Falafel is made by frying up patties of chickpeas and fava beans. Done right ó crisp outside and green inside ó they make for great, semi-exotic fast food, filling but not too heavy.
Too often, this vegetarian Middle Eastern staple gets overcooked. That leaves for a dry, crumbly patty thatís crisp through and through, not just on the outer layer.
Sometime last year, while getting my hair cut, I complained to my barber about all the places giving falafel a bad name. Being a native of Iraq, my barber knew a bit about the subject. After waxing on about how falafel should be cooked, he steered me toward a restaurant run by his relatives on Everett Mall Way.
An unassuming yellow awning sign identifies Gyro House in a strip of businesses west of the mall. It calls itself a Mediterranean cafe, but the vibe is geographically farther east; tourism posters of Greek isles notwithstanding. Decorations on the back wall are written in Arabic, the language, after English, youíre most likely to hear inside.
The falafel sandwich, ($5.49) delivered on my barberís promise of being fresh and green inside. Jumbo size costs a dollar more.
Inexpensive Levantine fare rounds out the menu: Lentil soup ($2.99); Greek salad supreme ($4.99), Turkish salata (also $4.99). Thereís beef shawarma ($5.49) and a buck more gets you lamb shawarma.
Chicken, lamb or beef shish kebabs are available as well.
After the main dish, keep in mind that the counter is stocked with an array of traditional Greek and Middle Eastern sweets: baklava, basbousa and konafa.
Gyro House Mediterranean Cafe
620 SE Everett Mall Way, Suite 400, Everett; 425-513-1884
Hours: Open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Specialty: Middle Eastern take-out and catering; meat prepared according to halal standards.
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