The falafel collaboration with King Tut’s lasts all January.

I remember the first time I ate King Tut’s falafel. The food truck was parked near Marathon Music Works in September 2018; I was there on assignment covering a conference and needed dinner on the go. I ordered falafel tacos: crumbled chickpea goodness with harissa and tahini wrapped in a tortilla. It was a game-changer, so much so that I remember the day more than two years later. It was the first falafel I ate in Nashville that tasted like the real thing, a warm combination of comfort and zest.

Those perfect chickpeas will be even more accessible to me—and you—this month as M.L.Rose Craft Burger and Beer collaborates with King Tut’s, offering an original falafel burger at all three M.L.Rose locations (that would be 8th Avenue South, Charlotte Avenue and 11th Avenue North) during January. This is part of the ongoing Burger of the Month series at M.L.Rose; Chris Chamberlain wrote about December’s popular chicken sandwich with Arnold’s Country Kitchen.

The King Tut’s food truck first started rolling in 2013, using family recipes from the Nile Valley in its Egyptian dishes. It opened a permanent restaurant space in time for the pandemic in March 2020, which thanks to its deck, became an outdoor dining oasis on Nolensville Pike. It also won a Best of Nashville Writer’s Choice Award.

M.L.Rose owner Austin Ray first tried King Tut’s food at a pre-pandemic Brew at the Zoo festival, and, like me, was blown away by the falafel. “For sure it is the best in Nashville and among the best I have ever had anywhere.” Ray had been mulling over a vegetarian option for the January burger of the month — health resolutions and all that — and asked King Tut chef and owner Ragab “Rocky” Rashwan what he could cook up. Rashwan told Ray to bring him some burger buns and he’d experiment. The resulting sandwich includes the golden-fried falafel, lettuce, tomato, classic lemon and sesame tahini sauce, and a cucumber herb tzatziki, served on a baked Charpier’s bun with waffle fries for $11.49.

Ray likes a falafel-beer combo. “To pair with the falafel burger, I recommend Little Harpeth Eagle Scout Kolsch. It is a crisp, refreshing ‘very pale’ ale with a slight fruit character. Bready malts and Noble hops make the perfect balance for crisp, spiced falafel.”

Ray says you can taste that King Tut’s uses high-quality spices and grinds them on-site.

“Falafel is like the original veggie burger,” Rashwan explains. “What makes ours special is the process. We grind the vegetables and load it up with all the fresh herbs and dried spices you can think of. It’s a personal recipe I’ve taken liberties with, but the technique for making it is quite traditional.”

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