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Tuesday March 31, 2015
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Middle Eastern on Washtenaw

 

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extensive vegetarian and even vegan options like falafel and mujaddarah.

Recently I headed east on Washtenaw in search of Levantine cuisine and tried three places-one old, one new, and one reinvented.

Open since November in Glencoe Crossing shopping center, Haifa Falafel may be saddled with one of the most challenging locations on Washtenaw: it's too far from the Eastern campus, it's not close enough to U-M, and its facade faces away from the busy street. I feel for all marginal businesses now, but if this one doesn't make it, it won't be because of the food, which is surprisingly good, or the staff, who are friendly, charming, and skilled.

The family-owned shop is the work of Ali Usman, his two brothers, and a cousin. The chalkboard menu is short and smart-just eight sandwiches, four salads, and a half-dozen sides. Usman says that instead of trying to please too many tastes, they are trying to focus on doing a few things well. You order at the counter and eat in a spotless, sunlight-flooded, plainly furnished dining room.

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