We recently praised the pitas at Batata, a vibrant Israeli café on the western side of Windsor Terrace. And word has most certainly caught on; on our last visit, the petite space was packed with acai berry smoothie-sipping moms and dads toting their stroller-bound hordes; the early lunch rush only occasionally thinned by an escaped youngster, taking unbridled pleasure in locking and unlocking the doors.
That said, September’s back-to-school migration should add a bit more urgency to the proceedings, leaving only the fortunate few to linger over plates of schnitzel and waffles, while the rest of us are compelled to guzzle our food on the go. But instead of defaulting to the standard morning deli repast of bacon, egg and cheese (just say BEC; it shaves off precious seconds), consider Batata’s equally portable malawach, a flaky Yemenite pancake, made from buttery layers of fried dough.
Although Israelis occasionally drizzle them with honey and treat them as dessert, paratha-esque malawach are served in the more traditional, savory fashion at Batata, offered as part of an all-day breakfast, lined with bulls-eyes of hard boiled egg. Flipped over like fat omelets, they’re more of a knife and fork pursuit for the luckies loitering at Batata, but for office-bound transients, they’re nudged into easy to eat rolls and cocooned in foil for consuming burrito-style, and dipped—if you’re especially dexterous—into accompanying canisters of grated tomato, and the cilantro paste called schug. For the same price ($7), you can alternately order your malawach stuffed with runny tufts of scrambled egg, or better yet, scrambled egg, spinach, and salty, barely-melted pebbles of squeaky halloumi cheese; it’s kind of like a gooey, hand-held spanikopita.
So if your back-to-school or work slog inevitably involves BEC’s at the corner deli, consider disrupting your routine with Batata’s sumptuous Israeli malawach—provided you can convince certain underfoot ruffians to let you through the doors first.
3021 Fort Hamilton Pkwy, Windsor Terrace