Thursday, April 21, 2011

Alyan's Restaurant

603 South 4th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147-1524
(215) 922-3553

South Street. Healthy(ish) food. Cheap falafel. These three things accurately describe the climate at Alyan's Restaurant.
Flavorful. Easy to eat. Delicious. Guess which category these fall under...

Although I tried Alyan's years ago, and was extremely unimpressed, I felt that maybe I just had an off experience. I mean, it does say right on the window that it's Philly's best falafel, right?

We were seated in the back garden area, which is actually a delightful respite from the hustle and bustle of South Street on a weekend afternoon. I really, really wanted to love Alyan's. It's a family affair, and I like the relaxed atmosphere.

We ordered the famous Alyan's fries to start. They were actually quite good. Reminiscent of boardwalk fries, they had a clean, peanut-y flavor, and the hot peppers and onions complemented them quite well. Not as crispy as I usually prefer, but they were definitely worth a trip.

We also tried the baba ghanoush & falafel sandwich and the hummus & falafel sandwich. Unfortunately, the two were indistinguishable, and in a blind taste test, I would have thought I was eating some cubed cucumbers and mediocre pita slathered with bean puree. Is THIS why I hate vegans? (Just kidding vegans, I only disdain your cuisine)

The sandwich, although of ample proportion, was over-dressed with tahini, and slathered with hummus. The shell, which was of the garden variety supermarket bought white pita, simply tore on both sandwiches within thirty seconds of grasping to bite. There was an obvious lack of salt, on everything, and I couldn't taste anything but the subtle power of sesame.

An order of "hot sauce" was simply pureed jalapeno, which also had no taste but hot.

It APPEARED there were herbs involved, but they were masked by that treacherous tahini blitz. I should clarify, it wasn't even over-powering, there was just nothing else going on in the flavor department.

The falafel itself was as mediocre as they come, and as much as I hate to admit it, I would go to Maoz (even sober) next time as they put out a superior product. I am sorry Alyan's, but it was just as bad as I remembered.

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