Monday, April 25, 2011

Ba'al Cafe 04-22-2011

Location: 71 Sullivan St.
Time: 12:30pm
People: RB and myself

Feelings: It has been RB's mission to find cheap lunch in SoHo, a difficult task indeed in this fashion-centric area of Manhattan. After all, models who wonder around in SoHo don't eat, so there is no demand. He usually gets lunch specials from various spots throughout Chinatown, Italian sandwiches from Alidoro, or falafel sandwiches. Until recently, Hoomoos Asli has been dominating the falafel superpower in the SoHo area.

But perhaps it's time for a change. Falafel, za'tar bread breakfast sandwiches, za'tar fries, dessert and Gimme Coffee!--all can be found at this recently opened Sullivan street shop, Ba'al Cafe. This cozy spot serves hearty and scrumptious sandwiches at a reasonable price of $5 and platters at $6. They have a small counter if you want to eat in, but this is mainly a takeout joint.

The service was a bit slow, and it seemed a bit confusing, which is understandable due to the recent opening. I ordered Ba'al lemonade and a falafel platter with a side of za'tar fries and hummus. The lemonade was made with orange flower water, which created a very interesting flavor similar to muscat grapes. I expected the platter to have some sort of salad, but as I opened the container, the only color I saw was beige. If you are someone like me who needs to have vegetables for lunch, I highly recommend ordering a side of salad.

The winner of the platter was definitely the hummus. It was impeccably nutty, and the fresh ingredients shined through without much greasiness. I tend to get sick from the oiliness of hummus, but their version did not bother my stomach at all. The falafel balls were small and nicely cooked, and the inside was moist and flavorful. The bread was also chewy and sweet, and I could literally eat on its own without any sauce.

RB's enjoyed the flavor of his falafel sandwich. He thought it was delicately prepared and not just jammed full of ingredients like many falafel shops do. This, although providing a very pleasant visual experience, may be a bit of a downfall as well. Each ingredient was packed one at a time resulting in a bite of salad, followed by a bite of falafel. There seemed a bit too much segregation in the sandwich.

Our za'tar fries did not taste very fresh despite their flavorful spices. Perhaps the side of salad or grape leaves would have been a wiser choice.

I would love to try their breakfast sandwiches with coffee when I get a chance. Until then, RB will have to bring me home more of their delicious hummus and za'tar bread.


Anonymous said...

Definitely give a try to the eggplant and egg sandwich. It's an Iraqi specialty that, if done right, is really unbeatable. The roasted eggplant slices, hardboiled eggs, salad and hummus make a great combination.

I haven't been to Ba'al yet, so I don't know if their version is any good, but you can go to Maoz or Olympic Pita for a pretty good version.

Yosh. O said...

eggplant, egg and hummus! What a delicious combination.

kim said...

I love Hoomoos Asli, but haven't been there for a long time. Which hummus would you prefer? Hoomoos also have eggplant, egg, hoomoos pita sandwich. Top it with tahini...yum...Now if only HA offers whole wheat pita..."(

Yosh. O said...

I know! I wish more places served whole wheat pita like Azuri. I'd have to say I like Ba'al's hummus a little more than HA since it wasn't greasy.