My search for the best falafel in New York continues….
When my mom called and I told her I had travelled to the middle of Queens for some falafel, the natural question was “Was it worth it?” And I can enthusiastically tell my mom it was indeed. I can’t imagine she’d schlep to Forest Hills on her next NYC visit just for some fried chickpeas, but for those that appreciate good Lebanese food, the trip is a worthwhile one.
I’ve read about Wafa’s many times on food blogs, but it mostly slips under-the-radar when discussing the best mediterranean food in the city. It’s mostly because of the distance. Once you’ve deboarded the subway, you still have a good 15 minute walk or so to Metropolitan Avenue where Wafa’s sits among gas stations and auto repair shops.
Inside I had some warm service while I heard a woman having a fight with somebody on the telephone. The server apologized with a smile and said that’s what happens when you work with family. I immediately felt like a welcomed customer in a small, family-run business. Regardless of how the food turned out, I knew I was in a good spot.
I skipped my usual falafel sandwich in favor of a vegetarian platter. This allowed me to try three different dishes. And while I’ve been focusing on falafel of late, if I traveled all this way, I wanted to try as much food as possible.
In addition to falafel, I chose some really smoky and textured baba ganoush and the bulgur wheat/lentil combination known as mujadara. Both were great with pickle garnishes, but I’m here to talk about the falafel.
The combo platter included four balls, deeply browned and larger in mass than most NYC falafel. It had that unmistakable crunch, but inside it was even more textured and there was lots to chew on.
It was loaded with more spices, herbs, and seeds than any falafel I’ve encountered so far. The deep green colors made me think I had discovered another vegetarian platter inside my falafel! The flavors were also fully realized with a hint of cinnamon-like sweetness shining through the herbs.
The tahini sauce on the side was not what I was expecting – closer in texture and flavor to mayonnaise. The server told me that the Lebanese use yogurt in their sauce (which probably explains it) so the sesame flavor is quite muted and the texture is a bit thicker.
But just from a sample of three dishes, I can tell that Wafa’s is the real deal. Even if my mom thinks it’s too far to travel for lunch.
Does Wafa’s have the best falafel in NY? Although its name doesn’t get thrown around as often as others, it’s a worthy contender with loads of flavorful herbs and a serious crunch. 9 out of 10.
|100-05 Metropolitan Avenue (between 70th Road and 70th Avenue),
Forest Hills, Queens