Thursday, September 13, 2007

Perils of yuppification: the 'new' Chickpea

Chickpea on Astor Place used to be a reliable source of cheap, edible falafel. Not Israeli-quality, of course, but a reasonable choice all the same. Now, not so much. Be warned: they have raised the prices and Starbucksized the decor with new-agey quotes about chickpeas and their health benefits, but that's the least of it. They now proudly offer "baked falafel," in such flavors as "spinach broccoli" and "jalapeño." Not promising. The woman in front of me on line insisted that they still had falafel-flavored falafel, so I ordered this. It was indeed non-fried, although "baked" is a stretch. It passes through something like the conveyor-belt toasters in college dining halls, and emerges slightly browned and tasteless. With an application of tehina that no doubt more than replaces the calories saved by the not-frying, the falafel itself becomes fit for human consumption. (Or was the issue a fire hazard from deep-frying, with 'health' used as a cover?) The problem comes when you reach the hummus. It may or may not be hummus, but whatever it is, it's best left alone.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

try not to get creeped out by this or whatever but, girl, you so fine!

Anonymous said...

what are you doing going anywhere besides Mamoun's?

Phoebe said...

I went to Mamoun's, once, and did not like. I went to the place on 12th and University a bunch of times, but also, not impressed. Taim on Waverly and 7th is great but just a bit too far from campus. Any other ideas?

Anonymous said...

Don't know if they have falafel, but Hummus Place has good hummus (& both West and East village locations).

Scott Lemieux said...

Between this and Turquoise shutting down...ack.

Phoebe said...

A trip to the Middle East is now the only option. And the six train does not go that far.

Glenn said...

I have several ideas for great falafel. Unfortunately none are near NYU.

Used to like Mamoun's while in law school. Had these massive patty-like falafels. Course, last time I went there, they made balls.

To get israeli quality falafel, you need to go to either an orthodox place, or an arab place. And, I think that the arab style falafels are often as good as the israelis, and beat the heck out of fast food american falafel.

Here are some suggestions to try in downtown brooklyn.

Fountain Cafe, Atlantic Avenue betw Clinton and Court St. Arab place. And if you don't like them, there are at least two other places within a block that are also good restaurants. . .Yemen Cafe is one.

Zaytoon's, Smith St. Also an arab place.

Bedouin Tent Atlantic Ave...off of Nevins St., I think.

To paraphrase Homer Simpson..."Mmmm, Falafel. . ."

And, whatever happened to the vegetarian place on 8th St. off of MacDougal St.? Don't they still make falafel? (its been a while)

Phoebe said...

Bedouin Tent is quite good. But far from NYU.