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Stuff We Love
Meera Shamma 21 Apr 2017

Wafa’s Express: The Lebanese Restaurant Taking NYC By Storm

There’s a new scent roaming around Brooklyn – one that will have any Lebanese person blindly following it until they find the source, and one that will have non-Lebanese passersby curious to figure out how the smells of spiced lamb and rosewater can merge to become so tantalizing. This is the scent of Wafa’s Express, a new Lebanese restaurant in Brooklyn that is taking NYC by storm.

Image courtesy of The New York Times

NYC is no stranger to Lebanese cuisine. But Wafa’s Express has already established itself as a Lebanese restaurant with soul, something that other takeaway spots are often lacking. The New York Times said it best, “everything here is a little bit more — brighter, earthier, smokier, creamier. The difference is like a washed-out photograph that has been suddenly restored, gaining colors and textures you didn’t know were there.”

Here you’ll find all of your favorite tastes from back home, from the complex spices of Wafa’s lamb shawarma, to mujadara just like your mom used to make, to baba ghanouj and makdous that will melt your taste buds in the most subtly smoky ways.

Image courtesy of The New York Times

In true Lebanese fashion, the sandwiches are affordable (for New York standards, at least), where you can get any sandwich for less than $10. Each sandwich is rolled into fresh pita bread straight from a bakery in New Jersey, and filled with a rainbow of kabees and harr.

The mastermind of Wafa’s Express is Wafa Chami, born in Lebanon where she lived with her family for 16 years before the civil war erupted, until she moved with her family to Queens in New York City. Since then, in 2008, Wafa began selling takeaway Lebanese food from a small shop in Queens, and three years after that she advanced to serving meals in a dining room just blocks away.

Image courtesy of The New York Times

In 2017, Wafa has made her mark in Brooklyn. The style of Wafa’s Express is much like that of other Lebanese restaurants in big cities around the world, where customers place their orders at the counters and wait for their meals at one of just a few tables to choose from. The experience here is different, though, in the kind of way that’s hard to describe, but easy to feel. Short but sweet, a visit and a taste of Wafa’s Express will leave even the most authentically Lebanese person feeling right at home while immersed in the whirlwind that is New York City.