I hadn’t been home for a New York minute before I found myself standing inside The Halal Guys, the Manhattan street food institution now with a shiny new storefront in Dallas. The black and white photographs plastered to the wall showing the original street cart on the corner of West 53d Street and 6th Avenue were enough to give my nose flashbacks of smells wafting from deep fryers that probably could have powered a tour bus.
I just finished living in Astoria, Queens for a year, arguably the ethnic food capitol of New York, where spinning columns of shawarma occupy every other storefront window.
The menu at The Halal Guys is basically shawarma shawarma shawarma. I step up to the counter and order the The Halal Guys’ platter with chicken shawarma, turmeric rice, and the famous white garlic sauce, with a side of tahini. The other option would be a sandwich, which is shawarma and veggies wrapped up in a pita and bathed in white sauce.
The meat itself is pretty good, well seasoned, and it’s semi-finely chopped up instead of shredded into chunks straight off the spit roaster. All this savory deliciousness is balanced with the soft and flavorful yellow rice, lettuce,tomatoes and white onions. The white garlic sauce is good, but not the best or most garlicky version of the condiment darling I’ve ever had, although the server going around to each table offering more sauce is a thing I can get behind.
Better than New York? No. But Dallas got the hookup on garlic sauce, which is a major development. Personally, I’d head over to Fadi’s in Dallas or Frisco before returning to The Halal Guys for shawarma, but maybe that’s just because I’m from Texas and not New York.
The Halal Guys
5444 Lemmon Ave
Dallas, TX 75209