Friday, November 7, 2008

Pita Joe - For the Schnitzel Lover in You

After having recently traveled to Israel and still experiencing falafel withdrawal pangs, I was excited to receive an invitation to the preview party for a brand new falafel and schnitzel joint in Union Square. The opening party provided a sampling of all the staple menu items from Pita Joe, including falafel, grilled chicken, schnitzel, with all the necessary accompanying salads and sides, and, of course, pita.

Most of the time, when I eat falafel, the inside of the falafel ball is mostly green. This falafel is not – they are the color I would expect a chick pea to be. But they are very flavorful. Most notable is the garlic flavor permeating throughout. I found them to be really good, and different than the typical falafel I’ve found in the city.

Truth be told, I am generally not a huge fan of schnitzel. For those of you who may not know, schnitzel (pictured) is essentially a breaded poultry cutlet, most often chicken. After years of attempting to make healthier choices, I have weaned myself off of breaded menu items and have lost my affection for many of them. But I figured I’d give it a shot anyway. The chicken cutlet is thinly sliced, and the breading is adequately seasoned without being overwhelmingly greasy. I enjoyed this far more than I expected.

I had the pleasure of speaking with the head chef of the restaurant, who is of the belief that his pitas are the best I have ever tasted. I told him this was a tall order to fill, and I’d need some evidence. He told me that he spent several days in Israel at a school studying the art of pita making. I wondered to myself where I might find such a pita university (PU?), and how I might sign up for coursework. He kindly sent me home with a bag of freshly baked pitas for my experiment. And after six trials (for consistency purposes, or course), I determined that he might be right. They were fluffy, with just the right amount of brown crispy spots, and a hint of sweetness. I ate them with ease and I am looking forward to my next visit to Pita Joe to alert the chef to my findings.

Pita Joe - 2 West 14th Street, 10011

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