Boreca, Hamutsim, and Shawarma! Is this a sacred lost language? NO, they’re some of the delicacies that you will discover and fall in love with at Allan’s Falafel restaurant.
Located in the charming, historic town of Chester, NY, Allan’s Falafel creates homemade, authentic Israeli cuisine. Owned by husband and wife, Allan and Tatyana Abbad, the menu honors the street food of Allan’s life growing up in Tel Aviv. “The food is what you would expect when you went to your friends’ house. It was always fresh and plentiful, and the flavors just jumped off the food into your mouth,” said owner Allan Abbad.
With the falafel considered the crown jewel of the menu, other of Allan’s most popular dishes include hummus, gyros, kebabs, tabouleh, stuffed grape leaves, and shawarma (a blend of middle eastern spices rubbed into meat such as lamb, chicken, or beef and grilled on a vertical skewer).
While passing through Chester a few weeks ago we were treated to lunch at Allan’s. The menu is extensive, and everything sounded so good, that since she knew the menu, we asked our host, Phyllis to order for us. She agreed and, as you can see, she didn’t hold back.
We started with, or should I say we dug into, the Galit Hummus first. The center of the hummus was filled with Greek olive oil, feathered paprika and zatar, a wonderful blend of Middle Eastern spices and herbs. Warm pitas were served on the side, but the surprise of the plate were pickles. This dish by itself could have made a meal.
Janet and I are not fans of stuffed grape leaves, so we probably wouldn’t have ordered them, g but Phyllis insisted we try them. We thought--you have had one stuffed grape leaf, you have had tried them all. Were we wrong! The homemade stuffed grape leaves came out warm, filled with rice, vegetables and exotic seasonings. So good and unexpected that we both went back for seconds.
When I think of Mediterranean cuisine, I think of fresh vegetables and olive oil, so we had to try some salads. Phyllis ordered us two of her favorites, not only because she knew they were delicious but because she knew they look good in pictures too. She was right on both accounts.
The shredded red cabbage salad was light, cold, and tossed with just the right amount of lemon, olive oil and vinegar. The Israeli salad had what you would expect--chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, tossed with fresh parsley, olive oil, garlic and fresh lemon juice. I particularly liked the salad because the all vegetables were chopped to the same size. It added a good consistency and with a touch of salt, it was a real winner.
We love our vegetables, but we also like our meat, so last but not least, we tried the Shawarma Pita. A homemade pita was stuffed with slow roasted, seasoned, lamb and beef slices, fresh shredded vegetables and pickles. The drizzle of tahini sauce completed the dish.
Too full for dessert. we were sent home with their famous baklava, layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and syrup, baked golden brown. One taste and I was transported to another world.