Taim Mobile May be the Best Lunch Truck in Midtown (Vegetarian or Otherwise)
Taim is a veritable New York institution at this point. The quality of their product has earned them a legion of devoted followers, plenty of superlatives from food media, and recently received the prestigious distinction as the “Best Falafel Sandwich in New York City” by the folks from Serious Eats. On the back of their popularity, they’ve spun off a sister restaurant, the upscale bistro Balaboosta, and they’ve recently hit the streets with a mobile food truck. A few weeks ago, downtown correspondent Andrea got a first look at the Taim Mobile truck, and last Friday, I was lucky enough to nab lunch from the Taim truck in my neighborhood of Midtown West.
We at ML make no secret about it – we’re omnivores through and through. We have a healthy respect for a lunch that’s filling, meaty and starchy enough to get us through the long work day. However, the falafel platter ($9.50) shook any convictions that meat is a requirement for a sustaining workday lunch. And at this price, it’s a bargain, given the sheer volume of food and many layers of flavor from a generous shmear of hummus, a falafel quintuplet, pita bread, a nutty quinoa salad, refreshing cucumber based Israeli salad, and various condiments.
I simply couldn’t ask for more out of their hummus. The healthy mound of ground chickpeas is lavishly rich from the tahini and a small pool of olive oil, lusciously smooth, and utterly satisfying. Tear into the pillowy soft, za’atar flecked pita, drag it through the dreamy hummus, and you get a bite of food that’s so good you’ll swoon.
Almost nothing is lost in translation with the critically acclaimed falafel during the transition from brick and mortar to street truck. These globes of deep fried chickpeas sported the reliably crunchy exterior and ethereally fluffy interior that I’ve enjoyed at the original Taim. Flavor wise, the falafel stand by themselves – pleasantly nutty and herbal from the well integrated parsley and cilantro. Add a drizzle of the fragrant amba (mango chutney), a dollop of spicy S’rug (Yemeni hot sauce), or a dip in the hummus, and you’re in flavor country.
It’s more or less the unfortunate case that warm blooded Americans build their meals around animal proteins, a habit I’ve certainly been guilty of. However, this was easily the best vegetarian meal I’ve had in recent memory, and one of the better lunches (vegetarian or otherwise) I’ve had in Midtown as well. With vegetarian food this good and this exciting, I’ve had a suspiciously crunchy granola change of heart – “hold the hamburger, and please pass me the hummus”.
The Taim Mobile truck is closed today but hope to be in Midtown tomorrow or Wednesday. You can follow them on twitter, or the ML twitter tracker, and stay up to date on their menu and location on their website.