"I have the simplest tastes. I am simply satisfied with the best." - Oscar Wilde

"I came, I saw, I ate." - Au Gourmand

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mamoun's Falafel - October 23, 2010

There are occasionally food and places which are associated a particular memory, whether fond or hideous, or simply filed in a more easily retrievable folder in the many layers of the gray matter by the mysterious and uncontrollable brain - e.g. the scrambled eggs, scrambled in a cup of oil, with bitter melon in a town whose name you will not know if I mentioned it in China (you can guess which category this memory is filed under).  The first and the only time I had been to Mamoun's was many years ago when Mamoun's had only two rickety, grimy tables with benches (the ones they have now are nowhere near rickety and grimy as those back then) - which, I have only found out now from their website, can be called a "restaurant" - on a cold winter night in a two-seater Porsche convertible with four passengers.  Was it due to the lack of experience, that being my first shwarma, or the youthful shyness that wanted to think good of the sandwich, but the somewhat hazy warm memory, not unlike Mamoun's mint tea, had become one of the stories I would tell people at dinner parties when I ran out of things to say.
Years later, armed with a stomach trained globally and a skin weathered by the nature and the inevitable passage of time, I can now proclaim that the shwarma is mediocre without awkwardness or peer pressure.  The pita was average, the meat was average, the tahini sauce was average, the lettuce and tomatoes were average, while the hot sauce could kick but without a punch to follow through.  Nonetheless, a sandwich is more than the sum of its parts, so decent cucumber and toasts can transcend their relative plainness into a star of afternoon tea, well, of course, aside from the scones.  As for Mamoun's shwarma, the sum was exactly equal to its parts - very average. By all means, it will serve as a decent quick lunch in a neighborhood without too many choices, but can it be made better, and be made better by me? Absolutely.

Mamoun's Falafel
Address:  119 MacDougal St., New York, NY 10012
Phone:  (212) 674-8685

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