If you were born in the Middle East, in my case Israel, and came to the United States you will conclude two things about Hummus:
- It is impossible to find Hummus that tastes like the Hummus served in the Middle East.
- When you do end up finding Hummus you think fits the description, it will taste NOTHING like the real deal.
I know I’ll have some American friends that will confront me on this one, but my answer to you will be: sorry folks, unfortunately I am right on this one. Trust me.
In my desperate quest for finding a good Hummus restaurant around where we live, I came across a place with a promising name and bio: The Hummus Place. The hummus place, located in NYC, had two things working for it:
- The owner was from the Middle East, which increases the chance that the food may resemble a long craved taste.
- The menu offered authentic names to describe the dishes.
Wait, you say, anyone can offer authentic names by searching online, and call himself a Middle Eastern. True, which is why I had to search a bit more before going. I found these two videos that put the last nail in my decision to go: A video about their bakery, and a video about their Hummus. I was convinced, and I was ready to go.
There are many places in Israel, and all over the Middle East I am sure, that offer only Hummus in their menu. Hummus Masbacha, Hummus Ful, Hummus Tahini, Hummus Mushroom, Hummus Zachlawee, and the list goes on and on. Every region in the Middle East has its own version, with its own unique flavor. The Hummus Place in NYC offered 4 types of Hummus: Hummus Masbacha, which is a hummus topped with chick peas, olive oil and spices. Hummus Fava, topped with whole fava beans (aka ‘Ful), tahini, boiled egg, olive oil and spices. Hummus mushrooms, topped with sauteed mushrooms, onions, olive oil and spices. Hummus Tahini, topped with tahini, olive oil and spices. It also offered Shakshuka, which I will have to try next time I am there.
For appetizers we ordered falafel, stuffed grape leaves, and roasted eggplants. The falafel tasted very good, and reminded me the type of falafel I grew up with in Israel. The stuffed grape leaves were cooked in a very interesting sauce of mint and yogurt and served hot. It was an excellent choice. The roasted eggplants were excellent, and reminded me a dish my mom makes.
For our main meal we ordered the Hummus Fava, and the Eggplants sandwich. The hummus was delicious! Creamy, and rich in spices and flavor, it surfaced culinary memories from a distant past. The fava beans in the middle certainly added a nice texture to the dish. More than the hummus itself, I looked forward to tasting the pita bread, which was made in the restaurant. It didn’t disappoint! It was better than some restaurants I tried in Israel! Irm’s sandwich was good too. Basically a delicious pita bread stuffed with fried eggplants, boiled eggs, salad, hummus, tahini and spices. Excellent choice!
You didn’t think I was going to pass on desserts, did you now? Of course not, which is why we ordered two desserts: an order of Malabi, and an order of Baklawa. Both were excellent, and worth a try if you ever go there. We accommodated it with a Turkish coffee, and a glass of mint tea. According to Irm, the Turkish coffee wasn’t as thick at it should be.
All in all, Hummus Place is a restaurant we definitely plan to go back to in the near future. The best way to get there is by taking train number 1 (downtown direction) to Christopher St. and walk two blocks from the subway station toward Bleecker street. Look to your left, it is right there.