Flatiron Lunch: Fava’s Combo Platter is a Impressive Feast
Every Friday our man UltraClay goes south of the ML boundaries in search of a delicious lunch. Sometimes it’s Murray Hill south or the Flatiron District, sometimes Gramercy and everything in between- but we just like to call it Flatiron Lunch.
I first noticed Fava back in March when I was heading to Bamiyan and made a mental note to investigate further. It’s a little hidden, around the corner from the main strip of restaurants on Curry Hill, but the promise of a Mediterranean Grill drew me back.
Fava’s menu stands apart from the South Asian and Turkish cuisine found all around Curry Hill. For one thing, there’s no curry – grilled vegetables and meats along with falafel and humus make up most of the menu in one way or another. They sell wraps and pita sandwiches, but the real bargain comes from the combo platters.
For the vegetarians out there, there’s even a list of 20 different combinations availablefrom the basic falafel to the Mediterranean combo, which offers falafel, humus, babaganoush, stuffed grape leaves and feta cheese.
The combos aren’t just for the sprout eating set, though. On my first visit, I got the combo platter #7: chicken kebab, falafel and hummus. For $8.95, you get a pretty impressive pile of food with a pita on the side for good measure.
I generally liked the smokey flavor you get from charred edges on this grilled chicken, but it might be a little too much for some. I’m no falafel expert, so I won’t begin to compare it to anywhere else. It was fried goodness and I scarfed it down in short order. The hummus was thick and made a good dip for the pita.
On my return visit, I got the #4: gyro and chicken gyro, also $8.95. Sadly, the gyro is the generic meat log that we see everywhere, but they slice it thin, grill it up and leave it crisp around the edges, but still meaty. The chicken, thankfully, didn’t come from an unidentifiable cylinder – instead it was chunks of juicy, grilled chicken.
To test a theory, I crammed a little of the salad, the gyro and the chicken into the pita – when I was done, there was still half a plate of food left. I was impressed.
While I waited, I noticed a tank of ‘hibiscus drink’ on the counter that looked awfully familiar. My (Jamaican) family calls it sorrel, Latinos call it Jamaica, but apparently it’s all just hibiscus.
The version I know is usually steeped with ginger, adding a little bite – it’s also spiked with rum. This didn’t have either and was on the sweeter side after the server added a bit of sugar. My first couple of sips were great. I don’t know if I’ve ever tasted it quite so ‘pure’ before. It’s light and refreshing, but the ice melted quickly and I wasn’t so into it watered down.
A lot of what Fava serves amounts to variations on the street meat that can be found on nearly every block in some parts of midtown, but tend to be much more scarce below 32nd Street. Even better, the servings are bigger and many of the ingredients, especially the veggies, are much fresher than anything I’ve seen from a cart.
The + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- Huge servings
- Indoor street meat!
- Great looking veggies
The – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- I can get street meat in Midtown. In Curry Hill, I want Indian food!
Fava, 77 Lexington (on 26th Street), 212-686-1166