I like falafel, fried balls of ground chick peas with spices, but it hasn’t been one of my favorite dishes. That’s until now, and my discovery of the Amsterdam Falafel Shop, a recent import that’s already in Washington D.C, Boston and Dallas. Highly reviewed, it has appeared everywhere from USA Today and Grub Street to Food and Wine and others. In their two Miami shops, on Washington Avenue in South Beach and Sunset Drive in South Miami, they focus on only two dishes — falafel and Frieten, french fries the Belgian way, as in twice fried. While you’re in South Miami, it’s worth checking out a new bakery and lunch spot and a boutique selling clothes from Ibiza.
When I was in Orlando during Hurricane Irma, getting my household tips you read about earlier from my Middle Eastern host, I learned about what makes a top notch falafel: a grainy yet fluffy texture (never a puree) and a just fried crisp crust.
The falafel here fit the bill on both scores. You can have it in a bowl that you fill up with toppings, or in a sandwich on a pita bread.There are more than two dozen toppings and sauces, allowing over four million combinations, spicy and mild. The choices are varied with lots of spicy sauces and toppings alongside mild ones. Options include cucumber with red onion, cucumber with tomatoes, red cabbage, crunchy onions, Baba Ganoush (cooked eggplant salad), chickpea salad, hummus, fried eggplant, garlic and parsley, and many pickled vegetables including cauliflower, beets and turnips. No lack of sauces and dressings as well, including hot pepper paste, tomato salsa, tahini, tzatziki (yogurt sauce) and garlic cream.
If this isn’t enough, there is a separate topping bar for the fries. Frieten can be covered with (or better yet dipped in) Dutch mayonnaise, ketchup, curried ketchup, or a real taste treat, peanut sauce.
Mr. W had the pita sandwich and I tried the bowl. Both were absolutely delicious, though the sandwich had a slight edge because of the melding of all of the flavors. The twice fried french fries also got high marks, soft inside and crispy outside. Have a sweet tooth you want sated? They sell virgin brownies (didn’t try those, no room). To wash everything down, there’s a selection of soft drinks on tap.