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

CRISP, 110 West 40th Street (between Broadway and Sixth Avenue), Midtown West

Although falafel is iconic to many countries in the world (Egypt, Israel, Yemen, etc.), there are many that haven’t made it their own. Well, Crisp has decided to change all that.

The mini-chain opened a few years back in New York and introduced the city to global falafel. Sure, you can get the “authentic” falafel with hummus, tahini, herbs, and pickles. But if you want to try something really unqiue, go for the Europa Falafel or the Mexican Falafel.

Falafel from Where???

This idea of putting disparate ingredients together is classic New York and makes for brand new experiences. I’ve been to Crisp before and was impressed by their Africa Falafel, which featured sweet potatoes, habanero peanut sauce, and greens.

A Crispy Line

Since my last visit, Crisp has had some drama within the company. Many of the original locations have closed (now leaving only three locations in the city) and the company has split with the owners of their food truck (which is now called The Pocketful). So how has this affected the quality at Crisp?

Athenian Falafel at CRISP

When I received my overpriced ($8.95!) Athentian Falafel sandwich, I could not see any falafel balls. Instead all that was flowing out of my pita was some pretty lackluster vegetables – romaine lettuce,  browned cucumbers, and one pretty pathetic tomato that had not been fully sliced.

Time to Cut the Tomato

Seriously, the tomato was practically an entire underripe tomato that made up most of the bulk of this sandwich.

Falafel at CRISP

Fortunately, I did find some falafel balls underneath all that mess. Studded with sesame seeds, they had a nice earthy flavor and were seasoned well, but it barely had any crunch. I know this place is called Crisp and not Crunch, but I oftentimes think of these words as synonymous. Especially when it comes to falafel.

Falafel at CRISP

The other ingredients that made this sandwich Athenian (salty feta cheese, an herbed yogurt sauce, and lots of chopped parsley) were interesting and actually played nicely with the flavors of the falafel. But there were no kalamata olives in the sandwich as the menu had promised.

I also discovered a pretty greasy bottom to the pita bread. The entire sandwich was sloppily composed and the ingredients are a step below fresh. It’s a shame because my previous experiences at Crisp have been much more positive.

Not so Crisp

Although there are some good flavors in the falafel themselves, they are greasy and lacking crispness. It seems the quality and eye to detail have been sacrificed as this company tries to cut back. And that is certainly not the falafel I want the rest of the world to experience.

Does Crisp have the best falafel in NY? Certainly not anymore, with careless presentation and lower quality that hinders the already greasy and crunchless falafel and earns it a 5 out of 10.

CRISP
110 West 40th Street (between Broadway and Sixth Avenue),
Midtown West
(212) 278-8978
111 Fulton Street (at William Street),
Financial District
(212) 321-2200
153 East 43rd Street (between Lexington and Third Avenue),
Midtown East
(212) 86705545
eatcrisp.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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