Karam, in Lebanese, means “generous.” The owners aren’t kidding. This downtown locale remains my favorite Lebanese restaurant in Portland, and not merely because of the genuinely off-this-planet, out-of-your-gourd grape leaves and sterling falafel. Both in portions and in spirit, one always feels well-served, and in the best tradition of Mediterranean hospitality one always also feels welcome. You can expect the owner to stop by your table personally, affably, to see how you liked the food—he’s not worried you didn’t, because you did. Like all Lebanese fare, Karam is vegetarian-friendly, but I’ll admit my favorite items on the menu are the goat and lamb dishes—in particular the molokhie, a double-platter number where you get to drape the savory-leafed molokhie and spinach across the lamb and rice, just like you would a sumptuous velvet gown onto your own body.
IDEAL MEAL: Split a veggie mezza or meat mazawat sampler, then try out the pumpkin kibbee (a bulgur dish with walnuts), goat bil tfeen (goat in red wine sauce) or molokhie. You’ll roll out the door, rosy from Lebanon’s traditional arak liquor, deeply sated.