Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Falafel Bar in Pictures

Welcome! A colorful dining room at Falafel Bar

Strangely warm weather hit Philly last Friday and I felt like taking a stroll on my lunch hour down towards my wife's office near City Hall to grab some lunch. Among the smattering of new lunch options opening in the neighborhood, I was curious to try the new Falafel Bar on the 1500 block of Chestnut. [menu]

Offerings from the bar include sweet Baklava and salads

The dining room was bright and still a little busy for a late (2:30pm) lunch.  The bar was stocked with several salads ready to go, as well as some sweet & savory stuffed pastries.  We decided to go with the classic falafel and a greek falafel - the difference being a tahini or a tzatziki sauce and slight variation of veggies.

Greek Falafel - Crispy falafel stuffed with tzatziki, cukes & tomatoes 

I prefer this style of falafel to the kind you sometimes get at other falafel joints in Philly - the warmed pita pocket is opened up and stuffed with the contents, rather than served as a 'wrap' style.  Both falafels had a very crispy crust and the toppings were fresh enough. I preferred the richer tahini flavor of the classic, but both were satisfying. I had read some early online feedback declaring 'meh' when it came to comparing this place with others like Maoz, but I thought the falafel itself was better than anything I've ordered from Maoz.

Mediterranean Fries - Sweet potato & potato fries with roasted/grilled peppers

As we were tucking into our sandwiches, a runner from the kitchen approached with a basket of the specialty fries. I thought were a dupe order that belonged to another table, which had received theirs already, but the smiling cook informed me that they were a gift, to enjoy, no charge.

I've never had a truly crispy sweet potato fry in my life that can rival a white potato, but these weren't too bad by sweet potato standards...slightly limp is de rigueur with sweet potato fries, but these were seasoned well and had plenty of flavor. I thought the peppers were decent but unnecessary, adding a bit too much oiliness to the fries while the regular fries intermingled in the basket were so-so.

If you're a regular at some of the other Mediterranean sandwich joints around Center City (Maoz, Argan, Mama's), definitely stop-in and give it a try to see how it stacks up against your favorite places. Being so close to Five Guys, it makes for a convenient alternative when the half the lunch crew wants to go vegetarian and the other half wants to take out a burger.

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