On hearing the name, some people assume a waffle house has arrived in their midst; others are reminded of the word “awful.” Awful this quick-serve cafe assuredly is not. Owner/chef Alberto Sissi’s shawarma is so good—dripping with juice and aromatic with garlic, lemon, and herbs—that an appropriate name would be Shawawesome.
Sissi apprenticed at José Andrés’s Zaytinya, and the do-it-yourself approach (he even makes the garlic sauce) and precision in many of the dishes can be traced to his stint there. This is about as soulful as simple food gets. We could make a meal of the fabulous hummus, whipped to an airy fluff and bright with lemon.
Also good: Baba ghanoush; tabbouleh; koftaplatter with ground-beef-and-lamb skewers.