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Middle Eastern and Dutch-influenced Medley
By Luna Lark
Whatever you do, never compare D.C. to New York in front of a Washingtonian. Adams Morgan is not a mini version of the Village, even if hip joints like Amsterdam Falafel seem to capture the same worldly vibe as a Manhattan hole in the wall.
Apparently while the owners were visiting friends in Amsterdam, they encountered many unusual fast food options. Hailing from a country where the likes of Starbucks and McDonald's are most common, the owners realized how much D.C. needed a fast food restaurant with comestibles beyond hamburgers and coffee. Their restaurant accomplishes that mission precisely. If you want a combination of delicious food and controversial art accompanied by a rocking soundtrack open at what most people consider mind-bogglingly flexible hours, then Amsterdam Falafelshop is for you. And even if you don't necessarily seek such a unique melange of characteristics in your fast food joint, you should try Amsterdam Falafelshop, anyway. Their fried, spiced chickpea patties are just that mouth-watering.
The menu is simple, straightforward, and, while not cheap, reasonably priced considering the food's high quality (about $10 per person). Your options include a fresh falafel sandwich, fries, a brownie, and a soft drink. They prepare the falafel right in front of you so you have no doubts about how long it's been sitting in the depths of the kitchen, as you might at certain other restaurants. In two to five minutes, that Middle Eastern pea baby is yours, hot and flavorful.
The true highlight of eating at Amsterdam Falafelshop, however, comes with perusing their delectable garnish bar. If you can sanely imagine topping off your falafel with something delicious, they have it-at no extra cost to you. Think you might want pickles? Check. Salad goodies? Check. Middle Eastern sauces? Check. Dutch sauces? Check. In fact, there are twenty-one yummy and sophisticated choices total. Heck, if they let you, you could make a meal out of what's available at their garnish bar alone. Whether you want traditional Dutch mayo, homemade peanut 'saus,' ketchup, malt vinegar, or Old Bay seasoning, your fries are covered, too. At Amsterdam Falafelshop, you never have to worry about eating bland anything.
There is only one minus about this otherwise utopian falafel pad, but it is tolerable and easily remedied. The restaurant offers very limited seating space. Yet Adams Morgan is usually happening enough that you probably don't want to stay in any one place too long, anyway. Grab your falafel and either scarf it down while bopping your head to a tune or two, or immediately get out after picking up your food and experience an alternative to suit-wearing Washington. Pop into a near-by art gallery or find out which local band is playing which bar. But if you do manage to find a table in Amsterdam Falafelshop (probably during a weird hour), you might enjoy studying all of the art on the walls. Their risque mural and foreign posters nicely complement the eclectic feel of this falafel-and-fries haven, just proof that you can have good eats and a quaint atmosphere all at once.