Price Point: $7 for falafel sandwich
The gulf between great falafel and the majority of dreck passed off as the bonafides is so wide as to make you wonder if wannabes should bear the same name. In the real deal camp, you have golden browned-hued spheres encasing a tender and well seasoned center of chickpeas, while the other side offers unsightly brown orbs that are either crunchy, bland, greasy, or some combination of all three.
Obviously Mizrahi Grill (215 Skokie Valley Rd., Highland Park; 847-831-1400; mizrahigrill.com) stands on the great side, or I wouldn't be wasting your time. But let's continue this exercise, because the differences between the exceptional falafel sandwich and the terrible don't end there. Mizrahi's pita is warm and pillowy soft, lightly speckled with well-worn makes from the oven. Bad pita is stiff and cold, breaking into pieces if looked at the wrong way.
It's almost unfair to speak of the toppings. Most falafel gets nothing more than limp lettuce, tired tomato, and some kind of white sauce. Mizrahi rolls out the carpet, packing each pita with creamy hummus, vibrant Israeli salad, crunchy cabbage salad and pickles, and puffy fried potatoes. You can gild the lily, if you so desire, with some tahini or hot sauce. Regardless, it’s easily one of the best falafel sandwiches you can find in all of Chicagoland.