In Astoria’s Middle Eastern quarter, recently rapt with revolution, Duzan stands apart. For one thing, it’s a few blocks outside the traditional Arab enclave, which seems to be pushing north. For another, its décor looks uncharacteristically “finished,” even chainlike, for this part of town, SpiceJunkies observes. But hounds say the food from this Palestinian-run kitchen is tasty, soulful, and far from chainish.
Shawarma, either beef or chicken, is a good bet. It comes with salads, pickled vegetables, and a suite of sauces: a kicking-hot red one, a tart, garlicky green one, and sweet-sour curry-spiced amba, the Middle Eastern mango relish. Hummus, served with a variety of toppings, is supersmooth and alluringly smoky. Duzan appears to shun shortcuts, and it shows. Bread, too often an afterthought, is a strength here, baked to order and well worth the wait. SpiceJunkies deconstructs the shawarma sandwich: “Stuffed with two cabbage salads, tahini and very flavorful chicken, the pita bread was the perfect delivery mechanism. A bit thicker than inferior pitas, soft with amazing hole structure, but solid enough to hold the chicken, sauces and salads without any sogginess all the way till the end.”
2411 Steinway Street (between Astoria Boulevard and 25th Avenue), Astoria, Queens