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Lunch for Two Under $15 - Big Veggie Bites at Benjyehuda

By John DiGilio in Food on Mar 28, 2011 7:30PM

The downtown lunch scene seems to present almost endless possibilities. There as so many different styles of cuisines from which to choose and at a rather wide range of prices. Sit down, take out, pre-made, made to order - you can find it all in the Loop. What really sets a lunch spot apart from the rest these days, however, is a combination of good food, great prices, and how full you are going to get for your money. There is, after all, one hell of a recession on. Few places get us as close to a vegetarian food coma for our hard-earned bucks as Benjyehuda.

Yes, Benjyehuda could be called a falafel joint. And yes, we know too well that falafel places are a dime a dozen downtown these days. But not all chickpea balls are rolled - or served - the same, friends. When was the last time you say a falafel as big as your head for under five dollars? If it has been awhile, then we suggest you get over to Benjyehuda soon. Their sandwiches start fairly standard with the requisite falafel balls and either pita or laffa (for a wee bit extra). But that is only the beginning. The menu of toppings is unreal. Choose from tasty options like hummus, baba ganoush, Jerusalem salad, Mediterranean pickles, corn salad, red cabbage and more. Choose a few or choose them all. Stuff your pita and your tummy!

We ducked into Benjyehuda on a busy Friday afternoon. Though the usual lunch hour had already come and gone, there was a line from the counter to the door. We had the feeling something good was waiting at the end of the queue, so we gladly waited in eager anticipation. The meals being eaten around us looked and smelled so good. When it was our turn, we ordered a round of falafels on laffa with everything but hot sauce. Watching them stuff our sandwiches and then try to roll them was a show in and of itself. We were impressed. Even more impressive, however, was the taste. The warm and savory met with the fresh and crispy in a real taste explosion. It was fantastic.

The food at Benjyehuda was also filling. We could not remember the last time we were not able to not finish falafel sandwiches. One of the drawbacks to dining out as a vegetarian is that you are often left hungry. That was definitely not the case here. Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as leftover falafel. It was just as tasty the next day too. So count it. That was two satisfying vegetarian lunches for the price of one. Talk about a score! If you want to fill your stomach without emptying your wallet, we suggest you get over to Benjyehuda and get in line. It is well worth the wait.

Benjyehuda is located at 212 West Van Buren Street.