Thursday, May 22, 2008

King of Falafel & Shwarma: "yahhh baby who want it"

I've been living in the same apartment in Astoria since 2005, and for the past three years, I've walked by these guys and inhaled the rich, smoky fragrance of grilling meat but never stopped to get food from them.

It takes someone new to shake things up, I guess. When MH met me at the train station one afternoon after work, she declared that she was hungry and we decided to make a stop.
The King of Falafel & Shwarma has their menu tied to the railing behind their cart, with amusing come-ons such as "So are you really hungry today so let the big man feed you with his special all in one plate over Salad and rice if u want yahhh baby who want it" and "The best chicken and rice in town try it..... did you say yummmmmmey yes you did." They're really friendly, too; as we waited on line I listened to them joke with one customer after another. There seemed to be a lot of regulars.
MH and I got the beef kefta platter on rice pilaf and the chicken platter on yellow rice, topping both with hot sauce and white sauce. Each came with lots of random accoutrements, including iceberg lettuce, tomato wedges, spiced raw onions, a piece of falafel, and a bright pink root vegetable that neither of us had encountered before (something like a hard, raw turnip; anyone know what this was? Uh, it wasn't tasty).
Overall both were decent, but unfortunately I have to disagree with their declaration that they have the best chicken and rice platter in town. Both of their meats were on the dry side, and while I liked the rice pilaf, the yellow rice was standard (read: boring). The falafel they threw in there was a nice touch though.

My heart still belongs to Sammy's Halal in Jackson Heights, which is the only street meat I can envision myself wanting to eat regularly. Winner of the 2006 Vendy Awards, Sammy's juicy, flavorful chicken, perfectly spiced lamb chunks, fragrant basmati rice, cool and creamy white sauce, and smoky hot red sauce has never failed to make me happy. Though I haven't tried the chicken and rice on 53rd Street, I'm not convinced that it would be any better; I've heard the rice is super greasy there, which is a turn-off. I am simply not into "living the lifestyle," I suppose.

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