Another falafel enabler


photo from

There’s a cheap falafel restaurant in the East Village. Groundbreaking news, no? Well, if you’re like me and eat cheap East Village falafel weekly, branching out to a new location is, in fact, a significant deal. So it was an exciting Tuesday evening when I trekked an extra couple blocks in the rain to Mohamed Falafel Star (178 E 7th St., Manhattan–map), at the bottom of Tompkins Square Park.

I was originally attracted to the spot by a memory I had of a sign in the window: Falafel Sandwich $2. So I was a bit disappointed when I arrived and that $2 had been changed to a $3. But I was willing to shell out the extra buck to see what Mohamed had to offer. And the first thing he has to offer is a friendly face. It seems a one-man shop, and the man behind the counter is talkative and cheerful as he stuffs your pita.

My first observation, before sinking my teeth in, was that this is the biggest falafel sandwich I’ve examined yet (bigger than Yatagan kebab, and much bigger than Mamoun’s). Upon devouring the sandwich, I discovered that Mohamed also adds chopped cucumber to his sandwich, another new revelation I greatly appreciated. When it came to the patty, however, Mohamed’s was just as bland as all other comers when compared with Mamoun’s. Nevertheless, his counter is worth checking out, if only for the over-the-counter banter. I’ve also heard high praise for Mohamed’s shawarma–I’ll report back after my next trip.


Another slice, another dollar

After my first taste of $1 pizza, I needed more. But I figured if I can’t mix up the toppings, I might as well change my source. So I headed to Tompkins Square Park in the East Village, home of Mamani (151 Ave. A, Manhattan–map).

On the surface, Mamani is quite different from 2 Bros. There’s less seating–only three tables–and a much more varied menu, boasting halal food, fish sticks, and unidentifiable fried balls. But when it comes to what’s important–pizza and price, the two are strikingly similar.

Mamani’s pizza has the same thin, airy crust. It’s less filling, but still has a nice crispness and flavor. The cheese and sauce are similarly fine, but nothing to go crazy over. Mamani has a much smaller crowd, which is great if you’re in a hurry, but also means the pizzas aren’t as fresh and hot as they are down the road. The verdict: if you don’t mind a bit of a line, 2 Bros has the edge. But if you like eating in the park, Mamani’s location can’t be beat.