Downtown Lunch: Baba Ghanouge Replaces Mixed Grill
Midtown workers shouldn’t have all the fun, so to even the score, I’ve brought on Daniel Krieger as an official Downtown Lunch Correspondent. Every Friday he writes up some of the tasty stuff you can get in the lower half of Manhattan. He’s a great photographer (insuring good food porn), but more importantly he is a lover of cheap, unique and delicious eats (or as I like to call it- Midtown Lunch’ish food.)
When Mix Grill on Church Street closed I didn’t really shed a tear. The food was ehh and I hadn’t been there since I checked it out for a downtown lunch writeup. So when I saw Baba Ghanouge moving in about a month ago, I was excited to see what they were going to be offering in the same storefront.
Huge spinning towers of meat, one lamb one chicken, stand close to the window, drawing in carnivores with their glistening red-coil-cooked meat.
I had to have one and tried the lamb, but in the end wish I had gone with the chicken (which I sampled afterward and found the meat more flavorful and tender than the dry, too gamey lamb). The shawarma pita comes with garlic sauce, pickles, and lettuce for $5.
I also tried their vegetarian platter which comes with ginormous house made grape leaves, a few falafel pieces, hummus, baba, tabouli, rice, and two pitas, and costs close to $10. For some reason they gave me a spinach/pita pocket but forgot the hummus leaving me to wonder if hummus did in fact come with the platter. They said yes, apologized for the mistake, and gave me a separate portion (sometimes all ya gotta do is ask.)
The grape leaves were nice but I was totally disappointed with both the baba and hummus, each lacking any unique flavor, spices, or even just plain salt. I make my own hummus at home and mine could totally kick this versions ass in a fight. I think my favorite part of the platter was the tabouli, which was very flavorful and refreshing.
I have to say that I would be willing to go there again for breakfast at some point. They have a spicy omelet made with hot garlic sauce, pepperoncini, onions, tomatoes and green peppers, served on pita. If you go check this place out for lunch, try the chicken shawarma on the pita. It will be a nice sandwich for 5 bucks.
Baba Ghanouge, 165 Church Street (btw. Chambers & Reade), 212-571-2020