My search for the best falafel in New York continues….
Every time I move on to another food journey, I turn to my readers to find out where they think the “best” version of this dish can be found. Before I even begin eating, I can usually predict the winners. But in the case of falafel, a realtively unknown little kosher pizzeria named Naomi’s won the poll by a landslide. This place is way out in Flushing, Queens nowhere near a subway stop yet it beat favorites like Taim and Mamoun’s by a landslide. It received close to 5 times more votes than any other falafel restaurant.
I wonder how this happened. Maybe Naomi’s launched a campaign for their customers to vote for them or perhaps I have a huge readership out in Flushing. Or maybe it’s more well-known then I gave it credit for.
Due to its geography, I never made it out to Naomi’s before my official falafel search ended. But I recently wrote an article for Gothamist on this very subject and I knew I couldn’t make a fair assessment without a visit. So I took the F train to the ends of Queens and then rode a bus until I found Naomi’s Kosher Pizza.
The storefront was actually closing shortly since it was approaching Friday night and the orthodox Jews that run the pizzeria close for the Sabbath. However, there was still a lively scene. Most people seemed to be most interested in the pizza, but a little corner of the counter advertised falafel. They were available as a full sandwich, a half sandwich, or as a single ball. I went for the full sandwich (only $5) and one ball to see the unadulterated fritter.
I tried that first before I got into my sandwich. This was of the yellow variety without any herbs stuffed inside. I’d say it was crisp, but not crunchy. It also had a little chew from the chickpea stuffing and a bit of greasiness throughout. Here, they really let the beans shine and purists might prefer it. I, on the hand, like some spice and texture. This was rather bland.
After that, I didn’t have much hope for the sandwich. It was also for the purists with a lackluster pita stuffed with just the falafel balls, lettuce, and tahini. I wish I had found the salad bar so I could have added pickles, olives, hot sauce, etc. That being said, the sandwich was filled to the brim and for $5, it was very filling. I just didn’t get anything special from it. The falafel balls were soft without any texture distinguishing them from the pita bread. Plus, the flavor got lost too and nothing really stood out.
I hate to disagree with my readers and the people who have taken the poll, but Naomi’s falafel isn’t nearly as flavorful or vibrant as others on the list. Perhaps they’re a hometown favorite for people who live in this area of Queens, but after traveling far and wide for falafel, I’m afraid these are just not worth traveling for.
Does Naomi’s Kosher Pizza have the best falafel in NY? According to my poll they do, but after visiting them, I can’t give them more than a 6 out of 10 since the falafel is greasy, bland, and lacking a texture element.
|NAOMI’S KOSHER PIZZA & ISRAEL FALAFEL|
|6828 Main Street (at 68th Road),