The Middle Eastern foods shawarma and falafel are becoming more popular in America. But the place that serves the best in the Washington region has been making them for over 25 years: Max’s Kosher Cafe.
Located on on Maryland Route 193 near the intersection with Georgia Avenue, Max’s has been serving Kosher food since October 1994. The high concept was a fast food kosher restaurant, serving the orthodox Jewish community in nearby Kemp Mill. While it does indeed serve fast food, it is their shawarma and falafel that has made Max’s legendary. When I eat there, I order one or the other. Often both. Both comes either as a sandwich, in a pita, or on a platter. The platter version also comes with a pita, but is a larger portion size.
What makes Max’s special are two things: the quality of the ingredients and the wide variety of toppings available at the counter. These toppings include cucumbers and tomatoes, onions, shredded cabbage, red cabbage, pickled cauliflower, pickled turnip, pickled carrots, sour pickle, hot peppers, and several sauces, and 5 different sauces — such as tahini. You can pick and choose among your favorites, but I just ask for a mix of everything. It is all great.
Whether you order the falafel or the shawarma, everything is served fresh. The shawarma is cut right off of the rotisserie and the falafel is straight out of the fryer. The meat is juicy and tender; the falafel crispy on the outside but moist on the inside. It doesn’t get better than this!
The fast food on the menu — the hamburgers, chicken nuggets, and fries — are quite popular with my friends’ kids. As you would expect, Max’s also has deli sandwiches. I cannot comment on those, as I have never had one. But one dish I can recommend is the Matzo Ball soup. Served piping hot with a large Matzo Ball, it is the perfect meal on a cold winter day. Max’s Matzo Ball soup is almost as famous as their shawarma.
Max’s Kosher Cafe is a favorite lunch spot that I have gone to again and again. I’ve spoken to a couple of my Jewish friends about it, and they also highly rate it. If you want shawarma, falafel, or a good kohser meal, the place to go is Max’s.