A couple of weeks ago we went to Metrotown to see "Up in the Air" (pretty good, but a little forgettable). We decided to go over to Crystal Mall before the movie to check out this Middle Eastern place that I'd first heard about through a Chow Times review. It was a little hard to find, because the storefront actually faces the street.
This place is a real hole in the wall-- 3 or 4 metal tables, and barely enough room to walk around. The feeling is more of an eat and run or take out place. There were pictures of the menu items on the wall, and an electronic bell which rings as you come in. Mr. Abdul himself was there, and he was very friendly.
We decided to go for a couple of shawarmas--I got the beef and Shane got the mixed meat (chicken, lamb and beef, all Halal). They were around $7 bucks each, and were an amazing deal, considering how large they were. They were the biggest shawarmas I've ever gotten and filled with a generous quantity of meat and vegetables. The meat was pretty fantastic, with lots of crisp brown bits. But a bit of warning: the hot sauce is incredibly hot. These Syrian shawarmas are a lot different than the regular kind you'd get anywhere else. The meat and sauce are strongly spiced, which I imagine can turn off milder palates. But we loved it.
We were very full after that huge wrap, but like an idiot I wanted to try Abdul's falafels. Mr. Abdul said it would be a wait of about 15 minutes because he fries them fresh, unlike other places which fry them before hand and nuke them in the microwave. Upon hearing this, we were sold. We got a side of 4 (around $4), and they were worth the wait. These pucks were quite large; they were crisp on the outside, but incredibly soft in the middle. The seasoning was spot on, and the sauce that was put on these babies was lemony and really, really good. These falafels made me happy.
We will definitely come back for more--especially for the falafels. There is nothing that makes a place more perfect than a wonderful, friendly owner who obviously takes pride in his food.