As with my previous pizza recommendation, there is absolutely no hidden relationship between myself and this place. This endorsement is purely out of my urge to share valuable, little known information with fellow cabdrivers, New Yorkers, and even the adventurous tourists.
This is simply the best Middle Eastern fast food in NYC. This little place in the East Village opened up earlier this year, replacing Cinderella Falafel. In my humble opinion, it puts all the other cheap falafel/ shawarma spots to shame, including Mamoun's, Bereket, Oasis, Ali Baba, etc.
The difference is that their pitas are terrifically fresh and have a beautiful texture. The pitas are not cut in half, and their structural integrity prevents everything from spilling out. A pita is served whole with a slit across the top, allowing for generous and efficient insertion of the most authentic salads and chickpea (or chicken) fill in town (no lamb.) It's all crammed in with tongs and layered so the array of flavors is present throughout. The sandwich moistened with a plentiful amount of true tahini sauce (t'khinah.) Strict vegetarians, beware-- they mix meat and veggie tongs.
On the counter you can find a bottle of delightfully viscous (homemade?) orange-colored hot sauce and a bottle of Amba, a sweet pickled mango sauce. These condiments are not just a special treat- they are a rarity that I can't really find anywhere else.
They also have delicious thick Belgian-style fries to go with your deep pita pocket.
The place is reportedly co-owned by an Arab and a Jew. The employees all seem quite happy to be working there. What more can I tell you? It certainly meets my high standards for a cheap, easy, somewhat healthy taxi- break meal or snack.