119 Macdougal St
New York, NY 10012
IMO the best falafel in NYC. A village landmark, it’s more than just the falafel that makes this hole-in-the-wall joint stand out, it’s the snapshot of NYC life it captures. There is only one narrow entrance to the dimly lit 2 table dining room/ordering area/kitchen. In there amidst the chaos, to-go customers, sit-down eaters, and delivery boys shuffle around and single file line emerges with diners patiently waiting for cheap and tasty middle eastern comfort food. They have schwarma (real lamb freshly sliced from the spit), kufta, various kebabs, baba ganoush, tabbouleh, etc. NYU students, bar hoppers, tourists, vagrants, hipsters, and professionals all make up the line that often forms out the door.
Mamoun’s falafel. Always order more than 1.
Prepared freshly when ordered, the falafel sandwich comes with 3 falafel balls mashed in a pita with lettuce, tomatoes, parsley, onions and tahini sauce. Pair it with the hot sauce (hot) that is floating around the tables in a communal squeeze bottle and prepare yourself for a flavor explosion. The fresh veggies and tangy tahini are a bright contrast to the crunchy, heavily spiced and herby fried falafel. The hummus is excellent: smooth and flavorful despite its bland appearance. How can something vegan taste so good? Truly a food miracle in my book. Grab some falafel in the quick moving line and eat outside on the bench to enjoy ethnic fast food with an eclectic view.
7 Carmine Street (and Bleecker St.)
New York, NY
The Sicilian slice with a dusting of parmesan.
“Without a doubt this is the best pizza in the entire city,” Ben Affleck says in a NY newpaper. I have to disagree with the Daredevil. The pizza is average. Yes, I tried it only once and yes the fresh mozzarella slice looked good but I am basing my opinion on what I consider a reliable barometer of good NY/NJ pizza: the Sicilian slice. I have no idea what authentic Italian roots it has but it doesn’t matter. I judge by your plain Sicilian slice. It was large and cheesy and for $2.50 it was a great value. The large crust was airy and crunchy with some buttery flavor but the other 2 elements of the pizza trinity (cheese and sauce) were off the mark. I may try their plain slice to give it a proper tasting but Joe’s is about as unremarkable as Gigli right now.
53rd and 6th Halal Street Cart
Corner of 53rd Street and 6th Ave. Cart across from Hilton driveway and next to water fountain.
New York, NY
Very messy and very tasty.
Another NYC landmark, 53rd and 6th goes by many names: street cart, halal guys, platters, gyro man, street meat…the list goes on. And so does it’s line for food served in humble aluminum trays and plastic forks; a wait that can be up to 40 minutes on any given night. Why all the fuss you ask? Juicy grilled chicken and grilled gyro meat over surprisingly flavorful yellow rice. It is true the portions have shrunk from ginourmous to now huge, and the food isn’t cooked at the cart anymore, and yes prices have gone up but you will not find a better and tastier deal for $6. And who knows the city’s best food spots than NYC cabbies: where they congregate and spend their hard earned tips for inexpensive, quick, and filling food on the go, an eater must also eat. Order the combination platter with rice and pita, slather on the yogurt sauce and atomic hot sauce, grab a spot on the nearby benches and enjoy NYC street cart dining at its finest.
Hint: The other less busy looking cart across the street and diagonal to the Hilton is run by the same guys. When the line is huge, go here. Don’t let others convince you otherwise, IT IS EXACTLY THE SAME.
723 8th Ave. ( @ 46th Street and 8th Ave.)
New York, NY
Red Mango frozen yogurt with mango, raspberries, and mochi.
Korean frozen yogurt, or as I call it KoFroYo, has become Eatclub’s defacto standard post-Eatclubbing dessert. This trendy hotspot serves up sweet, tangy frozen yogurt with a myriad of toppings that span from fresh fruit to dark chocolate chips to Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Its yogurt is certified active from American Yogurt Society (something like that) and according to its website, only 80 calories per serving (small). Healthy, tasty, and good for you. What more could you want? Perhaps lower prices but the quality is consistent and the shops are a hipplace to hang out and people watch. There are other KoFroYo chains out there but Red Mango was the first in the states (popped up in Cali first) and it is the best.
Correction: Pinkberry was first in the US in 2005 but Red Mango has been around in South Korea since 2002. Thanks to xteethx, one of eatclub’s ever vigilant readers.
All this in one night. We ate till we puked. Thanks to E, Soph, Bethany, Haeme, Annie, and YM for making it through this ephemeral eatclubbing extravaganza.
The city that never sleeps and always eats…