for some reason, middle eastern food is not usually my thing. i don’t often crave it, and a bad meal can really deter me from trying again. take falafel for instance. sometimes the coating is too thick and hard, there’s oil everywhere, or the pita pocket is just filled with sauce and untasty lettuce. however, when i have a good one i’m like, oh right, this is why i should be eating this food more often — pretty healthy, cheap and so satisfying.
of course, new york has dozens of falafel joints along with thousands of falafel experts. while that’s not me, and i still haven’t tried places like taïm or mamouns and haven’t been to rainbow in ages, i can report with some limited authority that azuri’s falafel is excellent. maybe not the best (who knows), but very very good, and if you’re stuck in midtown, and need something cheap, fast, light and fluffy and filled with spices, i’d head on over to the west 50s. the place is small, nondescript but clean, gets crowded fast though service is quick, quick, quick and the falafel platter was perfect. in fact, i wanted more when i was done thinking i hadn’t quite gotten enough. now that is saying something. azuri cafe, 465 west 51st between 9th and 10th avenues, manhattan, new york, 212.262.2920.