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Oct 1, 2000 05:01 PM

Karam in Bay Ridge

  • p

Has anyone been to Karam in Bay Ridge? It's kind of a dumpy little place on 4th Avenue near 86th Street, but the shawarma (esp. the chicken) is extraordinary! There are only about five or six tables. They do most of their business through take-out orders. The service is fast and friendly . The food is fresh and delicious. Give it a try if you're in the area and want a quick, yummy meal.

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  1. jim turned me on to karam through his book, and what a find that is. the chicken shawarma sandwich - as he points out in his review there - easily makes it to the food hall of fame. you know, its so good that it beats all hell out of the shawarma sandwich here in london, which is a big surprise: chicken here is tastier than the norm in new york and lebanese cooking here is extremely impressive. there is a balance achieved by the toom liberally slathered over the chicken, the pink marinated turnip strips and the pita that's outrageously delicious.

    i never did bring myself to try the spine - have you?

    1 Reply
    1. re: howler

      My husband really got a kick out of your reply. He's from York, and we're always comparing foods, esp. Indian, where I think you guys have the edge. No, I haven't tried spine or brain either. It's not that I'm unadventurous, I just love the chicken too much.

    2. j
      Joyce Goldstein

      The BEST vegetarian stuffed grape leaves ANYWHERE! I get them everytime I have a get together. Twenty people devoured 48 yesterday within a blink of the eye! I've had the chicken schwarm with the pickles and they are great. But the best chopped eggplant goes to Sahara! I haven't tried much else here yet. Parking is tough tho public transport is good with the subway right at the corner.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Joyce Goldstein

        I share the positive glow of the posts on here. Karam doesn't look like much, but it's certainly a treasure when it comes to the food. Their pureed lentil soup is thick and delicious, the garlic sauce (pureed garlic with lemon and olive oil?) is fabulous with hot bread, and overall, the food here is quite flavorful. Friendly service adds to Karam's charm. I'm still unable to understand how something as craptastic as the neighboring Kabob Factory (a truly appropriate name, given the "fast", generically industrial nature of its so-called food) could last in the presence of something so good.

        1. re: Madame_Peach

          Just to repeat what folks have said here: Karam is excellent. Great schwarma sandwiches, both chicken and lamb. Theyre also known for their brain, but i haven't tried it.

          1. re: Madame_Peach

            To put this in perspective- Kebab Factory is new, Karam has been around for a while. But the menus are different and while I don't particularly like the food at KF, they have some merits over Karam ( though the even newer place next to the car service is better than both of them). Karam makes rotisserie chicken, most other places don't. For some reason, they won't cut the schwarma at Karam without using a piece of pita. No explanation, and I have asked twice. Big deal for me since I am gluten intolerant. Also, I wouldn't suggest eating at Karam- the place is tiny. Bottom line- I don't frequent Karam anymore.

            1. re: carfreeinla

              Karam still has great food though; That's the bottom line. I usually get take out; but if you sit and eat the scene there is a lot of fun. Order a plater, I don't think they put that in pita.

              1. re: Paulomet

                They insist on actually cutting the schwarma on a piece of pita- they would not cut it on a plate. No logical explanation other than "we can't". Really odd I know - I would go back otherwise.

                1. re: Paulomet

                  This thread convinced me to get dinner from Karam tonight- a chicken. It was ok, not great. I think that they are leading the garlic sauce wars though...

                  1. re: carfreeinla

                    Is Mazza Plaza still open on 5th? A seemed to be the old guy from Karam and was very good but its been a fair while since I was there.

                    1. re: jen kalb

                      Mazza Plaza has closed and has been replaced by another establishment- I have not tried it- though I believe that it has been a part of another thread on this board. They had by far the best chicken- but nothing beats a place that is on your way home from the train!

          2. They have the best stuffed grape leaves anywhere - especially the vegetarian ones! Great for parties or just have a party for one.

            3 Replies
            1. re: KingsKetz

              Sadly, Mazza Plaza closed, but it has been replaced by Al-Safa, which might be even better. Their roast chicken is just as good. And also get their foule and their chicken schwarma sandwiches, which are excellent. Al-Safa is definitely in the first tier of Bay Ridge middle eastern.

              1. re: Wet Towel

                Does either Al-Safa or Karam serve their shawarma with laffa bread? To me, that bread makes all the difference in a great shawarma.

                1. re: LostDiner

                  We just tried the rotisserie chicken from Al- Safa and it came with regular pita- as does Karam's. Al Safa gives you your choice of pita or a hero (?) for sandwiches- not sure what a middle eastern hero sandwich would look like....