Even Non-Vegans May Enjoy the Green Express Cart
Last week, we brought news of the Green Express cart, which has been serving up mostly vegan Middle Eastern cuisine on 47th street and Vanderbilt. Though I typically have more carnivorous cravings, I decided to check these guys out.
The menu consists of only three sandwiches, a couple platters, and a handful of salads. The prices are actually decent for midtown, especially considering how much stuff is put into each sandwich. The falafel sandwich ($6.00), for instance, includes hummus, quinoa, Israeli salad, green cabbage, and tahini. I saw them preparing one of these for the guy in front of me and they packed a good five or more falafel balls in there… that pita was stuffed!
I opted for a more unusual item, the sabish sandwich ($6.50). I’d never had sabish before, but the description was enough to convince me to try it – toasted eggplant, tomato cooked in olive oil, hummus, Israeli salad, green cabbage, a boiled egg, and tahini.
Like the falafel sandwich, this thing was absolutely packed to the brim. The eggplant was pretty large and the sauces were kind of overflowing. The boiled egg was sliced and thrown right on top, while the salad-like ingredients were shoved to the bottom of the pita. Most ingredients kind of blended together in a soft mush, so the individual tastes of each were not entirely distinguishable. Yes, the sandwich was messy and it was mushy, but I actually really liked it. The hummus and boiled egg together were a particularly tasty combo, both stronger in flavor than the eggplant. Because everything inside was soaked with hummus and tahini, there wasn’t much variety in texture other than some crunchy cucumber and cabbage. That’s ok though – it was fresh, it tasted exotic, and it was everything I hoped it would be.
If I had to complain about one thing, the distribution of contents throughout the pita could have been better. I would have liked some of the boiled egg near the bottom and some of the crunchier salad fixings at the top; however, I don’t think this issue is unique to Green Express. It’s just how pita sandwiches tend to work.
I also got a side of falafel, which I found to be very reasonably priced. For $3 you get six balls, which are all made to order. Using some tool that resembled an ice cream scoop, I watched the guy in the cart form six decent-sized balls of mashed chickpea/falafel goodness and drop them into the fryer. A couple minutes later, he pulled out the dark, fried balls you see above. They look a bit burnt on the outside, but really they were quite soft and tasty.
I’ve had falafel all over this city and I find it’s usually not so different from one place to another. This falafel, though, was noticeably better than average. There was an enjoyable lemony taste to it and it had a great texture. The fried outer layer was decently crunchy, but the inside was moist and almost fluffy. Good stuff!
Again, I’d like to remind you that I eat a lot of meat. A vegan lunch is not something I go out of my way for or typically have any interest in consuming. That being said, I was totally satisfied with my food from Green Express. I still haven’t found a website for them, but they’ve been parking on 47th pretty consistently since I first spotted the cart. If you’re tired of the greasy gut bombs we usually drool over and are looking for something lighter, healthier, more organic, or whatever, you might find something appealing at Green Express. It’s affordable, it’s filling, and it’s good!