It seemed to me that as quickly as the good word rose and spread about the magic of flaky bread and a rabbit-for-two after the opening of Glasserie in Greenpoint, it went silent. Just when I thought I was getting myself organized to try and book a dinner there, the effort seemed for naught. The opening chefs, Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson, were leaving, and when the frenzy over the food was chalked up to their vision, the hype and yes, my interest, waned with their absence.
They did not stick around the Big Apple. The two Sara(h)s made the East-West switch that is commonly seen between New Yorkers and Angelenos. The new opportunity would be a falafel stand in the revamped Grand Central Market in downtown LA, which is now a major foodie magnet and strong symbol of the downtown renaissance. On my last visit to the market, I went to Eggslut, but this time it would be all about Madcapra.
My friend and I hit the stand at what looked like an uncharacteristic lull in the line and both ordered the green falafel in a wrap—”cauliflower, pickled fennel, labneh, cilantro, and mint.” I added a beet-sumac soda, and because I can never get enough labneh, celery sticks with a ranchy version of the thick yogurt.
We both felt pretty swoony about our lunch. For me, the falafel balls, excuse me, cubes, were almost last on my list of why I liked it so much. But to get that out of the way, they were crispy and light with the mashed chickpea interior soft, but not mushy. They were well seasoned and herbaceous, but still kind of plain enough that all of the accompaniments could both shine on their own and enhance the cubes. The cauliflower had been diced, removing any worry about a giant floret toppling out. The cilantro and mint were very present and reinforced the “green” designation. I like the licorice aspect of fennel, but there wasn’t enough of it to offend anyone. There was also lettuce, yes, but despite all the greenery, it didn’t feel like salad wrapped up. The labneh added some binding moisture if anything, and while there was some of the green hot sauce included, I added a little extra. I tasted the red hot sauce but didn’t need to add it. My friend’s wrap held everything together much better than mine because she didn’t unwrap hers for a glamour shot. And that wrap. It was everything. I wish I had now tried the Sara(h)s’ flatbread at Glasserie because the pita that they are making for Madcapra is amazing. It would have been a lesser lunch without that scratch bread.
The celery sticks were celery sticks with a nice, thick dairy dip. Nothing to rave about, but when you’re eating dessert and a constant roster of restaurant meals every day on vacation, you sometimes just want more water-based food. The beet-sumac soda was also a winner. It reminded me of slightly sweet pickled beets. I don’t have the words to make it sound as good as it was.