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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Restaurant Review: Layla's Falafel, Stamford, CT

A few months back, Kimberly and I were devastated to find out that our local falafelry had closed.  Since then, Kimberly has been pining for deep-fried chickpea goo and I've been longing for lamb shewarma.  There just wasn't anywhere to go that replaced our beloved Falafel Inn, at least not in Norwalk.

We had heard rumors of a Middle Eastern place in Stamford, so we decided to check it on Thursday, May 19, driving down the Merritt, getting off at the High Ridge Road exit and pulling in to Layla's Falafel, located in a small strip-mall about a mile south of the exit, on the west side of the road.  When we arrived, the small dining room was completely full, with half of the tables pushed together to accommodate a large group, so Kimberly and I went next door and wandered the aisles of Mrs. Green's Natural Market.  Mrs. Green's was crunchy and groovy, with what looked to be a rather nice lunch counter in the back of the store, but we had our hearts set on Layla's, so we kept our attention on the Granddad's Pine Tar Soap (which Ian and I love and Kimberly loathes) and the cereal aisle, where there were oat hulls and wheat chaff in abundance.  Kimberly decided to get some really good chocolate, but we were disappointed that good chocolate doesn't seem to be sufficiently "alternative" to have made it onto Mrs. Green's shelves.

My Chicken and Lamb Shawerma Platter with
Kimberly's Falafel Sandwich at Layla's in Stamford
When we returned to Layla's the dining room was being cleaned up and we were seated quickly.  Kimberly ordered the longed-for falafel sandwich and I ordered the chicken and lamb shawerma platter.  Our server brought the food out much faster than seemed possible and we started in happily.  Kimberly's falafel was very good, flavorful with a nice contrast between the crispness on the outside and the softness of the inside. The falafel was wrapped in a beautifully textured flatbread.  My shawerma was a bit of a surprise, as I was expecting a shawerma composed of both chicken and lamb, but received a plate containing chicken shawerma and lamb shawerma, served over mujadara (rice and lentils), with hummus, delicious and eye-wateringly garlicky tahini dip, and a green salad.  There was a basket of warm pita bread for Kimberly and me to share.  Other than the inconvenience of showing up during what must have been a crazier than usual lunch rush, we had nothing to complain about.  The server was very friendly.  The food was fantastic and the price was moderate.  Layla's also has another location in Fairfield, so we'll stop by there sometime soon, I'm sure.