NY eats: Hummus Place
In my opinion, the best meals are spontaneous. That way you have no expectations, and you’re usually hungry and stumble upon the most wonderful little places. I knew of Hummus Place, which has 4 locations in Manhattan, since my cousins had eaten there before, but I wasn’t actually intending to eat there.
My mom and I were wandering around on 73rd and Amsterdam when I spotted, below street level, the door to the restaurant. It was freezing cold and we were starving, and ecstatic to find some Middle Eastern food. And talk about cheap!
Lunch special included your choice of hummus plus pita and one appetizer. You could also get a special deal with 3 appetizers.
We ended up ordering the classic: hummus tahini, which was served warm, generously drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sumac, a citrus-y spice.
We requested whole wheat pita, which ended up being the right decision: It was warm, doughy, and chewy, so unlike those flat, tasteless pitas served at most places.
As for the hummus, it was UNBELIEVABLE… honestly the best hummus I have EVER had, Israel included, and I don’t say that lightly. The perfect smooth texture without being completely liquid. The rich, bitter tahini blended with the slightly grainy chickpeas… I’m trying my best to do it justice, but until you experience it, you won’t fully appreciate all that I’m saying.
I also ordered falafel– there were six, perfetly crispy and served on a pool of either cilantro or parsley sauce and tahini. The second my teeth into it, I was in heaven. I hadn’t had falafel this good since Paris this summer. The inside was a tiny bit gummy, but that could easily be ignored. Sandwiched into a hunk of pita and dredged with gobs of creamy hummus, I stuffed my face.
But don’t think that this is all! Quinoa taboulleh was a classic, with the quinoa adding a feathery, light texture.
My mom ordered the most WONDERFUL dish that I’ve never seen before on a restaurant menu, an Israeli dish called Shakshuka– overeasy eggs in a sauce of tomatoes, onions, and peppers.
In the past, we’ve tried baked eggs with mushrooms and breadcrumbs, but they were much too dry. I usually hate runny egg yolks, but combined with the silky texture of the tomato sauce, they bleded into the dish. It was so overly simple, but the kind of wintry dish that warms you from the inside. It would be great over rice, with bread, or even as a pasta sauce. We will DEFINITELY try recreating it at home.
On New Years, we also ordered hummus, labneh (yogurt cheese), and roasted eggplant with tahini from them. Unfortunately, I had already eaten, so I didn’t try them 😦
The atmosphere of the place was great: exposed brick walls and small tables, all concealed and away from the cold. Their salt shakers even had dried chickpeas inside!
To conclude the meal, my mom ordered turkish coffee, which I had never had before and promptly fell in love with. According to her, it was a little watery, but to me, it was amazing: not nearly as sweet as I had been expecting, with a strong cardamom flavor. If I could have this every day, I would become a coffee addict.
So, in conclusion, I would be happy to eat here every day until the day I died.
Upper West Side
305 Amsterdam Ave.
99 Macdougal St. (Between West 3rd St. and Bleecker St.)
109 Saint Mark’s Place