item was over $12!!!! (And you didn’t even get shrimp!) I did a quick u-turn, figuring that it wasn’t worth the money- but something caught my eye on the way out. On the menu above the Shwarma station I saw it…. “Shnitzel in Pita”. Helllllllo???
Now, I’m a big fan of wiener schnitzel (german fried veal cutlets), so how could Shnitzel be bad??? I spotted some delicious looking fried stuff below the Shwarma, next to the falafel that I was betting was the Shnitzel. I ordered it- and was not disappointed… (It is actually a misconception that wiener schnitzel is some sort of sausage- despite “wiener” being part of the name.
In German wiener actually means veal. Serves me right for just assuming crap. Wiener actually means Viennese… and a traditional cutlet from Vienna is usually Veal.)
The pics, +/- and the Midtown deal of the century… after the jump.
Day 5 of Falafel Week
Well, falafel week ended with a whimper this week. I was unable to find Miriam's Falafel Cart on 46th & 6th, which has disappeared into some sort of falafel netherworld… and with no other suggestions from friends or message boards- I was forced to go to a place that I don't think is known for it's falafel, but I've alway been curious about… Aaron's Restaurant.
Because Aaron's Restaurant is on 46th between 5th & 6th avenue, I walk by it all the time (on my way to Hing Won, Variety Cafe or House of Pita). Their sign hangs right over the sidewalk, but the place itself is on the second floor, so you can't see in. Only a staircase leading up to god knows where. And when I say "god knows where", I mean that literally, because Aaron's is a Glatt Kosher restaurant, which I think is loosely translated to mean "extra" kosher.
After climbing the stairs you find yourself in the front of a bare bones restaurant, with a buffet style counter where you can order things to go, or a seating area where you can order off the menu from a waiter or waitress. The food behind the glass counter looked pretty good… but once again- it's falafel week, so I ordered a falafel with everything to go.
I'll try not to spend too much time on this falafel, because to be honest with you, it was pretty bad. It was edible… and I finished it (after all I'm a fat man who loves to eat)- but every other place this week was better. The first sign of trouble… after stuffing the pita with hummos and falafel he then put it in a microwave. Once that happened, I had pretty much given up any hope of this place earning a second visit (for the falafel that is… I will be back but more on that later).
The pictures and +/- after the jump…. Read the rest of this entry »
DAY 4 of Falafel Week
It's day 4 of Falafel Week and I was supposed to go to Miriam's, which I have never seen but was told is on the SW corner of 46th & 6th. It was recommended on Chowhound… but when I walked by on Wednesday it was not there- so for today I decided to go to Bread & Olive (also recommended to me on Chowhound), and find another place for tomorrow.
Bread & Olive has falafel, along with a ton of other options, including chicken and beef schawarma, numerous pastries, vegetable entrees, and what looked like lebanese style flat bread pizza. All of it looked delicious… but alas, this is falafel week, so falafel is what I got.
This is a lebanese place, so a beet juice pickled vegetable made it's first appearance of the week (I'm pretty sure it was turnip, but not positive). It was one of the first layers to go down on top of the fresh baked flat bread- that I believe they make on site (another first for the week). It also had lettuce and slices of tomatos, and then the falafel and tahini, all rolled up burrito style in the flat bread.
A picture of the sandwich, and the +/-, after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »
DAY 3 of FALAFEL WEEK
Finally, after two days of mediocrity- I finally hit the goldmine. A fresh, hot falafel- that isn’t dry in the middle, or messy. Happy times.
Definitely the tastiest falafel so far this week. The pita is that pillowy soft kind of pita, so they have to roll it up with the falafel inside, rather then cut a hole in it and stuff the falafel inside. They also brush it with butter and stick it on the skillet- so it’s hot and delicious. The falafel is made fresh right in the cart, so it’s still hot when you eat it and the balls are small so it’s not dry. They are served on top of a little bit of lettuce and tomato, and some yogurt sauce, which is a really refreshing change from some of the tahini heavy falafel in Midtown. The only downside is the size… definetely the smallest, but at only $3.75 you can afford to get two (if you’re super hungry), or a bag of chips!
All in all, the butter grilled pita, and the lack of veggies make this the least healthy of the falafel I’ve had this week… but sometimes, least healthy translates to tastiest.
- Fresh falafel that are not dry in the middle
- Pillowy pita bread, that is brushed with butter and grilled
- If you like yogurt sauce instead of tahini, this is the place for you
- The size
- If you’re into veggies, this place isn’t for you. There’s only a little lettuce and tomato on the falafel
- If you’re not into carts… it’s a cart
Kwik Meal, Cart on the SW Corner of 45th and 6th
Day Two of Falafel Week!
It's day two of my search for the best Falafel in Midtown… and while nobody has ever recommended Moshe's to me- I have walked by it many times, and it usually has a really long line. Well, in most places, long lines means good- so I figured I'd try it.
I'm not sure if I was there on a bad day or what, but the falafel I got was a mess. There was so much tahini poured over the top it was impossible to eat. I asked for hot sauce, but couldn't taste any under all the tahini- so I'm not sure if it was there, or they forgot to put it on.
Because this is a cart, and the falafel are made right there, they were warmer and a little fresher then yesterday's falafel (House of Pita), and had a really delicious outer crust that tasted sort of like the batter that you find around fried seafood in New Orleans (definetely not a bad thing!). Unfortunately the inside was a little a dry. You would think the tahini would have helped, but all of that was on the top, and the falafel was on the bottom. Their layering could definetely use a little work. Four falafels on the bottom of the pita pocket, lettuce and tomato on top of that, and then one falafel on top to make it seem layered… with the whole thing smothered in tahini.
I basically had two bites of falafel covered in tahini, four bites of just lettuce and tomato, and then the bottom was all falafel. The pita was better then yesterday, but it started falling apart after bite two, because of the tahini. Pretty disappointing. Usually taste rules, but when considering a place to eat a quick lunch on your break from work- messiness has to be taken into consideration.
Like I said, there was a really long line, so people must like this place- and maybe I just got one bad falafel. Next time I will definetely ask them to go easy on the tahini… maybe that will be an improvement. $4.25 for a whole, $3.00 for half… although I'm not sure what would constitute half… maybe less filling? That might be an improvement as well… If you've been here before please comment and let me know if your experience has been the same as mine.
The +/- and location info after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »
House of Pita was the first falafel I had when I started working in Midtown. One Avenue away from my office, on the most visited food street for my building. (46th between 5th and 6th is also home to Hing Won, Variety Cafe, Lenny's, Cosi, City Market Cafe, Pronto Pizza & Wu Liang Ye- among others) What better place to start then the original…
I really liked the House of Pita falafel the first time I had it… and there are some good qualities to it- but as I've tried more and more falafel's in this area I realized there a few areas where it falters. First off, if you're not looking you could easily walk by this place. It's not a cart, or a restaurant, but more of a counter where you order, and they prepare your meal. There's no door, or seats, and the entrance is in a "knick knack store" filled hallway that connects 48th street with 47th Street. There is usually a line/crowd of people in front of the counter, but it moves pretty quickly.
A description of the falafel, and the +/- after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »