Like a burnt marshmallow or a Jane Austen beau, falafel's rough exterior belies its inner warmth. Crunch through aloof outer shells with today's Groupon: for $10, you get $20 worth of falafel and Mediterranean fare at Falafelicious in Northridge.
Falafelicious adds modern inspiration to a menu of traditional Mediterranean dishes helmed by a trio of unique falafels. The traditional mix stacks its green split peas and garbanzo beans up against a spicy sundried-tomato falafel's fiery orb, and the golden sesame style incorporates sesame seeds, yellow split peas, and King Midas as sous-chef. Any variety may nestle into a pita ($5.50), swathed in a bed of hummus and Mediterranean salad, or join its companions on a flotilla of three falafel sliders ($6.95), escorted by sweet-potato fries. A fresh pillar of chicken shawarma, like a man on a barber pole, spins around all day and gets shaved on demand. Diners can enjoy their shawarma smashed into a baguette ($6.95) or served on a plate with two sides, ranging from herb-filled tabbouleh to garlicky beet salad ($7.95). For patrons seeking traditional American fare, a grill sears beef, turkey, and chicken burgers ($4.50–$5.95), and honey-drenched morsels of homemade baklava ($1.50) conclude the meal in dulcet layers.
Though the chefs at Falafelicious happily slice chicken shawarma from the spit and bake flaky squares of baklava, their favorite dish to make has always been falafel. They blend together three gluten-free varieties, including the classic version —made from garbanzo and green split peas—and their own recipes—made with sun-dried tomatoes or sesame. Once cooked, the chefs place the crispy balls in pitas, atop olive-strewn greek salads, or onto plates loaded with hummus or tahina.
They don't just make traditional dishes like kabobs, however. The chefs also experiment with Mediterranean twists on American classics, such as falafel burgers topped in hummus and babaganoush, and falafel tacos filled with Mediterranean cole slaw, hot sauce, and tahina. Because they have yet to find a way to make falafels into dessert, they instead bake homemade baklava.