The best of the fillings, and the most complex. It's full of tender chickpeas, sweet fried eggplant, tomato, and enough interesting olive oil to keep you paying attention. Smoky and sweet and rich—don't miss this.
The tender beans commingle in a sauce that seems equal parts sweet tomato and good olive oil. You could eat this stuff straight, but pita soaks up the juices nicely. A new favorite of mine.
Gently cooked spinach, sweet onions, and the crunch of pine nuts? Yup, this is a good one, fresh-tasting even though it's pre-cooked. Though make sure to add some hot sauce for brightness.
You could call it Middle Eastern bresoala: thinly sliced beef that's cured and air-dried. But here the exterior is rubbed with citrusy paprika, and the slices, thicker than usual, are possessed by a slick beefiness. You can order a bastirma-labne combo sandwich; we encourage you to do so.
Dense and creamy with the slightly fruity flavors of serious lactofermentation. A 100% labne sandwich is pretty overwhelming, but it's a great enhancement to other leaner fillings.
Impressively smokey with a strong tahini presence. It's a creamier, more dense baba than the standard.
Like a stronger flavored version of the Israeli couscous; tomato and olive oil boost its flavor considerably. It's still mild, but that's what that hot sauce is for. The bulgur itself is tender without falling apart, and lightly nutty.
This jumble of broken fava beans is heavy on the grassy olive oil. Pleasantly chewy skins give way to soft beans; easygoing, and one of the better foul preparations I've had in Manhattan.
* Pronounced fool.
A hefty block of very creamy, mildly funk feta makes a solid addition to the spinach, chickpea, and bulgur salad fillings.
The soft rice and lentils get a major boost from strong caramelized onion flavors. A little bland on its own, but perfect when paired with that tahini and hot sauce.
With additions of turmeric, onion, and cilantro, this is a pretty mild filling. Not bad, but there are other legumes more worthy of your attention.
Stuffed Grape Leaves
Weak grape leaves and mushy rice turned us off these vaguely sour dolmas. Probably canned; easy to skip.
It's unpleasantly dense in a stiff, starchy kind of way, and the chickpeas' natural sweetness doesn't come out as strongly as we'd like.
The spherical pasta gets studded with chickpeas, but not much else. Filling with a bouncy texture, but bland.
Kasseri cheese tastes like a cross between provolone and Emmenthaler. This young rendition (aged versions have stronger flavors and firmer textures) is alright but unremarkable.
Fried bulgur torpedos filled with ground meat, then smashed into your sandwich. Both bulgur and beef come out dry and underwhelming.
Like the other fried items at the cafe, way too dry.
Unlike any falafel we've tried before, which is a good thing, as there's nothing redemptive about these leaden blobs.
Tahini sauce livened up with garlic and lemon; hot sauce with paprika, coriander, ginger, and garlic. Both are habit-forming.
This is the pita you should buy instead of the wimpy thin stuff the cafe uses for sandwiches. It's fluffy and quite receptive to messy fillings.
The sandwich standard on the left, Damascus pita on the right.
The Damascus pita is smaller in diameter but much puffier, and less prone to busting open mid-bite.