Monday, August 26, 2013

Joe's Falafel and the Soft Pillowy Rounds of Laffa

basically billowy laffa bread

What: Joe's Falafel is not exactly a secret -- it consistently shows up as the top-rated restaurant on Yelp for some reason, though it was nearly empty when we arrived on a Saturday evening.
Where: 3535 Cahuenga Blvd. W., In a strip mall on the cusp of Universal City and Studio City
Why: Studio City was already blessed with another Israeli falafel spot, Amir's Falafel, even before Joe's came along, but it's worth trying both to decide which is more important -- tender yet crispy falafel balls, or big fluffy rounds of homemade laffa bread. Now that I've tried Joe's, I'm going with the laffa bread, because their falafel and salads are also good.
vegetarian combo plate
What to order: Whatever you get, make sure it's accompanied by the homemade laffa bread, which is the star attraction at Joe's. More pillowy than a pita and as chewy as Indian naan, the bread is baked on the walls of a round oven that resembles a Tandoori oven.
bread baking in the laffa oven
The basic falafel sandwich melds the falafel, tahini and laffa bread flavors in an excellent way. But the vegetarian sampler plate is fun too -- with mounds of hummus, babaghanouj, cabbage salad and grape leaves and an entire laffa bread, you'll have fun getting the proportions perfect in sandwiches you construct yourself. An eggplant salad called moussaka, though it's mostly just baked eggplant, is also terrific.
copper pans add a homey touch
Will we return? Definitely, next time we'll delve into the meatier side of the menu and try some shwarma or kebabs -- as long as they're accompanied by plenty of laffa bread, of course.

Joe's Falafel on Urbanspoon


Bun Boy said...

I was just there two weeks ago for the sole reason that I was baffled it kept wrestling with Providence as best rated on Yelp!

Avidan Ross said...

ive been many times, and i gotta say its the best middle eastern food ive had in los angeles. i also first went to check it out because of the yelp reviews, but i keep coming back because i am addicted to the falafel, shwarma, hummus and fresh laffa. I'm not overly surprised about the yelp rating comparing to providence. i think people are quick to give 5 stars on yelp when its accessible and well priced.
i just wish the parking had more "full sized" spots....i hate parking in the compact spots