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Falafel House
93 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
Mon-Wed 11am-10pm; Thu-Sat 11am-2am
No alcohol

JUST THE WORDS baba ghanouj rolling off your tongue are enough to warrant repeated visits to Falafel House on East Santa Clara Street, near the corner of Third Street. When the exotic combinations of roasted eggplant, sesame paste, olive oil and lemon juice meet a juicy slab of beef or lamb, you'll be transported straight to the ancient Lebanese coastal village of Byblos, a mural of which just happens to be painted on the back wall at this little gem of a cheap eatery. And Middle Eastern music always emanates from the stereo, adding to the charm of the place.

Lebanese and other Mediterranean delights like fire eggplant all tip the scales under six dollars. For the more adventurous, the $7.99 special chicken, kifta, or pepper-steak plates all include hummus, tabbouleh salad and pita bread. Of the several burrito-style wraps, the huge chicken shawerma option chimes in at exactly $5.83, including tax, and on a good day it'll easily fill you up.

Vegetarians, have no fear, as the meatless wraps are generally a buck cheaper and just as outstanding. The Hummus Delight Wrap is made fresh every day with tahini, garbanzo beans, garlic, lettuce and tomatoes. With all the baba ghanouj cranking out at this place, I wonder: where the heck do you buy the quantity of eggplants that these guys must be going through on a daily basis? Yikes!

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From the October 10-16, 2002 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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