Yummy Yummy Falafel Bar is a Welcome Addition to the Area
When I heard that Yummy Yummy Kosher Veggie Bar, the new falafel place on Lex. btw 55+56th, featured a free salad bar, I knew I wanted to give them a try. Cramming that little container at Olympic Pita (38th btw. 5th and 6th) full of pickles and cabbage is one of Midtown’s greatest pleasures as far as I’m concerned. So I headed to Yummy Yummy to check out their contribution to Midtown’s crowded falafel scene.
Yummy Yummy is a small place and was quite busy on the day I went. The counter area where you order, receive your food, and pay is about 5 feet wide and things seemed a bit chaotic. I got my food quickly and without any problems, but if business stays like this they may want to implement a better system, largely for their own sanity. There are a handful of tables, most of which were empty as many people seemed to be taking their food to go. But the place is so small that the line is right next to the tables, so if you plan on eating at Yummy Yummy anytime soon, I would be prepared for fellow patrons to hungrily eye your food or ask you what you ordered. Don’t be afraid to get social.
I got the Falafel Deluxe sandwich ($7), which features hummus, eggplant, cubed salad (aka Israeli salad), lettuce and sliced tomatoes. They did a commendable job of construction. Most importantly, they started the sandwich off with a bunch of falafel at the bottom of the pita, and then finished by topping it off with a few more. It was a lot of falafel and you certainly don’t need to worry about eating half of the thing before tasting that fried chickpea goodness. Otherwise, everything was in good proportion and the eggplant provides a nice mushy, fatty-tasting complement to the falafel.
The falafel itself was good. The exterior was not incredibly crisp, but respectable, and inside they weren’t too dry or too mushy. They are not of the straight up green, parsley packed variety, but you can see that it’s not just ground up chickpea in there. They aren’t as flavorful as some falafel, but they have a sort of peppery taste and totally got the job done. The pita was pretty full, but there was definitely room if you wanted to slide some extra stuff in there. Which brings us to the other half of the falafel sandwich, the salad bar.
Yummy Yummy’s salad bar features many recognizable items: purple cabbage slaw, sauerkraut, pickles, their cubed salad, olives, hot peppers, green and red pepper slices and some sauces. There were also some spicy carrots like the ones that come with pickled jalapenos. They’re still a little crunchy and really tasty. I’m definitely taking a bigger helping next time. The pickles and cabbage also stood out. It’s not the biggest salad bar around, but everything was good and there is plenty to load up on.
Perhaps most important, to me at least, is the inclusion of amba, that spicy, sour mango sauce stuff. Unsupervised access to this stuff is a rare and beautiful thing. I end up putting copious amounts of it on everything, and if I’m at Pita Joe in Union Square, I’ve been known to throw lids on a few of the containers and take some home (I’ve been horribly unsuccessful in finding it in stores, anyone know where I can get some?). There was also an oily hot sauce and some sort of yogurt or tahini sauce. Sorry, I don’t have much to say about them… I was too busy off in amba land.
I also tried the Spinach Boureka ($7), which is a puff pastry stuffed with spinach and cheese. It’s very similar to spanakopita (Greek spinach pie). They also have Cheese, Pizza (!?) and Potato varieties. The bourekas come with a few side items (I didn’t get the pickles and tahini listed on the menu) and don’t seem to include the salad bar.
I was surprised that the bourekas are served cold here as I’ve only had them warm. My boureka was very doughy, so if you’re looking for something really packed with spinach and cheese, you’re going to be disappointed. Ultimately, I just dumped a bunch of amba all over it and happily polished off the entire thing. Compared to the incredible variety of flavors you get with a falafel sandwich and the salad bar though, the bourekas just aren’t very exciting.
Yummy Yummy has a full roster of falafel sandwiches, falafel boxes and hummus bowls along with sides of sweet potato fries, hummus, babaganouch and tabouli. They also have coffee (lattes, cappuccinos, etc.) and desserts. The Falafel Deluxe is a very satisfying lunch and a decent value at $7. Is it the best falafel I’ve ever had (aka Azuri Cafe?) No. But Yummy Yummy has very quickly established themselves as a solid falafel option in an area that seems to lack them.
The + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- The best falafel sandwiches are well constructed and loaded with falafel
- I’m all about loading up at the salad bar
- I love those carrots that come with pickled jalapenos
- I have an unhealthy obsession with amba
The – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- I only like falafel when they are really crisp and extremely flavorful
- I’d rather get cheaper falafel from a cart and not bother with the salad bar
- Cold bourekas? No thanks.
Yummy Yummy Kosher Veggie Bar, 667 Lexington Ave. (btw. 55th and 56th), 212-644-9866