Nothing makes me long for Falafel King more than having a disappointing Mediterranean meal elsewhere.
The King — a tiny slip of a storefront where you can smell the food before you reach the front door — will correct the culinary injustice with food that is reliably assertive and filling.
Extremely garlicky and a bit fiery, Falafel King’s offerings have plenty of zest and zing yet manage to hold on to individual flavors.
Throw in the one-man show who makes the magic happen and you’ll understand why there are lines out the door at lunch.
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The menu: Classic Mediterranean offerings include hummus and baba ghanouj (baked eggplant with tahini), served as an appetizer or sandwich for $4.99 or as a side for $3.99. Salads include garlic sauce and feta, chicken, beef/lamb gyro or falafel served over a bed of lettuce, onion, tomato and cucumber ($6.99-$8.99), or tabbouleh ($5.45) and fool moudamas, a mixture of fava and garbanzo beans seasoned with lemon juice, parsley and Mediterranean spices ($7.75).
Falafel, chicken and beef shawarma, shish tawook (grilled-chicken breast marinated in garlic, lemon and herbs) are available as a sandwich ($5.99 each) or a plate, accompanied by rice, hummus and salad ($8.99-$9.45).
What to write home about: The savory beef shawarma plate, salty beef cooked with a fabulous mix of onion, marinated red cabbage and tomatoes, and the combo plate ($9.75), which allows you to mix and match your favorites.
What to skip: The baba ghanouj is too salty for my taste.
The setting: Indoor seating limited to three stools facing the window, with another five tables outside. Your best bet: order to-go and take your meal to the public seating at Pike Place Market around the block to enjoy views of Elliott Bay.
Summing up: A side order of baba ghanouj, a combination plate with beef shawarma and shish tawook, a beef shawarma plate, a soda and bottled water came to $33.48 including tax and tip.