My search for the best falafel in New York continues….
As I continue to do the research, the truth sets in. This falafel search could take me eons. Neighborhoods in the far out reaches of Queens and Brooklyn are home to many Middle Eastern families and that means there are a wide array of restaurants out there. Most that I have never even heard of. Where to begin?
My question was answered by Allison Robicelli, one half of a brilliant baking team, who has spent most of her life in Bay Ridge. She’s somewhat of an expert on most things, but certainly on where to eat in this beautiful neighborhood.
When I announced my falafel journey, Allison told me to immediately go to Hazar in Bay Ridge. I’m just a little embarrassed it took me this long to get out there. Now I know when Allison Robicelli tells you to do something, you need to do it.
Hazar is so much more than just a falafel joint. In fact, when I walked in and witnessed the spinning spits of meat, eyed the fresh whole fish, and smelled the aromatic spices, I almost forgot why I was here. Oh, how I wish I lived even remotely close to this place because I could tell by the menu, the clientele, and the smells that this would be a winner.
My falafel sandwich arrived and I was a little perplexed by the bread. The thickly cut dough was shaped like a pita, but tasted and felt like a fancy French roll. It was homemade, which certainly earns Hazar points, but I found it a little too crusty for the fillings.
However, inside the tahini-painted bread, I discovered magic. A variety of colorful vegetables (purple radishes, red tomatoes, and green lettuce) made the dark brown falafels look even browner. One might think the round falafel were burnt, but these were a revelation of crispness.
Ususally when fritters are this dark, there is a risk that the interior will be dead and dry. Not so here. While the edges were perfectly well-done, the center was almost undercooked. The batter was still evident with moist and soft textures. Flavors exploded with mint, herbs, and spice while the crunch kept on crunching. Sesame seeds (and perhaps pine nuts) gave the mixture a toothsome quality. It was a chewy and delicious experience.
I ended the meal with a phenomenal dessert called kazandibi, which I already wrote about here. It’s pilgrimages like these that make me so happy that the far out neighborhoods are only a subway ride away. And as I learn about more distant falafel joints, I’m going to load up my Metrocard.
Does Hazar Turkish Kabab have the best falafel in NYC? I’m not sure I’ll ever get to all of the options out here, but these browned and tender specimens in the far reaches of Brooklyn are some of the best I’ve ever tasted. 9 out of 10.
|HAZAR TURKISH KABAB|
|7224 5th Avenue (at 73rd Street),
Bay Ridge, Brooklyn