There are tons of fast-casual Mexican joints around, and you could probably find a quick gourmet burger within a few blocks no matter where you are in NYC. When it comes to Mediterranean cuisine, though, the options aren’t so clear-cut; most likely, you’re choosing between a sit-down restaurant or a falafel shop. But Mirage Kitchen (455 Park Avenue South; 212-206-1214) serves inexpensive Middle Eastern eats in a hurry.
With two locations and two more on the way, this new chain offers a wide selection of deals for those looking to eat on the cheap. Nearly everything on the menu, aside from the salads, rings in at under $10.
It’s all customizable, so it comes exactly as you want. Wraps and bowls include fresh ingredients with several protein and vegetarian options. There’s the namesake chicken, fresh breast seasoned with tart sumac and spices. The works is a combination of spiced beef and lamb with roasted pepper, prepared in the shawarma tradition. And then there’s the falafel. Springy and fresh, flavored with tahini and za’atar, it comes in three flavor options: classic, garden, and fiery.
The wraps are just $7.95. Each comes with choice of protein, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and magic white sauce (essentially Mirage’s rendition of tzatziki) wrapped in a pita.
Bowls ($9.50) are substantial. No matter the topping, all are served with heaping portions of meat or falafel, salad, nice rice (a mixture of steamed jasmine with bay leaf, cinnamon, and turmeric), as well as half-sour pickles and spicy peppers.
There are lighter (and cheaper) options, too. Smoothies ($6 to $6.50) are offered in customary and creative flavor combinations like apricot almond, dried fig and dates, and tangerine honey. The sides and spreads also include satiating snacks; look for chickpea fries ($3.50), popcorn falafel ($4.50), labneh ($4.50), hummus ($4.50), and babaganoush ($4.50).