Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fantastic Falafel: Max's

Max's Kosher Cafe Falafel Station

Continuing on this week's defacto theme: Jewish delis -- this time a less-hyped closer to home option -- I bring you Max's Cafe.  My Wheaton-based friends have been raving about the falafel sandwiches here for some time, and they tell me they always make this a key part of their eating itinerary when they have visitors in town. This past Sunday I was able to try it out and, wow, were they on the mark with this recommendation.

This cavernous counter service deli and market with white and black checkerboard floors and bright red banquettes is massive. And even on Sunday morning at 11:15am, just moments after opening, the line of falafel-seeking pilgrims was close to a dozen people long. But no need to worry; Max's has this process down. You order your sandwich at the counter and then head over the falafel/shwarma station.

The guys manning this station are no-nonsense, yet playful, busy hand-making falafel so fresh that as soon as it emerges from the fryer it goes right into pita pockets. And that's when the decisions begin -- dozens of pickled vegetables, fresh chopped cucumbers and tomatoes, humus, tahini, and more to choose from.  And one more choice before your order is complete: mild, medium, or hot. 

I went with pretty much everything at medium heat and was blown away by this sandwich. Falafel can be dry and usually adorned only with a sad slice of tomato and some lettuce. Not here! The still warm falafel were cradled by the humus, enhanced by the pickled vegetables (including cauliflower and eggplant), kicked-up with finely diced jalapenos, and pulled together in the pita. So flavorful, so filling, so good, and so affordable (at $4.95)!

Max's Kosher Cafe: Falafel Sandwich

Max's is worth the trip, about twenty minutes outside DC. Before you go, know that Max's observes the Sabbath, and therefore is closed Friday sundown through Saturday. And the location is not picturesque -- tucked into the corner of a strip mall off of University Blvd -- but the falafel is fantastic!

Max's Kosher Cafe on Urbanspoon


  1. This place is my #1 go-to spot for good eats in the DC metro area. I've had many types of falafel over the years, but this one tops it. Their shwarma (turkey/lamb) is also very tasty!

  2. I'm sad it's so far away, we don't seem to have any good falafel in NOVA. :(