A new restaurant showed up in October on Third Avenue in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, announcing its arrival right in the sidewalk, where a tracery of Arabic script meaning “end the occupation” and a peace sign are imprinted in concrete. Above the street wall — a grid of windows that slides open in good weather — the restaurant’s mission is written in swooshes of red, green and black spray paint: “Shawarma. Falafel. Palestinian Street Food.”
Ayat is all that and more. Orders to stay or to go are taken at the end of a long glass counter, behind which are displayed trays of whipped hummus, tightly rolled grape leaves, muhammara the consistency of peanut butter from the health food store, taboulleh minced so finely it might have been cut with scalpels, and a dozen other mezze and salads.
In the background are two slowly turning towers of meat, one chicken and the other beef, getting darker and more distractingly aromatic until an order comes in, and the dark patches are clipped off and drop like wool shorn from a sheep.