Although it can hardly be called classically French, the food at L’As du Fallafel (34 rue des Rosiers) in the Marais has been drawing crowds since 1979. I’d never made the pilgrimage to the fiefdom of falafel, much to the shock of my co-workers. On Thursday night, however, they were in the mood for falafel, so off we went. While there were a few other falafel restaurants on the same street, L’As du Fallafel (it has two l’s in French, one in English) was the only one with a line outside the take-out window. The name means “The Ace of Falafel” and is pronounced “lass due fah-lah-fel.” Their slogan is toujours imité, jamais égalé (too-zjoors im-e-tay, jamez ay-gal-ay), which means “always imitated, never equaled.”
Our group of ten was urged to eat in air-conditioned comfort, and after a short wait we were seated inside at diner-style tables. The menus were superfluous as we all ordered the falafel. I didn’t even know what I was getting. A pita arrived over-flowing with hot filling. The classic Israeli falafel served at L’As has small, deep-fried balls made up of ground, spiced chick peas with red cabbage and a yogurt-based tahini sauce. I must say that every mouthful was delicious and the cost with a mango juice was only about 10 Euros.
I’ll definitely be back, but I think it would be even more pleasant to carry the falafel to the nearby Place des Vosges and enjoy it outside as there was absolutely no ambiance inside the restaurant. The owner even turned off the TV set when it was clear that some of the members of our group were starting to pay attention to the match between Italy and Spain, which would slow down the turnover for our tables. Rather tacky, I thought, for a self-proclaimed ace establishment. Don’t invite us in to enjoy the AC and then chase us out.