Friday, January 18, 2013

The Real King of Falafel: Zabak's (#23 on Robb Walsh Top 100)

I never really ate falafel until I moved to DC.  I never tried them mainly because they didn't have meat.  I worked down the street from the King of Falafel though, and I quickly fell in love with the fried chickpea balls that I had somehow spent my life avoiding.

When I first moved back to Houston, I had mostly disappointing falafel, namely from Niko Niko's.  But God Bless Robb Walsh and his Top 100 Dishes in Houston, because #23 on the list led me to the true king of falafel: Zabak's Mediterranean Cafe.

I was a little perplexed before I bit into Zabak's version for the first time.  "Why the hell is the falafel green?" I asked myself.  They didn't really explain, so I just shrugged my shoulders and took a bite.

The green is apparently from mixing jalapenos in with the chickpeas.  This gives the balls a very well balanced and unique flavor.  The spiciness of the jalapenos offsets the saltiness of the fried chickpeas, and the tahini sauce does the same with the hot sauce.  The result is one of my favorite things to eat in Houston.

I'm normally a guy who likes to try different things on a menu if I go to a place multiple times.  But I don't know if I see anything ever getting in the way of falafel on future visits to Zabak's.


  1. Zabaks is my fave!! I'd never had a falafel until they finally convinced me to try. then I went on a quest to see if anyone else in this great city could match the one and only falafel I'd ever had... I gave up. theirs is the best and no one can touch 'em.

    as a loyal zabak's groupie, I can recommend you try the kebab (tenderloin), chicken shawarma, baba ganoush, and besides the falafel, the greek salad w/ chicken is my most common order :)

    1. I'm actually meeting some folks there tonight, and they all sound great, so I'll see if I can pass up the falafel to get something else. Or see if I can convince my wife to ;)


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