Mexican and Israeli Food? At This New Eatery They're a Match Made in Heaven

Falafel Taco in Pleasantville is bringing two popular cuisines together.



Photo by Kayla Garritano

In recent years, Westchester has seen a spike in Middle Eastern restaurants and Mexico taco joints. Dynamic husband-wife duo Jonathan Langsam and Rosie Hernandez have taken the popularity of both to a whole new level with the opening of Falafel Taco, a fast-casual “Mex-Raeli” restaurant (that’s Mexico and Israel, in case you weren’t sure) that opened in Pleasantville in April.   

“When one of our girls became vegan, I wanted to figure out things for her to eat that I could make at home for her,” explains Langsam, a chef, who was making falafel and bread in his home kitchen. At the same time, he was entertaining ideas for a new restaurant. “We started to think about what our concept would be. Should it be just falafel? [Should it be a] taqueria?” It was during that thought process that one of their three daughters, Andrea, gave them the idea to combine Israeli food with Mexican food and create something out of the ordinary.

“We started cooking at home, and we always invited our neighbors to try our food,” says Hernandez. “Whenever we have a celebration, I always bring my guacamole. It’s become tradition that when I come over, I have to bring the guacamole.”

That had to make the menu, says Langsam. “We make a Mex-Raeli take on the recipe, which is avocado hummus. It’s really guacamole, but mixed with this Israeli condiment called zhug [an herb hot sauce] that originated in Yemen.”

 

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Langsam, a third-generation Jewish-American, puts his own spin on family classics. “My grandmother would always make brisket. I’ve embellished her recipe a little bit and I call it Ma Betts, because her name was Betty.”

Also on the menu: an interesting spin on a classic chicken-mole burrito, a blend of about twenty-five different ingredients, wrapped in laffa bread instead of a tortilla. Another unique dish is the chicken-schnitzel taco, made with thin chicken cutlet, French fries, Israeli salad, hummus, and tahini sauce. Falafel can be made with classic chickpeas or out of black beans. Bowls start with a base of brown rice, Israeli couscous, or quinoa. And a Mexikale salad blends kale, queso fresco, black beans, and couscous.

Of course, Falafel Taco makes sure to have plenty of vegan options and an atmosphere that’s family-friendly. “We had customers come in and say their families make Mexican food, but they’re Israeli," shares Hernandez, nothing that mixing cultural flavors is something many people relate to. “It's a combination of cultures, and I love it.”

 

Falafel Taco
30 Wheeler Ave
Pleasantville
914.579.2526

 

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