Editor's note: Every week, we'll spotlight a culinary treat found around Dallas-Fort Worth — whether it's a new opening, a dish at a restaurant, or a grocery find.
Dish: Falafel pita sandwich
Location: Kabobi Fresh Express, Richardson
The need for good falafel in Dallas-Fort Worth remains strong, and Kabobi Fresh Express has the goods. Located in a former Arby's at 526 W. Arapaho Rd., Kabobi is a fast-casual spinoff of the like-minded Kabobi Mediterranean, a full-service restaurant serving fresh, high-quality Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes with Persian, Arabic, Afghani, and Greek influences.
Owner Amir Omar opened Kabobi Mediterranean in 2015, in the same Richardson Heights shopping center where Alamo resides, where it has thrived with its menu of kebobs and also unique dishes like beef and split pea stew, and fried eggplant topped with thick tomato slices and yogurt.
Seeing what he felt was a need for the cuisine to be more readily available in a take-out option, he opened Kabobi Fresh Express in 2017.
"Three years ago I wanted to do this, but my partner and I decided it was wiser to buy, rebrand, and upgrade Kabobi Fresh Mediterranean," Omar says. "We now have the highest Yelp rating in local Mediterranean as well as three years' worth of Richardson Living's "Best Bites" awards in ethnic and vegetarian fare."
Both restaurants use fresh ingredients only, never frozen, and their meat is Halal, which draws an audience of its own.
At Kabobi Fresh Express, they've boiled down their full-service restaurant offerings into three simple choices: bowl, wrap, or traditional sandwich with beef or chicken kabob or falafel.
Their falafel is pretty much perfect. It's shaped like a disc, about two bites each, with an exemplary contrast of textures: crunchy brown on the outside, moist with a nubby texture inside. The interior is green; they mix fresh cilantro into their mix which also includes parsley, bell pepper, and puréed chickpeas.
They also do a fabulous samosas appetizer, made with wonton skins, light and crisp, not greasy at all, filled with a tasty mix of mashed potatoes and peas.
Their falafel pita sandwich has five falafels, along with a veritable salad of Romaine, cucumber, tomato, red onion, and red bell pepper. The vegetables are diced to the right size that makes it easy to eat and about as fresh as you can get. Every restaurant says its ingredients are fresh so it becomes a kind of cliche, but the freshness at Kabobi was noticeable.
The other notable thing is the bread, which is an Iraqi-style samoon they get from an area baker, which has an amusing, one-of-a-kind flying-saucer shape that's wide and narrow rather than the traditional pita round.
But the shape provides a filling-to-bread ratio that's superior to the usual pita experience. Also, the bread was super fresh and so good, you will want to eat the pointed edges that have no filling.
The location is at a weird corner on Arapaho and almost invisible in that even everyday passersby might miss it — but the restaurant would be a plus for any neighborhood.