Lunch: What Is “Best,” Really? (aka the Alfanoose Falafel post)

I was reminded again of the inherent hazards of declaring something to be the “best” in the city today: Often times it’s a setup for disappointment.

Which isn’t to say that Alfanoose‘s falafel are bad. They just didn’t quite live up to the expectation I held in my mind knowing the falafel have been awarded, every year since 2000, to be the best falafel in New York — a fact posted proudly at the very top-center of the restaurant’s homepage.

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What was I expecting? I’m not sure. Something discernibly different, though. Striking, even. I wanted to take a bite of a falafel and experience something that would cause me to revise my opinion level of the deep-fried dough balls, which currently hovers somewhere between “I-don’t-get-it” ambivalence and indifference.

The falafel were satisfactory, as much as something that reminds me of dried-out meatballs can be, but there was no ground-shaking revelation. Which, given the promise, translated into vague disappointment and the lurking question: Did I miss something?

photo(6)TIP: Falafel are just one small part of Alfanoose’s extensive menu, which includes a dozen meat or vegetarian pita sandwiches and platters, which are substantial (note shish kabob sandwich, left) and cheap. Vegetarian sandwiches and plates are generally $5.75 and $10, respectively; meat sandwiches and plates range from $7.95 – $14.25. Or, in other words, definitely merits exploration.

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