Maybe I’m still holding everything in comparison to Texas, and maybe it’s unjust to do so, but South Berkeley is seriously the hole-in-the-wall haven. It’s like the folks here just woke up one day and decided hey I’m gonna swap out the sofas downstairs for some huge stoves, place in a few tiny tables and a few tiny chairs against the walls, and maybe an umbrella out on the pavement for style, a receipt printer, a sign that says “Cash only”, and a drink dispenser (or water pitchers). Voilà, mon restaurant! Or in this case, more humble and descriptive, Razan’s Organic Kitchen!
The wraps take center stage on the chalkboard menu, and the snugly enclosure doesn’t invite a serious course, so we opted for two wraps. The veggie one, named Egyptian (did Egyptians not eat meat?), came out as soon as we filled our water paper cups.
As far as content goes, I didn’t expect much from a package of falafel, hummus, tomato, cucumber, lettuce, and tahini (sesame paste) wrapped in wheat tortilla, which isn’t really different from pita. But the package did surprise me with its freshness and harmony. Tomato and hummus made it a bit runny, but the lettuce crunch was a perfect complement for the falafel’s meatball-like texture. I’m not sure if the falafel was made Egyptian-style with only fava beans, but it is the distinguisher between the veggie Egyptian wrap and the other nine veggie wraps (Jerusalem, Lebanese, and less regional names) on board.
The meat wraps are three fewer than the veggie ones. The three main choices are chicken, beef, and salmon, in increasing order of price. Being in the safe mode that day, I went for the beef shish kabab, with roasted vegetables, brown rice, hummus, sumac and parsley. Every bite strikingly resembled a steak burrito from Chipotle. Not bad, but not wow-enducing either. Rice falling out from all sides is not a pretty sight.
They were big, tight wraps. The stuffing was as compact as the place itself. Even so, putting together the size, the taste, the ingredient freshness, and the location, $7.95-$12.95 a sandwich log is still a steep edge. I know I should support free range chicken and grass fed cow yada yada, but we students have to support ourselves too.
Address: Razan’s Organic Kitchen
2119 Kittredge St
(between Fulton St & Shattuck Ave)
Berkeley, CA 94704
Neighborhoods: UC Campus Area, Downtown Berkeley