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Mr. Falafel: Iraqi Kebab House

Mr. Falafel: Iraqi Kebab House
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  • Mr. Falafel: Iraqi Kebab House

    Post #1 - September 14th, 2015, 6:54 pm
    Post #1 - September 14th, 2015, 6:54 pm Post #1 - September 14th, 2015, 6:54 pm
    LTH,

    In the Halal Guys thread Cyriaco positively mentions Mr. Falafel on California just N of Devon as a "tiny Iraqi kebab house" with good sandwiches, in particular gus on samoon w/amba (shawarma/bread/mango pickle sauce). I was drawn for lunch today not only by the mention but also the fact both Eastern Breadstone and Georgian Baker are around the corner.

    Jazzfood and I ordered for three, though we were two, and the range was good to terrific, with lightly charred juicy chicken shawarma and moist crispy falafel tied for best in show. Bread, in particular samoon, and torshi were top notch with torshi (pickle) having clear clean flavor and crisp fresh bite-through.

    Torshi, Bean soup, bread, salad, lentil soup

    Image

    Chicken shawarma, beef shawarma, kebab, rice. Hummus, falafel. Torshi

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    Chicken shawarma in foreground

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    Clean, bright, comfortable with knowledgeable table service, hyper reasonable pricing, easy parking and a spotless bathroom.

    Mr. Falafel, Count me a Fan!

    Mr. Falafel
    6404 N California
    Chicago, IL 60646
    773-338-6666
    Wednesday to Monday 11 - 9
    Closed Tuesday

    Eastern Breadstone Bakery
    2818 W. Devon
    Chicago, IL 60645
    773-338-9969

    Argo Georgian Bakery
    2812 W Devon Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60659
    773-764-6322
    Last edited by G Wiv on October 20th, 2015, 4:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #2 - September 14th, 2015, 10:33 pm
    Post #2 - September 14th, 2015, 10:33 pm Post #2 - September 14th, 2015, 10:33 pm
    I'm very happy you made it there, and I do have to say that those pictures are quite lovely! If I'm not mistaken, that bean soup is the "daily" stew, which they seem to have every day. They use the English word "stew" for the Iraqi dialect word marga, a thickish soup (either vegetarian or not) that is usually eaten with or spooned over rice. On my second or third time there, I asked, "Why is the daily stew always the same? Don't you ever have potato curry or margat bamya (okra)?" The woman at the counter seemed a little embarrassed and admitted that, when they opened, they had potato curry sometimes, but it has been a little while.

    All in all, I agree with your assessment and am quite satisfied to see you give Mr. Falafel its own thread. That torshi really does have an excellent snap!
  • Post #3 - September 15th, 2015, 8:05 am
    Post #3 - September 15th, 2015, 8:05 am Post #3 - September 15th, 2015, 8:05 am
    Cyriaco wrote:If I'm not mistaken, that bean soup is the "daily" stew, which they seem to have every day. They use the English word "stew" for the Iraqi dialect word marga, a thickish soup (either vegetarian or not) that is usually eaten with or spooned over rice.

    Cyriaco,

    You are entirely correct, Mr. Falafel refers to the bean soup as "stew" though to me it was more soup. The lentil soup was slightly thick, Alan thought a bit of added Bulgar wheat. I liked both, though they skewed a bit bland, nothing a squeeze of the table hot sauce or drizzle of amba couldn't enhance.

    I should also note the black tea was strong and veg for salad freshly cut and crunchy, a detail I greatly appreciated.

    I imagine its apparent I enjoyed lunch at Mr. Falafel and plan on a return visit soon. Thanks for mentioning them in the Halal Guy's thread.

    I woke up thinking about Mr. Falafel's fantastic torshi.

    Image

    Regards,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #4 - October 14th, 2015, 12:02 pm
    Post #4 - October 14th, 2015, 12:02 pm Post #4 - October 14th, 2015, 12:02 pm
    We have gotten excellent take-out from Mr. F several times. The baba ganoush is outstanding--it's extra smoky and some of the best I've had. The chicken shawarma is not the dried out, limp thing one too often sees but is moist and flavorful. Lentil soup is quite good, falafel are very good, and torshi are good as noted above, although I have found the torshi rather cabbage heavy (not a problem for Cabbagehead). Helpings are generous. The only miss for me was the heavy, bland Kibbeh Mosul, but that may be because it's just not my thing.

