Probably the best falafel* I've ever had. Fast, cheap and delicious — not much else you can ask for.
Number of visits: 2
*For those of you who don't know what falafel is, LOOK IT UP, YOU UNCULTURED SWINE. Just kidding, I didn't know either until last year. A traditional Middle Eastern food, falafel is ground chick peas rolled into balls with herbs and spices and deep fried.
Mamoun's is also a very well-known joint, and I can definitely see why. Located in the heart of East Village on St. Marks (and another in Greenwich Village), this place is bound get a lot of traffic, especially during the night — I can see it being awesome drunk food.
From the looks of it, you wouldn't expect much out of this small, dingy-looking hole in the wall. Squeezed in between the always-busy (not to mention insanely bright) Pinkberry and some walk-up apartments, it may be easy to pass by Mamoun's at first because the brown sign in front is quite modest and kind of blends in with its surroundings (depending on the time of day, that is. At night, I've seen a lot of people crowd in front of the tiny restaurant, so that may give it away). As seen in the picture, there are some seats outside and an ATM machine as this place is cash only.
The inside is just as dingy-looking and a bit dark. There are three tables on the right with bench seating and a bar by the window in the front to stand and eat (which, now that I think about it, would be mad awkward if there were people sitting in the outdoor area blocking your view with their rear ends). There's absolutely nothing special about the decor or ambiance of this place, which makes sense because it seems like Mamoun's is meant to be more of a to-go place.
But all of this doesn't matter because the food and service are the bomb. Both times I came here, I ordered the falafel sandwich because you can't go wrong with what the restaurant's famous for, right? Turns out I couldn't be more right. I still can't forget my first bite of that soft pita with fresh vegetables and, of course, the warm falafel balls — I was blown away!
My God, that's an ugly picture. Falafel sandwich.
The falafel has a very nice and crunchy shell and gives you a burst of flavor once it hits your palate, which, of course, is a great contrast to the soft and plush pita bread. Along with that are the fresh raw onions, tomatoes and lettuce — very refreshing — and a white yogurt (I think?) sauce, which gives you some tanginess.
They also have a bottle of hot sauce roaming around the restaurant for customers to use at their discretion. OK, let me clarify myself — they also have a bottle of THE DEVIL'S CONCOCTION THAT WILL MAKE YOUR MOUTH FEEL LIKE HELL. The sauce is no joke. You have been warned.
Overall, this is a beautiful sandwich, and for $3.00, an amazing deal.
To top off the mouth-watering food, the service is super fast as well. The guys behind the counter are also nice (but not particularly friendly or warm) and will seriously get you your sandwich in no more than five minutes. Awesome.
Needless to say, I'll be coming back. Probably sometime in the very near future because writing this has now made me really want some falafel. And it just so happens to be dinner time.