Few American restaurants can master falafel. But down in Red Hook a quiet Egyptian who goes by “Jimmy” has opened a tapas bar (Mazzat) serving what he says is the best in the country. When we visited the new eatery on a recent sunny Monday afternoon, its low-lit pews were bustling with locals of all kinds, we ignored the lengthy menu and ordered falafel appetizers, falafel platters and falafel wraps, each with 4–6 small but powerful nuggets, plus a spicy, Middle Eastern take on french fries, tangy hummus and a large crisp salad.
Jimmy won’t disclose the ingredients, but winks when he describes “airy batter that I fry for just a second or two.” He reveals that “unlike the restaurants that freeze large batches over the weekend, I make this twice a day, so it’s fresh and very light.” When we depart, Jimmy hands us a small stash to go. I reach in the small brown bag for just one more.