    Pick up a take-out menu because prices online are out of date.
  • Post #5 - October 14th, 2015, 12:42 pm
    Post #5 - October 14th, 2015, 12:42 pm Post #5 - October 14th, 2015, 12:42 pm
    Second on the excellence of the baba and the lentil soup (I add a bit of salt), but what's really impressed me is their namesake. Admittedly, I go at off times like 2:30 on a wednesday, but they always seem to make the falafel fresh to order. This takes a bit of time, 5-7 minutes, but I've found that I trust them enough now to call it in ahead as I'm driving and know it will be fresh. Adding torshi to a falafel sandwich increases the degree of difficultly of eating it on the ride home, but certainly worth it.
  • Post #6 - October 19th, 2015, 9:07 pm
    Post #6 - October 19th, 2015, 9:07 pm Post #6 - October 19th, 2015, 9:07 pm
    Looks like I need to put this on the list. Unfortunately I can't go at off times during the week but weekend lunch seems like the ticket. I'm a big fan of torshi so that's a definite attraction.
  • Post #7 - October 20th, 2015, 10:22 am
    Post #7 - October 20th, 2015, 10:22 am Post #7 - October 20th, 2015, 10:22 am
    Maybe this was discussed in another thread, but I can't remember; does "Iraqi," in the current context, mean Assyrian? Or does it mean Persian? Cyriaco, based on your name, not to mention your evident expertise, I am counting on you to know. I am asking, as they say, for a friend --- my Sweet Baboo is Assyrian. He doesn't necessarily like everything about Assyrian food, but there are a few dishes he misses from his childhood.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #8 - October 20th, 2015, 3:14 pm
    Post #8 - October 20th, 2015, 3:14 pm Post #8 - October 20th, 2015, 3:14 pm
    Katie wrote:does "Iraqi," in the current context, mean Assyrian? Or does it mean Persian?


    Based on the food (e.g., samoon, Kubba Mosul) plus the fact that generally Iraqi + Chicago = Assyrian, I'm pretty certain it's the former.

    On another note, while I would love to join in the chorus of praise for this place, I'm afraid that I cannot... as they are CLOSED ON TUESDAYS.
  • Post #9 - October 21st, 2015, 9:59 am
    Post #9 - October 21st, 2015, 9:59 am Post #9 - October 21st, 2015, 9:59 am
    is it safe to assume they do take out, too??
  • Post #10 - October 21st, 2015, 10:27 am
    Post #10 - October 21st, 2015, 10:27 am Post #10 - October 21st, 2015, 10:27 am
    justjoan wrote:is it safe to assume they do take out, too??

    We have only gotten take-out there. Just don't rely on the menu prices listed online.
  • Post #11 - October 21st, 2015, 11:10 am
    Post #11 - October 21st, 2015, 11:10 am Post #11 - October 21st, 2015, 11:10 am
    EvA wrote:
    justjoan wrote:is it safe to assume they do take out, too??

    We have only gotten take-out there. Just don't rely on the menu prices listed online.

    thanks, looking forward to trying it.
  • Post #12 - October 21st, 2015, 11:54 am
    Post #12 - October 21st, 2015, 11:54 am Post #12 - October 21st, 2015, 11:54 am
    G Wiv wrote:I was drawn for lunch today not only by the mention but also the fact both Eastern Breadstone and Georgian Baker are around the corner.

    What! You were at Devon & California and didn't stop for a pint of camel milk?

    Image

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    I haven't tried it, but Mike Sula seemed fairly pleased with the stuff. I have, however, tried the Afghan turshee (from Fremont CA) that Muslim Women Resource Center Community Discount Store sells and thought it was some of the best I've ever had.

    Image

    It's not Mr Falafel's brightly acidic veggies, but a mellow, complex, long-cured pickle the likes of which I haven't had before. I love all torshi—all pickled vegetables really—and this is one of the most distinctive I've tried. There's plenty more of interest at MWRCCDS.

    Muslim Women Resource Center Community Discount Store
    2727 W Devon Av
    Chicago
    773-764-1686
  • Post #13 - December 4th, 2015, 10:07 am
    Post #13 - December 4th, 2015, 10:07 am Post #13 - December 4th, 2015, 10:07 am
    Another round of applause for this spot. Always wanted to try them out but was always en route elsewhere when riding by but not this time. I went in for lunch and was hoping to see a lunch special but I did not. No biggie I decided to opt for what they call a "Chili Fry" with your choice of chicken or beef. I opted for the chicken and got an enormous plate of thinly sliced shawarma that danced on the griddle alongside green bell peppers, onion, mushroom, and tomatoes. I like shawarma and I enjoy fajitas so I knew I was going to get a good lunch out of this. Also of note is the hot sauce, not sure if its homemade or bought bottled but I really like it. On top of the extreme amount of food on the main plate it also came with my choice of soup, a salad, pita, and the torshi that has brought much joy to Da Wiv. Easily enough for two people and or two meals, and I don't say that often. You know how I get down.

