Three Authorities Agree: Taim is the “Best Falafel in New York”

After posting my TasteEverything award (see below), it suddenly dawned on me that I had another award to give: “Best Food Magazine That’s Not A Food Magazine.” This I would dole out to New York Magazine which has become a personal Bible, in its way, of where to eat in this Apple we call Big.

Case in point: this week’s issue, “The Best of New York,” features an Eating section that names Taim Falafel the city’s best falafel. I’d never heard of Taim falafel but when I read the address I realized it was right near my favorite stomping ground: Waverly Street. (My favorite coffee shop and book store, not to mention my friend Kirk and my graduate school are all located on this street.) Today I ventured across 7th Avenue on Waverly to sample Taim’s falafel:

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It took me a moment to find this place–how Waverly continues across 7th Ave. is a bit confusing–and once I did, I had trouble opening the door. (It was a bit embarassing–has this ever happened to you?–I turned the handle and pushed and the door wouldn’t budge and people inside were staring at me. I think there was some kind of wind/air/suction thing happening. I finally wedged it open.)

Once inside, I soaked in the cuteness of the place. Right away I enjoyed the brightness: the large glass windows allow lots of sunlight in. Next I enjoyed the handwritten menus and then I enjoyedy the flowers. A woman behind the counter with an Israeli accent asked “How can I help you?” I asked where falafel was on the menu and she said: “We have three kinds: roasted pepper, harissa and green” (with cilantro, parsley and mint) “you can try all three on a sampler platter if you’d like.”

“That’s what I’d like,” I said, remembering New York Magazine’s advice “best sampled in a mixed platter with tahini-dappled hummus, tabbouleh and Israeli salad.”

And as you can see, New York Magazine knows its stuff:

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What a gorgeous platter of falafel: the most gorgeous I’ve ever had. And the taste matched the looks–everything was scrumptious, especially packed into the herb flecked pita.

The only complaint I can register about Taim is that it’s so small: there are only five stools and a counter for people to sit. While I waited for my food, all the stools were occupied and I was worried about where I’d go once my food was ready. Luckily, two men rose and left just when the woman behind the counter handed me my plate.

Observing me photograph my food, two stools down, an Israeli woman asked me how I heard of Taim. “New York Magazine,” I told her.

“Ah,” she said. “I’ve been coming here for a long time. It’s the best.”

“Can I videotape you saying that on my camera for the internet?” I asked.

“Ok,” she said pensively. Here she is confirming New York Magazine’s claim:

Take it on three authorities: if you want the best falafel, go to Taim.

14 comments

  1. did you know that ‘taïm’is the hebrew word for ‘good, nice, tastes well’, the word you exclaim when you get a bite you really like. English lacks the word I guess…we in Holland say : ‘lekker’.

  2. If you like these falafel innovations, you should try chef/owner (of Ta’im) Einat Admony’s food at Ludo on East 1st Street.

  3. Well Swan, I didn’t know you speak hebrew, and shelly is of course right.Taim means tasty. I’m always amazed to hear people are such lovers of our national falafel.

    e- what do you mean by Israeli couscous?Israelis eat marrocan/algerian type couscous, , I’m not aware of an Israeli one.

    It’s time for you to taste falafel in the original locations, Adam!!

  4. Adam — so jealous of you. Next time you go, tell Einat to open up a shop here in Atlanta…we’re totally lacking in this department. When you were still here in the dirty dirty, did you ever get a chance to eat at Sabra International Market (Katz’s) in S. Springs?

    Simona — Israeli couscous = “ptitim” or pearl couscous :)

  5. Where in Sandy Springs is Sabra? I live in Atlanta as well and ever since taking a trip to Israel this past summer have been looking for good places to eat around here. Apparently, though, there is a good place by five points/woodruff park, though I am waiting for a really beautiful day to go for a falafel fix.

    Adam, do you know of any other places?

  6. I heard that the term Israeli couscous refers to a non-couscous product that’s really pasta shaped somewhat like couscous. It’s slightly larger than “real” couscous.

    I was served it at a restaurant in St. Louis once and asked if it was really pasta. They insisted it was really couscous. I suppose that was because it was printed that way on their expensive menu.

    Here’s a quote from Kelsey Lane, NCR, Oct 2001 at http://www.acfchefs.org/trends/couscous.html:

    “Although both Israeli and the more familiar Moroccan couscous are part of the pasta kingdom, the two are distinctly unique and cannot be substituted for each other in recipes. Moroccan couscous is prepared in either of two ways: the traditional, tedious way by steaming in a couscousière, or the modern, convenient method of pouring boiling liquid over it, letting it absorb the liquid, and fluffing it.

    With Israeli couscous, the sky’s the limit. Preparation methods abound and the pearls are surprisingly forgiving. It can be prepared in the exact same way as pasta, by boiling in salted water (or any liquid, such as chicken stock) for eight or nine minutes and then draining. Another popular method is the risotto method of gently toasting the couscous and then adding wine until it is absorbed, followed by several rounds of adding stock until it also is absorbed, creating a smooth and luxurious consistency.”

  7. Israeli cous cous is awesome. It’s bigger than traditional cous couse, actually it looks more like tapioca grains than anything else. I think it makes especially good cold salads. I like tossing it with sliced cherry tomatoes, baby arugala and a lemon/olive oil, salt, pepper.

  8. “Israeli” cous cous is a misnomer; I’m Israeli and my mom only makes the Moroccan one.

    Nice review. I can also vouch for the tastiness of Ta’im falafel.

    I think I’ll go today!

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