My search for the best falafel in New York continues….

KARAM RESTAURANT, 8519 4th Avenue (between 85th and 86th Street), Bay Ridge, BrooklynI was recently in the far south neighborhood of Bay Ridge. One of the things I love about this neighborhood is that its generally not a destination neighborhood. Most people in New York have heard of it, but unless you live there, odds are you are not taking trips to explore it.

I’m not like everybody else. And I think a friend of mine was a little surprised to see me here when I ran into him on 86th Street. When I told him I was visiting to try some falafel and cheesecake, he was pretty impressed and perhaps slightly confused.

Karam's Sit Down or Take-Out

Bay Ridge has both a large Italian population and a large group of Middle Eastern immigrants. So why not mix the two? I started with falafel, of course. You can find my cheesecake review of Monaco’s here.

Schwarmania

Karam is your typical no-frills Lebanese take-out spot with mouth-watering views of rotating spits of schwarma and skewers of kebab. It seemed like the thing to get here was not necessarily the falafel. Everybody was asking for chicken schwarma or one of their zatar dusted pies. But I was on a mission.

Falafel Sandwich at KARAMFalafel it was.  And after a few minutes I got my sandwich. This was of the wrap style (as opposed to the pita pocket style), which I’m not a huge fan of. It’s messier and the ingredients fall out too easily.

Falafel at KARAM But if the falafel were hot and crispy, all would be forgiven. Unfortunately, that was not the case here. The sesame-studded long oval falafels were lukewarm and dense. They had absolutely no crunch, but instead, a soft mushiness. I do have to say there was a decent amount of flavor, but the texture was a real turn off.

Chicken Schwarma Sandwich at KARAM

But I didn’t want to leave Karam, a favorite of locals, on a sour note. So I did order one of their much-heralded chicken schwarma sandwiches. And it was phenomenal. The chicken was juicy and tender with lots of garllic flavor. I wish the falafel were as mighty.

Turns out my friend who lives in Bay Ridge had never been to Karam or Monaco’s. And this was his neighborhood! Sometimes you need the visitors to show you the way around your own neighborhood. And to tell you at Karam, to skip the falafel and order the schwarma.

Does Karam Restaurant have the best falafel in NY? Their falafel is a grave disappointment earning a 5 out of 10 for lack of texture and depth. But if I was searching for the city’s best chicken schwarma, the grade would be much higher.

KARAM RESTAURANT
8519 4th Avenue (between 85th and 86th Street),
Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
(718) 745-5227
karam1.com
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Category: Falafel

About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

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