Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Syrian Cuisine at Kareem's (Boston, MA)

When Wandering Chopsticks was visiting me in Boston, she heard about this Syrian restaurant that was only open on weekends that you need to have reservations to go to. The only time we could go was right after a full day of eating lobsters in Maine, so I wasn't really up for a full dinner but she really wanted to go, and I had just read about this Syrian dessert called kanafeh (or kanafa, kunafe, however you want to spell it) in a novel, The Golem and The Jinni.

The restaurant is tiny, and located in a residential neighborhood in Watertown. Other than the weekend-only dinners, it's only open for cooking classes. 

As with all Middle Eastern meals, we started with a hummus. We tried the Royal Hummus (with beets, $9)

Homemade pita
Everyone was served a salad with pomegranate and spiced with sumac
I wasn't hungry so I ordered the light-sounding Teaniyya (figs and walnuts cooked with chickpeas and herbs, $25)
Quite good, the flavors subtle.

Chicken Tajin, cooked with spices and herbs, cranberry, almonds, rainbow carrots ($25)
The chicken was pretty tender, even the white meats. I'm noticing a pattern with a sweet fruit added to most of the dishes here.

Lobster with glazed peaches ($32)
Can't believe Wandering Chopsticks still wanted MORE lobster! This was pretty nice though. The combination of the lobster meat with the warm, sweet peaches was unusual.

Kibbeh (ground lamb, onions, spices, pine nuts between layers of lamb and bulgur, $25)
I like lamb, so what can I say, this was my favorite of the entrees. I also thought it had the boldest flavors compared to the others. I particularly liked the addition of the pine nuts.

And then .. my long-awaited dessert: Kanafa (unsalted cheese layered with fine phyllo pastry, baked and topped with homemade orange blossom syrup, $13)

I would come back for this. In fact, I am definitely coming back just for this. This was perhaps the most memorable dessert I had this year. I love the warm, soft cheese, sweetened by the orange blossom syrup. The crunchiness of the baked phyllo. This was so good!

As far as Middle Eastern food goes, Kareem's price point is pretty high, but I enjoyed my dining experience. The quality was also better than most and the owners were really friendly. That kanafa though ... that alone is worth getting a reservation for.

Kareem's Restaurant
99 Common St
Watertown MA 02472
(617) 393-1880
Kareem's Restaurant on Urbanspoon



Hey I have been to Kareem's (Boston, MA) several times, when I go to my home in Boston I usually hang out there with my friends and family. Nowadays I am in Chicago and I am throwing my birthday party in one of the best Chicago restaurants.

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