• Amir’s falafel – Shalom!

    September 5th, 2008mr meaneramir's, LA restaurants

    A while back I hired a contractor who hailed from Israel to do a remodel on my house. In our months (and sadly YEARS) of remodeling he took me to just about every Israeli Shawarma in the 818 area code, as we darted from supplier to supplier buying things as diverse as a front door and a sewage sump pump (YUK!). 

    One place he neglected to take me, though, was Amir’s Falafel on Ventura at Colfax Avenue. I had to discover this place on my own, bereft of a Hebrew speaker, and freaked out about dealing with curt, non-eye-contact and very to the point service. The thing about my contractor (Menasche was his name) is that he understood what being a vegan was, and would debate, in Hebrew and very loudly on my behalf, about whether there was egg in the falafel or if the pita was grilled over smoking lamb fat. That was about the only great thing about him, but that’s another story.

    To the matter at hand, Amir’s makes GREAT falafel. They mix and fry it in front of you, usually ever batch is fresh and it’s never microwaved (unlike certain other places in the valley).

    Falafel Sandwich, $6

    Falafel Sandwich, $6

    As you can see above, the sandwich portions are generous, perfectly wrapped and the combination of hot, crispy falafel with just the right amount of tangy tahini, lettuce, tomato and stuff is wonderful. You can certainly get much larger sandwiches for only a little more money elsewhere, but this is quality over quantity and the huge menu with reasonable prices for sides means you sure can’t go hungry for between $8-$10.

    Big menu, reasonable portions.

    Big menu, reasonable portions. Shawrama has been covered to protect the innocent.

    A few times when I’ve been there I have ordered a bunch of sides and falafel so I can make my own sandwich, but unless you’re really hungry just get the sandwich. It works out less expensive and, believe me, they know how to wrap it better than you (and I!) do.

    Scale image of sandwich and magic hot sauce

    Scale image of sandwich and magic hot sauce

    Another thing that’s really tasty is the green hot sauce. It’s some kind of chili/cilantro/vinegar combo that’s green and hot as hell. It comes in rather small portions, and I usually ask for three of them which doesn’t go over too well.

    Come to think of it, transactions in all these ‘middle-eastern style’ restaurants are usually conducted in a highly matter-of-fact way with little to none of that phony friendliness we in the west take for granted. Seriously, I get told to “have a nice day” probably 50 times a week, and never by anybody that cares if I do. Our middle-eastern brothers and sisters would, in most cases, prefer to keep their heads down and concentrate on making a great sandwich then engage in idle banter about their pets.

    Another thing in common with falafel places in the valley is that they all look from the outside as if they’re in some sort of ghetto on the West Bank. I know that Beverly Hills has planning restrictions that dictate your building’s exterior right down to the level of where your marble comes from in the world (and I’m serious. Look it up.). I think the valley has the opposite, where establishment exteriors in strip malls are restricted to plastic, formica, unpainted wood and strange cardboard/duct tape accouterments, usually covering a broken window. Amir’s is better than most, though, especially since they replaced their broken window recently:

    Outside Amir's

    Outside Amir's

    Also, Amir’s is in a cozy strip mall that has everything from a Subway to a pharmacy and even an adult video store. I’m going to write a post-apocalyptic novel one day about a man that gets trapped in a strip mall in the valley by some strange force field and has to live on what he finds there. I’ll set it in Amir’s strip mall, as an eternity of good falafel, a pharmacy to help heal your wounds sounds like heaven, to say nothing about an endless supply of adult videos.

    Amir's Falafel on Urbanspoon

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7 responses to “Amir’s falafel – Shalom!” RSS icon

  • Love the censoring! That looks fantastic!

  • Amir’s rules! The great irony here is that I haven’t eaten there since I’ve been a vegetarian, but I used to go there all the time as a carnivore because I was addicted to their chicken schwarma (I know, gross, but these people seriously know what to do with seasonings). The service was never an issue for me because I’m Israeli and therefore speak Hebrew, but back then I don’t recall any Israelis behind the counter, only their Spanish speaking hired help. Good thing I speak Spanish too! Dang, now I’ve gotta get my butt back there for some of that yummy looking falafel.

  • Oh, Foodeater, I highly recommend a re-visit. And I’ve noticed that there are only Spanish people there on Friday evenings and Saturdays. Wonder why that is…. 😛

  • What is shawarma? I love falafel – now I am going to make some tomorrow. I make wicked good falafel.

  • i dunno, i love amir’s but i also love hy-mart deli. the fact that hy-mart microwaves their falafel is a tad disappointing…BUT they stuff the sandwich full of so much good shit, i don’t think they can be beat.

    sure amir’s technically has the best actual falafel balls. but do you get avocado in your sandwich? didn’t think so. black olives? no. tabouli? nuh-uh.

    so hy-mart wins the “most wonderfully stuffed wrap i’ve ever eaten” contest. amir’s wins on crispiness and basic seasoning. hmmm.

    damn, guess i will have to re-visit BOTH restaurants in order to make up my mind. i hate my life. 😉

  • Hy-Mart also wins for pure & honest-to-goodness family run charm. I freaking love that whole family and I want them to adopt me.

  • Just to let you know your header is not displaying correct in IE6.

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