Fun with Falafel at Mamoun’s in Princeton, NJ

I have found that one of the coolest parts of writing a blog is discovering who reads it. It’s so rewarding to get notes from readers that they have read a post and it has resonated in some way with them. I recently reconnected with a college classmate who I have not seen in years. She had been following along with Behind the Plates and messaged me with a generously supportive note about my content. A few months later she posted to my personal Facebook wall about an exciting restaurant opening she had heard about and said that BTP should go because it would make a great blog story. Ironically, the restaurant was opening in Princeton, NJ which is where I currently work. I responded with my own excitement about trying this new place out and mentioned it was so close to where I work. I soon found out she also worked right in Princeton. We immediately set up a lunch date to catch up at the new restaurant, Mamoun’s Falafel.

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Mamoun’s Falafel has become a cult favorite in New York City and Hoboken. It’s straightforward, and short, menu is a favorite with the lunch crowd and the late night, post bar hopping mobs. I have heard so many deliciously good things about it that when I found out New Jersey was getting a new location I couldn’t pass up visiting.

The location is right in the heart of Princeton where so many University students and corporate big wigs mingle every day. Snuggled in between 2 other small businesses, Mamoun’s is ready for the large crowds of visitors. On my lunch hour visit the popularity of this restaurant’s new location was immediately recognizable. There were no seats available and the order line was wrapped about 20 people deep. I managed to grab 2 bar-stool seats while my recently re-introduced friend went to place our orders. She was a frequenter of some of the other Mamoun’s locations so I put my full faith in her to order me what she felt was the must try menu item.

She came back with the Lamb Shawarma in a pita as my lunch. Her meal was the falafel platter. My pita was filled with warm, seasoned and thinly sliced lamb along with lettuce, tomatoes and tahini sauce (which is a sesame seed based paste). For those of you who don’t already know, I hate (more like despise) most white condiments. I have to admit when she first came back with the sandwich I was a bit terrified because I didn’t want to turn away the meal she had just treated me to. Believe it or not after the first bite I was hooked, even with the topping of tahini. The meat was tender and the creamy sauce tempered the commanding Middle Eastern spices. I was so happy I gave this meal a chance!

I wish I could have tried more menu items but this positive experience was more than enough to know I will be going back again and again. The other great part of this outing was reconnecting with an old friend. We now both have a new lunch date partner when we want to take a break from our offices. We already have a small wish list of places to try! Lucky for me Princeton has so many that I have yet to explore.

Mamoun’s Falafel has a handful of places throughout the Tri-State area. Take a look on their website for the locations along with their menu. http://www.mamouns.com/

…all for the love of the dish

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