Waterfalls Cafe, the Brooklyn Middle Eastern on Atlantic Avenue that we discovered a few years ago on Chowhound, was once the Mina or Sripraphai of this place - over-the-top raves, much deserved. We've been going for years.
But starting about six months to a year ago, a bunch of us noticed it was going downhill. Well, in our visits over the last couple of months, we think it's back. And almost as unbelievable as it once was. The salads are breathtaking again - the babaganoush is its smoky heaven of the past, unlike any baba we've had in the states. All the other salads, including the humous and the fatoosh, are again as freah can be. The chicken, which has always been the highest quality white-meat chicken breast (not always the case in many other cheapie Middle Easterns) has been charcoal-grilled and marinated like it used to be - complete heaven. The kibbe, also charcoaled, is to dream about.
So what gives? We've noticed the owner, Waffa, is again almost always there - at least on weekdays. And her mom, Samira, remains the chef. When the two of them are there, which is usually the case, the place ROCKS - the best middle eastern in NYC. When Waffa and/or Samira are not there, the quality falls noticeably. Actually, if Waffa's not there (she runs the place like a tight ship) but Samira is still cooking, the food remains fantastic but the service is terrible. If neither are there, don't bother going - the food is still not what it was in that case, and the service is terrible.
Waffa usually doesn't come in on weekends - well, some Saturdays but almost never Sundays; and Samira, her mom the chef, is in more, but not all, Saturdays, and almost never Sundays. So Saturdays are iffy, Sundays are bad, BUT WEEKDAYS ARE HEAVEN.
Waterfalls' biggest problem, which had been the case even in its heyday, remains: Its store-bought pita, usually cold, stinks. And when we've gotten a specialty bread, like zatar, it's been microwaved rather than baked, which is not acceptable.