My search for the best falafel in New York continues….
The neighborhood of Cobble Hill really brings the new and the old together. Some residents (mostly of Italian and Syrian descent) have been in the neighborhood for more than 50 years. More recently, new families from other parts of the world (many are French or from Middle America) have moved in. And amazingly, both worlds tend to live in harmony. This is New York, after all.
Darna Falafel feels like it’s been there for at least a few decades blending in with the old school Middle Eastern shops and restaurants a few blocks away on Atlantic Avenue. But the truth is, this place is one of the newer ones. It was opened in 2011 by a young generation of falafel makers, which is evident from the uncommon pita sandwiches on the menu, like skirt steak and turkey bacon.
Initially I ordered the Falafel Wrap, which sounded intriguing with portobello mushrooms, red peppers, and caramelized onions. But then upon closer inspection, I switched it to the more traditional namesake sandwich. I wanted to taste the falafel unadulterated. There’s plenty of time to get fancy.
The name Darna translates to “Our Home” and it’s certainly a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere despite the cramped seating area. I was here a little early, but I can imagine it’s most comfortable to take your falafel for the road.
Plenty of tahini sauce and the usual suspect of vegetables (romaine, cucumbers, tomatoes) spilled out of the pocket. The gold mine of falafel was hidden somewhere inside. All the ingredients helped the pita sandwich with lots crunchy textures and fresh ingredients. I especially liked their bracing hot sauce.
I had a hard time pulling one of the falafel balls out of the sandwich for examination. They were so tender that they fell apart upon touch. This was mostly a good thing as the exterior had that nice browned crunch, but the interior (while not dry) was a tad mealy. The flavors were also nice, with pepper being the most dominant, though it could have used a bit more complexity in the spice department.
Included with the sandwich was a tiny salad with olives, chickpeas, cucumbers, and tomatoes. They also offered me a free sample of a delicious Yemeni black tea spiced with cloves. It was little touches like these that make new world retaurants, like Darna, fit right in alongside the historic icons.
Does Darna Falafel have the best falafel in NY? There is a nice consistent crunch and a lack of dryness. While the spices might not be as deep as others, the peppery flavors add to the party. 8 out of 10.
|200 Court Street (between Wyckoff and Congress Street),
Cobble Hill, Brooklyn