Monday, June 29, 2009

Nate's Deli

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Pizza incites millions of opinions from millions of people. Falafel is my wife's pizza. The bottom line is that even though pizza and falafel are both made of a few ingredients, the subtleties from one to the next can be huge.

Nate's Deli gets a frequent mention as one of Cleveland's best for falafel. After our altruistic misfortune a few doors down, we went to Nate's Deli so Regina could get her fix.

I think the service there is a little too gruff for my taste. I don't know if was because the waitress was in a hurry or it's just the way she is, but I could do without the plate slamming.

Since I had already had lunch Regina went ahead and ordered falafel ala carte with a side of hummus and tabbouleh. Her requests were a bit unorthodox because she didn't want the pita or lettuce that came with their regular platter and she did make sure to request the pickled turnips to go with her falafel instead. These changes left the already gruff waitress to become both a bit confused and annoyed.

All in all, the Nate's hummus there is extremely creamy and tasty. The tabbouleh was "meh", and the falafel were good, but the sheer volume of what was on each plate left her not able to finish them. In the end, she concluded that she probably wouldn't be back. In terms of falafel in Cleveland, her new favorite is Jersusalem Grille in South Euclid (we'll save that review for another day).

Nate's Deli
1923 W 25th St
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 696-7529

Nate's Deli on Urbanspoon


  1. Just hearing about Jerusalem Grille makes me sad. About three names ago, it was called Tiki's 2 Go. They had great falafel. Their shawarma was unusual (in my uneducated opinion) but I liked it. They also had good schnitzel sandwiches.

    Abba's also had a good falafel. I really liked it when they had a little salad bar of condiments but even after that disappeared (why?), it was still pretty good falafel. They also made a great hot sauce called schug. I think I miss that even more than the falafel.

    It's a shame that they're both gone. I had a falafel sandwich at the West Side Market and it was good but I still miss something like Abba's in it's heyday.

    Sadly both are now gone.

  2. I just had the pleasure of dining at Nate's Deli for the first time recently, and I was pleasantly surprised. I had the hummus and a falafel roll, which were both delicious!

  3. I used to go to Nate's often when I lived on the west side and was never a fan of the felafel--it seemed bready and heavy to me. My current favorite is the one in the West Side Market. Another one to avoid for me is the one at Taza, which was very dry. I usually get mine from Alladin's these days, which is decent, but I've never tried Jerusalem Grill even though it's not far away. I'll have to try theirs sometime.

    As far as service at Nate's goes, almost every time I've been there they've been super-busy. The server(s) (I swear sometimes there's just been one for lunch rush) seem to do the best they can for the volume. But it seems like yours was definitely kind of rude.

    The best thing on their menu (if you consider returning, maybe during a typically slow time) is the shish tawook, a garlic chicken shish kebab in a pita. Other places do this as well, but I've never tasted a better garlic sauce.

  4. Stuart - Have you been to Jerusalem Grille? They have Schug - I remember asking the cashier how to pronounce the name and what it was, since I had never heard of it before.

    Ben - I don't care for the falafel at Maha's in the West Side market because they use iceburg lettuce...once you have cabbage with a falafel, I don't think you justify having plain old lettuce to go with it, but that's just my opinion.

  5. I have been to Jerusalem Grille. Once recently and I think I've been there before. The recent visit was disappointing enough that I have a hard time believing they could ever win back my patronage. But it may be worth a trip just to get some schug.

    I know that there are two different kinds. And there was another name for it, too. I think you could use both names for either type of sauce. I was still pretty confused about schug when Abba's closed. I think I liked the spicy red one and not the green one but never figured out how to ask for the one that I liked.

    I can barely remember what I used to do with it. I think I made pita sandwiches with (pre-made) breaded chicken. I think the next iteration should have a runny fried egg, some kind of salad, schug, tahini and decent chicken. I think I'll try to get to a good Israeli falafel shop in New York on my next trip for some inspiration. One of the few things I remember about my trip to Israel was the wondrous variety of condiments at some of their falafel shops.

  6. Is Jerusalem Grill the place a few doors down from Issi's Pizza and Lax & Mandel Bakery?

  7. Nancy - Yes, Jerusalem Grille is in the same strip of stores as Izzy's and Lax & Mandel's at the far end.

    Stuart - If you go to NYC, I highly recommend Taim in the West Village. It is only about 300 square feet inside, which means that everything is made fresh daily since they have no where to store anything from day to day. My wife enjoyed it so much that she went back there two days in a row.