My search for the best falafel in New York continues….

SOOM SOOM, 8 West 46th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenue), Midtown West

Over the last few years, a string of Israeli-style fast food joints have popped up all over the city, but especially in Midtown. These places are clean and modern and serve hearty vegetarian food (fried eggplant, hard boiled eggs with potato, and of course, falafel).

Menu at SoomSoom

They’re also known for their impressive salad bars – not for topping with Ranch dressing, but instead to customize and complement your sandwich. SoomSoom, which has three locations in Manhattan, is said to have one of the largest selection of toppings.

Falafel Sample at SOOMSOOM

Before I even stepped foot inside this tiny cubbyhole, I had a falafel ball in my mouth. The employee with the free samples was eager to give me a taste, even though I had already decided to patronize the establishment. The falafel was impressive and would have convinced most takers to come inside.

SoomSoom Original at SOOMSOOM

I ordered the SoomSoom original, which comes pretty barebones. A warm and tender whole wheat pita held the falafel balls and a generous schmear of hummus. The rest was up to me. This is where my problems began.

The Pickle Bar

Most people would relish the chance to top their sandwich with as many unique and fresh ingredients as possible. I wanted to try everything and there was just not room in my pita for that possibility. The pickle options alone were endless (with beautiful vibrant colors) then there were sauces, olives, eggplants, peppers, and even crunchy french fry/crouton hybrids.

French Fries, Meet Croutons

Not sure what those crunchy things were, but they were hard to resist.

Falafel Sandwich at SOOMSOOM

By the time I loaded my sandwich up with colorful vegetables, I couldn’t find my falafel. This also became a problem when eating it since the ingredients were so heavy, the sandwich immediately started falling apart.

Falafel at SOOMSOOM

Unfortunately, the falafel (when I found it) was not as tempting as the free samples handed out on the street. These were missing a big crunch element (although I got that from some of the added ingredients) and felt a little mealy. My guess is that they started cooling off while I picked over the salad bar.

I take the blame for most of these faults. I should have showed a little restraint (and speediness) at the salad bar, but everything looked so colorful and fresh. I also wanted to get my $8 worth of toppings. There was a lot of flavor going on in that sandwich, but I’m afraid the falafel got lost somewhere in the mix. Next time, I’ll just top modestly and perhaps try to go back for seconds.

Does SoomSoom have the best falafel in NY? They might have the best salad bar and the 7 out of 10 falafel I tasted outside  could be yours if you choose your toppings wisely and quickly.

SOOMSOOM
8 West 46th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenue),
Midtown West

(212) 997-7666
672 Lexington Avenue (between 55th and 56th Street),
Midtown East

(212) 355-6888
166 West 72nd Street (between Amsterdam Avenue and Columbus Avenue),
Upper West Side

(212) 712-2525
mysoomsoom.com
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Category: Falafel

About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

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