Monday, 25 August 2008
Coming to America: Day 11, Greenwich Village, New York City
The words 'best falafel' will always get my attention. Everyone knows there's a lot of terrible falafel out there in the big bad world - dark brown discs of any texture ranging from deep fried sawdust to rubber. I'll never forget the pride in the voice of one kebab shop owner as he asked me how I liked his falafel. I couldn't bring myself to tell him it looked and tasted like a wet sock left for a week in a plastic bag.
My love affair with this humble chickpea patty began when I was in university. The local strip housed a Falafel Kitchen, which pretty much kept me well fed for my entire uni life. Sometimes they would stand on the street handing out falafel balls on a tray to entice customers into their store. I would always devise a way to walk back and forth several times for another little snack.
Fast forward to The Big Apple, where Moustache in Greenwich Village, has a reputation for serving the city's best falafel. They're part of the Slow Food movement too, so you know they're putting thought into what they do.
Crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside, with distinct, identifiable flavours, served with pillow-soft pitta bread and fresh salad; what you get at Moustache is exactly what every falafel in the world dreams of being. The best in New York? I'd need to do more research to be sure. But the best I've ever tasted? Definitely. Don't miss the chance to try it if you're in the area.
Get the table in the window and, if you're very lucky, you'll get a little episode of New York life. While we were there, a fire truck turned up to quench a fierce flood from the apartments above. Hot falafel, fresh mint tea, and brawny men with axes. What more could you want?