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DELFINO: Mamoun's Falafel — cheap, delicious variety

Mamoun's Falafel is a cheap way to satisfy your falafel craving. It is located on the College Avenue campus, a short walk from the heart of Rutgers.  – Photo by Mamoun’s Falafel / Instagram

After my first "Cameron’s Crunch" review, I decided to put a poll on my Instagram to get some recommendations on where I should review. I got a few good suggestions, but the one that stood out the most was Mamoun’s Falafel. I have never had falafel or really any Middle Eastern food, so I decided I had to give it a try.

Before even heading down to Rutgers, I looked over the menu online and was impressed with the various options they had. I noticed that a lot of their items contain the same core ingredients, just used in different ways. The dishes are based around falafel, which is made of ground chickpeas, chicken, lamb or beef, and are used to make either pita sandwiches, plates with rice or salads.

When I got to Mamoun’s Falafel, I looked over the menu one last time and finally decided on what I wanted to try. I got the Classic, one of its signature sandwiches, a side of pita and hummus and baklava for dessert. My friend got the Bleeker, another one of its classic sandwiches, with a side of pita and hummus as well.

The employees were extremely friendly, and you can tell that their restaurant pays attention to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic guidelines. Since seating was limited at Mamoun’s Falafel, we headed over to The Yard @ College Avenue to enjoy our food and get that little taste of the campus that I have been missing at home.

I was really excited to try my sandwich because I have wanted to try falafel for some time now. The Classic comes with falafel, hummus, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and a sesame-seed based sauce called tahini. I got the sandwich with no onions and the sauce on the side because I was not sure if I would like the sauce. Plus, I wanted to be able to taste the flavor of the falafel on its own to see if I actually liked it.

This sandwich way exceeded my expectations. The flavor combination was incredible, and it was so amazingly balanced that I could not wait for the next bite. The sauce was delicious too, so before each bite, I poured a little onto my sandwich and got to enjoy the Classic the way it is supposed to be appreciated. The lettuce and tomato were very fresh and added contrast of texture to the sandwich.

My friend’s sandwich, the Bleeker, was the same as the Classic, except it had chicken kebob in it as well. This chicken was some of the best chicken I have had in a while. It was perfectly grilled where it had a little crust on the outside while still being tender and juicy on the inside. The next time I go back there, I definitely will get this chicken in some way, shape or form.

After my sandwich, I tried the pita and hummus. The pita was tremendous, and it was everything I look for when I am eating a pita. The hummus, though, I was not the biggest fan of. I enjoyed the hummus in my sandwich, and I think it was a great compliment to the other ingredients in the sandwich, but on its own, I did not enjoy it as much. There was a flavor that was a bit overpowering, but I am not quite sure what it was exactly.

To finish off my meal, I had the baklava, which is made of filo dough and stuffed with walnuts and some sort of syrup to hold it together. I enjoyed the nuttiness of the walnuts and the sweetness of the syrup and would definitely get it again. It is extremely sweet, so the size they give you is the perfect amount before you feel like you are going to be sick from all of the sugar.

For the amount of food that I got, I was shocked at the price. For my sandwich, side of pita and hummus and baklava, plus a tip, I only spent $14. This is a great deal to me because I was full the whole day, but not to the point where I felt like I had overdone it.

I can definitely see myself eating at Mamoun’s Falafel in the future. Besides the delicious food, it has so many options to choose from that can fit different dietary restrictions.

If you have read any of my past articles, I constantly talk about wanting to incorporate more vegan or plant-based foods into my diet. Mamoun’s Falafel is a great place to do so because it has items like falafel as the star of many of its dishes plus items that are gluten-free as well.

It genuinely does have something for everyone, and I cannot wait to go back!

Cameron Delfino is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in journalism and media studies. His column, "Cameron's Crunch," runs on alternate Tuesdays.

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