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Main Location: Minneapolis
With a group of 3 storefronts already under their belt, Foxy Falafel makes its entrance into the Food Truck scene in the season of 2013. Those familiar with the popular café will find no surprise in their Middle Eastern-based cuisine, using many of the same items listed on their non-mobile menu.
As name suggests, Falafel forms the main grace of the menu, standing next to that other Mid-Eastern favorite in the US, the Gyro. A small plethora of other items fill the rest of the menu, from Hummus dip to Greek Salad, from Shawirma to Philly Cheese Sandwiches, Combo Platters, even two burgers (one Lamb, the other “Falafel”).
The menu itself reads much like Holy Land at the State Fair, covered in semi-gaudy pictures of Mediterranean fair with bright blue descriptor boxes hanging below. Lucky for most customers, though, they don’t have to worry about accidentally ingesting lamb testicles at King.
I myself went for that intriguing Falafel Burger. In terms of the namesake, the outer shell was very nice, crunchy and thick without any sense of burning, with a fluffy inside standing up to it nicely. They make the burger much like how one envisions; one larger, flat patty of the falafel; at first I thought they just fried a few and smushed them all on a burger bun, but that was just the big flakes of crispy shell. The toppings, however, all have this feeling of mediocrity; cheap tomatoes and lettuce, basic flat burger bun… tatziki was decent though. When gotten all together, though, it made for a very nice, tasty mouthful; at least when you CAN get it all together, halfway through most of the toppings went in my stomach (see Holdability).
On my visit, they also had a sample tray of their hummus, “spicy sauce” (an oil of herbs and spices, which I also had on the burger, which was nice), and the fried pita sticks used for dipping. Hummus was smooth, very pleasant traditional flavors, a nice enjoyable version. With this and the falafel, one can safely assume many of the Middle Eastern-based items are likely to retain the similar level of pleasant quality.
Other dishes make me highly cautious of not only flavor but their reason for being on the menu: Philly Steak and Chicken, a Lamb Burger which looks like a Mcdonald’s commercial on a bad day, and an oddly unadorned Garlic Chicken. Maybe they’re good, but this sense of odd dubiousness is why, as mentioned in Motley’s review, I rarely if ever suggest grabbing Philly Steak sandwiches from ANYWHERE outside of the actual city.
Highly variable depending on the item. The Falafel Burger I got, even with a solid foil wrap around its base to hold, was quite the messy beast; not to mention I basically consumed all the yogurt and tomatoes in the first half of eating, leaving the latter just falafel, bun, and lettuce. Regular Falafels and Gyros are of course going to be very easy to on-the-go, though it seems they may pack them with sides of sauces and possible other things. Then there are the salads and platters, which are likely to hang in the category of “take it back to the office/park/etc.”Then there are the spreads, set in the side of a to-go box with Pita Sticks to dip, sort of in the middle for walkability. As I believe the real focal point of this long menu centers around the falafels, gyros, and possibly burgers, I’ve made the choice to score them slightly higher than mid-way.
Easily one of, if not THE, best point. Entreee items range from $5-$9, and that’s only due to the $9 combo plates. Most sandwiches stay around the $7/$8 range. An extra dollar can be added for sides of Fries and Rice, though considering the type and quality of place I would highly recommend steering from either (much better fries in other trucks), so I don’t even count it. Two Baklava desserts are also offered at $2.75.
Also highly variable and dependant. Gyros are likely to be particularly quick along with salads, spreads, and other pre-made products, while the falafel and burgers can be a while. The Falafel burger took a noted amount of time.
The TOE: 4
Though many of the main items fit the “street food” mantra pretty well, it’s difficult to visit here without one feeling that they just walked into the actual Mid-Eastern café. The menu simply has too many items on it, and though pictures of the food could be a nice addition if done right, here it just feels tacky and exponentially grows the “Café” feeling.
Which is really disappointing, as I actually like the idea of the “Falafel Burger;” unintentionally (one can’t help but feel this was created in the restaurant as another menu item, with little to no thought towards the actual Truck), I believe they have introduced an amazing concept for a unique Food Truck item. A traditional dish molded into the form of another local favorite which has proven to hold a high potential for handheld street eating. Sad to say, though, their version could really use a lot of improvement, and does not illicit near the levels of excitement as the original idea.
If they were to probably fix this item to a more holdable and flavor-focused (again, it’s still very good, but maybe a few titches in size, spice, and toppings) version, along with scaling down the extensive menu to purely Street Food-Accessible items (seriously, ditch the salads and combo platters… also that philly sandwich, don’t see what that has to do with Mid-Eastern fare), they could quite easily be transformed into one of the better trucks in the city. Not to mention actually pose a chance at actually competing with Foxy Falafel (sorry, had to bring them up at least once in this review, and I wish I could have done it on a more positive note).
If in Minneapolis for lunch and craving for that Mid-Eastern style, this is a good Truck to stop by. Any Money-concious foodie would find a lot of delight in the Falafel Burger, so long as they don’t need to eat while walking. The simple, traditional items are the best to focus on outside of this: Falafels, Gyro, and Lamb Burger, even the Hummus and Baba Ghanoush if one wants to walk and dip.
As for anything else, I wouldn’t even consider it unless one already planned on bringing food back to someplace they can sit down. Even at that point I’m unsure this is the best location (though the Combos offer a good way to try multiple aspects of the menu). Overall, though, after trying the mains, I would suggest not even bothering with the Truck until they take actual steps to improve their Street Food focus.
Something tells me some readers may not let me leave here alive without doing this, so here it goes: Foxy vs King, Falafel on Falafel, my suggestion. It’s very close (prices are the same), but here are my thoughts: King’s quality of Crunchy Outside and Fluffy In is probably a bit higher than Foxy’s, however Foxy truly delivers the effort in creating 3 separate, very quality flavors. In terms of the basic falafel, Foxy’s stays on the lighter, fresher herb-focused flavors, while the traditional, cumin-based spices come out very noticeably in King. As such, I would point one to King when looking for the pure, simple, traditional flavors and style Falafel, King edges out Foxy’s just a bit. On any other kind of experience, most Foodie’s would agree, Foxy clearly outshines the competition.