Food Porn Friday: Hummus Kitchen, New York

Posted on
Feb 3, 2012

I probably shouldn’t have dragged them all that way.

If I had a conscience, I’d feel guilty, but I got rid of mine sometime around the 10th grade, when I let a boy touch my boobs for the first time.

Thank goodness for that. The conscience-ridding, I mean. The boob-touching was less to rave about (teenage boys lack the tenderness that mammaries require).

And so, feeling nary a smidge of guilt, I made my dear friends travel across Manhattan – covering the length of the island both north-south and east-west – so that I could eat hummus.

Yes, hummus. That gritty, unmiraculous paste of garbanzo beans and garlic and tahini.

It seemed like a ridiculously long way to go for bean dip. Especially when you consider that I can find it on any street corner in Manhattan, at any of the thousands of smokey halal food carts that line the city, scooped out in generous dollops onto partially charred pita. I can get it at the grocery store. I can even make the stuff, if I have a spare three minutes.

But it will be nothing like the hummus they serve at Hummus Kitchen (BTW, great name guys. Bet it took you all day to come up with that one).

I first discovered the restaurant on a trip to New York City years ago. It was inexpensive and relatively close to our hotel, and I figured it would be a good spot for lunch.

I shouldn’t have gone that first time. I’d never have known what I was missing. I could have carried on with my days, not thinking about that delicious unctuous tapenade of deliciousness, that magical concoction which they served with whole garbanzo beans on top, drizzled with olive oil and some green sauce which I’ve always gobbled up before being able to decipher what it is (the secret ingredient is either cilantro or leprechauns).

But I went, and my life was changed. I couldn’t go back to the way things were. To that too-sour tub of goop that from Trader Joe’s that I’d been noshing on. To gritty homemade varieties that seemed better suited for grouting tile than human consumption. No. I couldn’t do it.

Since then, I’ve made a pilgrimage to Hummus Kitchen on nearly every subsequent visit to New York. Even if it’s nowhere near my hotel. Even if I’m on the other side of town. Even if I have to drag my poor friends there and did I mention that one of them was wielding a toddler? I MADE HER DRAG A TODDLER FROM BROOKLYN TO MIDTOWN SO I COULD GET MY HUMMUS FIX.

I’m so grateful I don’t have a pesky conscience bugging me, otherwise I might feel guilty. And I’d have missed out on this:

I always get the Mazze trio when I go, with the Mediterranean chopped salad, the bureka, and obviously a side of the hummus. But free will being what it is, you may order whatever you like, and I suspect you’ll be happy. One of my lunchdates got the falafel, which, he noted, was crisp and warm and satisfying, despite looking a little bit like cat turds.

I shouldn't have made that crack about cat turds. It's now all you can see, huh?

If you go, ask for a side of the spicy green salsa on the side. I don’t know what’s in it, either. Based on the addictive nature of it, I suspect some of the ingredients would cause you to fail a drug test. But I’m just speculating.

This photo is out-of-focus because I refused to stop eating while I took it.


Or perhaps you shouldn’t go at all. Because Hummus Kitchen will ruin you. You will think of it often, and all subsequent trips to New York will require a stop at one of their not-at-all-convenient locations. And you will sit, and eat, and wonder how you can go back to the life you once led, and then you will realize, somewhat horrified, that you can’t.

And so you order another side of hummus.

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