    Image
    Chili Chicken Shawarma

    Mr. Falafel
    6404 N California Ave
    Chicago, IL 60645
    (773) 338-6666
  • Post #14 - August 7th, 2016, 1:27 pm
    Post #14 - August 7th, 2016, 1:27 pm Post #14 - August 7th, 2016, 1:27 pm
    Mr. Falafel continues to turn out excellent food. During this last miserably hot week, take-out from Mr. F provided a dinner and two lunches from our order of baba ganoush--always a must-order from them--and two dinners, beef shawarma and kefta kabob. Their tangy torshi this time included baby carrots along with cabbage, celery, jalapenos, and cauliflower. And as Da Beef noted, their hot sauce is outstanding. We are very glad to have this place so close!
  • Post #15 - August 7th, 2016, 6:20 pm
    Post #15 - August 7th, 2016, 6:20 pm Post #15 - August 7th, 2016, 6:20 pm
    The place really is quite remarkable, wonderful spicing on their falafel, torshi very serious. Problem is if I didn't work in Evanston I wouldn't get there enough to help support what is clearly a distinct Iraqi style of cooking that I find hard to find in "middle eastern" places. (In a different sense I thought the same about the original Dawali in Albany Park). I live in Chicago proper and it's very hard to convince people to make the commute up there. Only the best wishes for the people there. The portions are way too big for me, but others might disagree.
  • Post #16 - August 7th, 2016, 7:09 pm
    Post #16 - August 7th, 2016, 7:09 pm Post #16 - August 7th, 2016, 7:09 pm
    whocanitbenow wrote:The place really is quite remarkable, wonderful spicing on their falafel, torshi very serious. Problem is if I didn't work in Evanston I wouldn't get there enough to help support what is clearly a distinct Iraqi style of cooking that I find hard to find in "middle eastern" places. (In a different sense I thought the same about the original Dawali in Albany Park). I live in Chicago proper and it's very hard to convince people to make the commute up there. Only the best wishes for the people there. The portions are way too big for me, but others might disagree.

    In West Rogers Park (which is Chicago proper), where Mr. F is located, there is a substantial Assyrian (Christian Iraqi) population. Lots of other folks live up here too (like me!). The place does seem to do a decent business, and I hope they continue to do well. I get that it might be hard to convey to others the differences between their cooking and other "middle eastern" restaurants.
  • Post #17 - August 12th, 2016, 5:02 pm
    Post #17 - August 12th, 2016, 5:02 pm Post #17 - August 12th, 2016, 5:02 pm
    There are so many places I find respectable lamb/beef shawarma these days but I don't know that I've found better than at Mr. Falafel - rich with some crispy, fatty bits, moist and so delicious. And yes, solid baba ghanoush and a tasty fattoush too which featured generous sprinkles of sumac, olives, crispy pita bits and pomegranate molasses.

    My lone complaint: the falafel. Hey Mr. Falafel, it's your name! Okay, I'm being a little dramatic. They were fresh, hot and crisp. But they were slightly dense for my liking and not particularly well seasoned (you can't really detect spicing in the picture below). No, they weren't bad my any means, but every batch of falafel depends on the seasoning and that was where these let me down the most.

    Image

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    Overall, a delicious meal . . . and from what I read above, I'm guessing I just had a slightly off batch of falafel.
  • Post #18 - May 4th, 2017, 7:23 pm
    Post #18 - May 4th, 2017, 7:23 pm Post #18 - May 4th, 2017, 7:23 pm
    Mr. Falafel has changed its menu, as we discovered this evening. The owner has added some American items (hamburgers, Philly cheese steak [!], chicken sandwich, etc.) and replaced rice with french fries. They've also removed the so-called entrees that were served with soup, rice, salad, and torshi. Now sandwiches rule, plus some "chef's specials," which do come with some of the sides, but no soup. No more Buffalo or bbq shawarma or chili fry. However, the good news is that their best dishes remain on the menu in some form. We asked for the old entrees (take-out), and as "old customers" were obliged; the fries were packed on top of the meat like some version of the favored Chicago-style hot dog, although the pita was separate. We got their lentil soup and a big tub of torshi too with our kefta kabob and chicken shawarma. Everything tasted as it always has--delicious--and still came in very generous servings. Even the fries were way better than we expected. They also now advertise that they use Halal meat.

    The change seems very recent, so I don't think the new menu has shown up online yet, but it has been printed. Perhaps if you call using the old menu, they'll honor it for you as did they for us.

    They are still closed on Tuesdays but open otherwise 11 am-8:30 pm, 7:30 pm on Sunday nights.
  • Post #19 - May 3rd, 2019, 4:19 pm
    Post #19 - May 3rd, 2019, 4:19 pm Post #19 - May 3rd, 2019, 4:19 pm
    Veg combo plate, crispy falafel, creamy hummus plus = lunch.
    MrFP2.jpg Veg combo plate


    Mr. Falafel, count me a Fan!
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow

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