Tangiers International - Hartford, CT
My prior experiences with falafel in Connecticut were an underwhelming one at the now-closed Aladdin Halal off the Berlin Turnpike, and an excellent one at Mamoun's in New Haven. I hadn't scratched this particular itch in some time, so I decided it was time for a visit to Tangiers, just a few minutes away from me.
Mr. Stern has taken note of this place before
, and it's changed location since then, moving from West Hartford to Hartford at 550 Farmington. It was a good move, I think. The new building is very spacious, with plenty of parking, and it's nice to see Hartford getting some new eats to its name.
I got a falafel sandwich / wrap / whatever you want to call it, some pita, and hummus. There are tables and bar seating at the back, and tables outside by the entrance as well, but I took it to go.
The falafel was fresh and crisp, and the flavors of its seasonings, which can be easy to lose among everything else in the sandwich, came through. It helped that the tahini wasn't overused. (Tahini is to falafel as sour cream is to Mexican: use it sparingly, lest you neutralize the spices and flavors of the whole dish!)
The pita was among the best I've had, perfectly light and chewy.
The hummus was on the creamier side - closer to, say, Sabra than to Tribe - and tasty enough, but not terribly distinctive.
The market area was almost too roomy; they could have fit in several more shelves of products without making things cramped. The selection was still good, though, and included some kind of braided cheese that I'd never seen before. It looked very, very tempting.
I paid $12 for the falafel, pita, and hummus. I guess a higher price was to be expected, since Middle Eastern food isn't the most common thing around here. I can't help but compare them to Sultan's Market in Chicago, where you can get the same dishes for less than half as much, and it's arguably of better quality - not that Tangiers is bad, but Sultan's is awesome.
For a quick option that doesn't involve me driving down to the New Haven area, though, they're more than satisfactory.