My search for the best falafel in New York continues….
Ask anybody who’s even remotely well-versed on NYC’s falafel scene to name the best falafel in the city and you can pretty much guarantee the name Taïm will pop up. It’s been a favorite of the food world since Israeli chef Einat Admony and her French husband Stefan opened their modest little West Village storefront in 2005.
Since then, they have expanded to include a food truck, a second Taïm location in Nolita, a more upscale Israeli restaurant called Balaboosta, and will soon open Bar Bolonat. But how does that original falafel still stack up?
Well, let me put it this way. Taïm translates to tasty in Hebrew and the name is quite fitting.
These guys were the first that I’m aware of in this city to offer falafel in different varieties. Their classic green falafel glows with bright herbs like mint, parsley, and cilantro. But there is also a slightly spicy falafel studded with harissa (a Tunisian pepper blend) and another one with roasted sweet red peppers.
And that doesn’t even touch on their rotating specials. Recently, I’ve seen kalamata olive falafel, spinach jalapeño falafel, and kale pesto falafel. On my recent visit to the original location (which was still jam packed at 4pm), I decided to give their sundried tomato basil falafel a spin.
I got the special loaded in a sandwich. The sun-dried tomato flavors were a bit muted compared with the bold tahini sauce and the earthy slaw and veggies stuffed inside. I still detected a unique sweetness, but lost the expected crunch to other accompanying textures.
Shaking off a mild disappointment, I knew that their regularly offered falafel had to be as extraordinary as I remembered. So I opted for their $4 falafel sampling, which includes two balls of each of their flavors. Aha! Now I understood why their name means tasty.
These perfectly crunchy nuggets were packed with huge flavor. The flavor bombs were a bit small, but were wondrously creamy and tender inside.
If green were a flavor, this would be it. Glowing with herbs, the nuttiness of the chickpea married well to the trifecta of fresh flavors: parsley, cilantro, and mint.
The harissa had a unique smoky spice that was cooled down by a dunk in the provided tahini.
And the red pepper variety had a touch of sweetness that made the fried shell remind me of a hush puppy. Sort of.
These are definitely not your average falafel balls. They have a refined quality, which probably explains the smaller, more refined portions and slightly higher prices. But truth be told, these falafel are worth every single penny. And now that I’ve been eating as many chickpea fritters as possible, I can wholeheartedly agree with the rest of the city.
Does Taïm have the best falafel in NY? Most people will say without a doubt. Despite a sllightly disappointing special, their regularly offered falafel are extraordinary. I give them a 9 out of 10, but hold off in proclaiming them the best until this search is completed.
|222 Waverly Place (between West 11th and Perry Street),
|45 Spring Street (at Mulberry Street),