Friday, March 18, 2011

Frugal Feast #17

Mamoun’s Falafel is a New York institution. It’s the familiar joint for delicious comfort food, coupled with a relaxed atmosphere and a long line of falafel-loving cheapskates. With the $2.50 price for a falafel sandwich, it’s also a certified cheap eat, a dependable drunk food, and a local favorite that is sure to please even the pickiest eater (case in point, my younger sister… a self-professed falafel hater, she was converted after a single visit).

Don’t even get us started on the falafel. A great texture and flavor for your buck, and stuffed in a warm-from-the-oven pita, with almost an absurd amount of lettuce, tomatoes, and slathered in tahini. Exponentially better than the garbage that Cheapie’s is slinging on the corner of 3rd Ave, and much cheaper than the practically gourmet offerings at Maoz (as far as we’re concerned, beets, sundried tomatoes, and cauliflower have no place in our pita), Mamoun’s is the place to be when you’re poor and starving (and, usually, drunk).

Now that the weather is warm, we are excited at the prospects of lounging on the narrow concrete steps of the St. Mark’s location and dodging falafel drips on our bare legs. On a rainy day, try to snag one of the few wooden tables indoors and opt for the prime seating closest to the plastic hot sauce tubes.

We recommend coming for a cheap first date (especially after an afternoon of gallivanting around a marathon of Thursday night gallery openings), where you can awkwardly juggle overflowing pockets of tahini and chickpeas and share a refreshingly cold iced tea with one straw. You’ll still have enough pocket change to score a couple of $2 beers across the street at Kenka (25 St Marks Pl) with some free cotton candy to boot.

Oh yeah- and the baklava ain’t nothing to sneer at. One of our fellow Bitches, a venerable baklava snob if we ever saw one, has been known to schedule evenings around her cravings for this $1.50 Middle Eastern dessert.

Lucky for those downtown looking to satisfy their falafel fix, locations at 119 MacDougal St (the original) and Mamoun’s St. Marks, at 22 St. Marks Place, are happy to oblige.

In case you still weren’t quite convinced, who could refuse a cheap meal at a place so award-winning? Featured in 1000 Places to See Before you Die, rated the best shawarma and falafel in the city (with creamy baba ghanouj and juicy tabbouleh that aren’t far behind)

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