Monday, August 6, 2012
Duzan - Refining Greatness
Last week, I mentioned that I got together with my friends from the Queens Supper Club, as we took advantage of all the after-sundown activities in Little Egypt, centered around Ramadan. All 25 of us feasted on an incredibly flavorful meal at Duzan on Steinway Street, near Astoria Blvd.
Casual and vibrant, Duzan is a great place to visit whether you just want to grab something quick or if you'd like to stick around and dine in. I like the bright orange and green color scheme, inside and out, which makes the space approachable and cheery. Sitting in the dining room is really pleasant too, whether you're with a large group like we were, or just with a few friends, as they have a few 4 person booths as well as a large communal table. Because the space isn't very large, I'd recommend making a reservation if you're with a big group.
Even though you can definitely dine in, there's no table service and you have to go up to the counter to order, which was totally fine with us. While the menu is simple, it's filled with all your Middle Eastern faves such as shawarma, falafel, hummus, kababs and more. We got a little bit of everything and shared it, which was super fun.
Chicken Shawarma Platter - Though the most basic of Middle Eastern dishes, you can't go wrong with it and Duzan's version was amazing. The meat was perfectly seasoned and so juicy. Nice char marks decorated the chicken and gave it more flavor, as did the amazing homemade curry sauce that we put on it continuously. Also really impressed by the sides such as the long grained white rice, seasoned with cayenne pepper and parsley, and crunchy red and white cabbage slaw, we devoured the large portion almost to the last bite. Since the portion is so huge, it's great to share with at least one other person.
Falafel Platter - Another oldie but goodie, I couldn't believe how exceptional the falafel actually was. Boasting a perfectly crispy outside and the softest, lightest inside, each falafel ball was a stroke of culinary genius. Even though they didn't need it, as they were moist on their own, putting the garlicky green house sauce you see above, on top of the falafel made them even more irresistible. The sides remained the same as on the shawarma platter, except for the fries, which were just OK, and not something I'd reorder.
Jerusalem Hummus - The hummus is a general standout at Duzan and sometimes the reason people come here. Formed into a natural bowl, the creamy hummus surrounded its beautiful topping of hot fava beans and fresh herbs, that turned up the volume on any ordinary hummus. Meg commented that she never thought another variety of hummus can be creamier than Sabra, but Duzan's definitely achieves that wish - and then some. The other standout of this dish is the fluffy pita bread they serve alongside it, which is wonderfully fresh, piping hot, and the ideal way to house this creamy bean concoction.
Salads - We ordered two salads, including the Fattoush and the Arabia. The former was the clear standout, as it had a hint of spice to it, and some wonderful crunch from the fried pita bread that served as a crouton of sorts. Aside from that, all the veggies were incredibly fresh and the portion quite generous. I must add that it was quite enjoyable to make a little pita sandwich out of the hummus and then the salad on top.
Baba ghanough - Taking this side dish for the road rather, I got to enjoy it as a yummy left over. Spreading it on pita or even just regular bread, it was nice and garlicky and a little tangy-sharp from the eggplant. Just like the hummus, it was perfectly spreadable, once again a testament to its expert preparation.
Service and Cost:
While the service was a tad slow, that's no doubt a factor of the large group we were with. And despite a little delay, the staff was cordial and totally compensated us by giving us a few items such as an extra hummus and baba ghanough on the house, which was very appreciated. On top of that, we loved talking to the staff, as they revealed the unique story of how Duzan got started and its inspiration, which came from their unique Palestinian heritage.
Costs are very wallet friendly, and for the shawarma, falafel and hummus dishes (plus drinks), we only paid about $21 total. Incredible!
3 loud Mmmms
Duzan - 24-11 Steinway Street, Astoria NY 11103
N/Q Train to Astoria Blvd