My search for the best falafel in New York begins….
Judging by the exterior, I would never in a million years have guessed Nish Nush serves falafel. Okay, maybe if I really had a million years to guess, I would have come up with it eventually. I would hope so. But from the outside, this establishment looks like it would serve cheap beers and burgers.
But looks can be deceiving, of course, and I’m glad this is not another generic Irish bar in this area. In fact, it looks like most folks are glad because when I stopped by for my first official falafel tasting, the place was packed.
Nish Nush has been open for under a year and already has a dedicated following. Inside, the vibe is spacious, modern, and industrial. I could see this place being packed at dinner as often as it is at lunch.
One of the most enticing options here is to customize your own hummus (with mix-ins). Forget the DIY frozen yogurt bar, this might be the new trend! But I was here for the fried chickpeas. Not the mashed chickpeas.
The menu focuses on Israeli specialities with menu items (like sabich and banana/date smoothies) similar to the most popular falafel joint in the city, Taim. Nish Nush also offers three different “flavors” of falafel. I was pleased to see they were different enough from the ones offered at Taim.
I chose the Deluxe sandwich in order to sample all three flavors in one pocket. In general, I noticed the falafel balls had a nice crunch to them and while the insides could have been hotter, they were definitely not dry. The ingredients that composed the sandwich – cabbage, pickles, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant, and tahini – were all fresh and balanced the richness of the fried orbs.
Most impressive was the sticky, sweet eggplant that clung to the bottom of the pita. The smoky browned bits gave the sandwich a unique flavor and reminded me of a campfire marshamallow but without all the sugariness (and mosquitoes).
First up in the Deluxe sandwich was the traditional falafel. Laced with bright, green herbs (like parsley, cilantro, and mint) it was full of flavor and was my favorite of the bunch.
The roasted red pepper falafel was certainly spicy. It was studded with red pepper flakes and had a healthy burn similar to harissa.
Finally, the spinach and mushroom falafel was the most interesting. It was the least seasoned of the three (or maybe my palette was overwhelmed after the red falafel), but it still had a nice earthy flavor that I quite enjoyed.
Regardless of the misleading exterior, once you visit Nish Nush, you’ll never forget what they sell. Nish Nush translates to “snack” in Hebrew and their falafel are mighty tasty snacks.
Does Nish Nush have the best falafel in NY? The interior varieties offer something for everyone and their pita sandwiches are loaded with flavors. They get an 8 out of 10.
|88 Reade Street (at Church Street),