Say hello to Angelica Florio, our New York City correspondent. Born in Hoboken, raised in Oregon, and educated in Colorado, Angelica has gone back to her East Coast roots and is now living the dream in Brooklyn. Following along as she discovers the best eats in New York City.
Queen of Falafel
Welcome to Bushwick, where the artists who were pushed out of Williamsburg due to over-gentrification fled to to continue the cycle. While Bushwick’s western neighbor has become a whitewashed unaffordable joke of a neighborhood, Bushwick is in its own transition. And though the future of this Brooklyn region is highly uncertain, due to the prospect of losing its train into Manhattan, quite often the first thing you see upon entering Bushwick is a big, literal sign proclaiming a certain affirmative: YES.
The Queen of Falafel is a little shop in the House of Yes building, although the two are separate entities. The Queen of Falafel’s vibe is chill and cheery. I walked into the tiny ordering space and immediately noticed the reggae music that matched my mood. For New York standards, the Queen of Falafel is very inexpensive. I ordered a falafel sandwich with baklava and only spent $10 including tip. That’s pretty unheard of, even in Bushwick.
Due to its limited space, the falafel shop is set up more for to-go orders, but I was staying. The small area where you order (and can watch them make your falafel like most falafel places) has Middle Eastern decor: rusty teapots lining a shelf and plants and spices speckled about. However, since two people were sitting at the bar in this area and there wasn’t enough room for me, I ate my food in the little side room.
This room’s decor is much different from the falafel shop’s interior and is evidently more based on the theater’s aesthetic: dramatic and pretty. Eating my falafel in this room felt funny to me, and it was weird to face the mirror while eating at the bar (I think this area might serve as a dressing room for shows at House of Yes), but I enjoyed the weirdness of it.
The Falafel Sandwich ($7) itself was really great– and I have had falafels all over the world, from Adams Morgan in DC to Jerusalem.
The pita itself was very fluffy and a little overpowering– but that might be because I’m a bread fanatic and was more focused on it than the other components. The fresh tomatoes were lovely and the cucumbers gave the meal a great crunch that blended well with the mushy falafel. The falafel was not too fried and the tahini sauce wasn’t too heavy. I often feel like a human greaseball after eating falafel, but this sandwich left me feeling full and content but not overly stuffed. I even had room for a piece of baklava.
The Baklava ($2 a piece) was very sweet, as it should be. I typically like the phyllo dough to be a little bit flakier than this one was, but it was so delicious that I really can’t complain. I will definitely be stopping in for more of these treats that are only two dollars! That’s an amazing price.
I left feeling full, satisfied, and happy. The entire vibe of the place was inviting and friendly — I bonded with an Italian woman who worked at Queen of Falafel about how our birthdays are coming up. One of the great benefits of doing things alone is meeting people you probably wouldn’t otherwise. I definitely will be going back to the Queen of Falafel, especially because I found out after going there that they donate 10% of their profits to a charity in Nepal.
The Bottom Line:
2 Wyckoff Ave. (Bushwick)
Brooklyn, NY 11237