Location: Mamoun’s Falafel
Sandwich: Falafel and shawarma
You can get anything in New York. At any time. Including surprise-celebrity comedy shows (we had to sign a non-disclosure, can’t say who it was but let’s just say his first name started with a “D” and is known for his infamous comedy central show which was cancelled) at the Comedy Cellar followed by an affordable late night sandwich. Enter: Mamoun’s, a New York staple on Macdougal Street since 1971 and claims to be the oldest falafel restaurant in the city.
Our hunger for comedy satiated, we headed next door to gratify our hunger for hunger. Mamoun’s is a small joint — just a few chairs and some counter space. The line often goes out the door at peak times, but when we arrived (9pm on a Monday), there were just a few patrons, either loud-drunk or eating quietly at the counters with their headphones in. Either way, the service is quick and the sandwiches are cheap — $4.00 for falafel in a pita or $7 for shawarma.
Tim, tell us about falafel.
The falafel was pure. An excellent middle ground between soft and crunchy, with the right amount of lettuce, tzatziki sauce, and tomato, wrapped in a warm pita. It lasted about two minutes, but only due to deliberate savoring. I wish that I had a few more minutes with it. But, I told myself, Mamoun’s isn’t going anywhere. Not anytime soon.
And Jack, what about that shawarma?
Here’s the thing about good shawarma. You can’t find it anywhere except for authentically good Middle-eastern restaurants. I’m not going to pretend to be a shawarma expert — in fact, I barely know how to pronounce it or what’s in it. Chicken? Beef? Veal? All of the above? Whatever it’s made out of, it’s usually best from authentic places. You can trust me on this one. And the sandwich at Mamoun’s had some pretty good stuff. Misc. meat products in a pita with cabbage, tomato and tzatziki sauce filled the void not only in my stomach, but the metaphysical void within my soul. So it was pretty good.
But as good as the food was, the important thing is that Mamoun’s is an important part of the fabric of the diverse quilt that makes New York City, and a quintessential part of our classic New York Night. Comedy. Beers. Sandwich. And you’re good to go.
Except… we weren’t. After this adventure, we scurried off to try an open-face sandwich known as “Pizza.” But you’re going to have to wait to hear about this in a later post.