My haunts for food in Manhattan are usually below 23rd Street. Once you hit the Midtown and Upper East and West side, I’m utterly lost. There are plenty of places with great ambiance, but not necessarily great food. I don’t really enjoy paying through the nose for what should be a fairly inexpensive dish. However, thanks to the innovations in mobile technology, I can find some places in every section of the NYC island. That is how I found one of the Hummus Kitchen locations.
The Upper East Side location is small, but not cramped. The décor is pleasant and cozy.
MG got a glass of Pomegranate Lemonade ($2.50). I was thinking about ordering it, but when she did, I knew she would let me grab a sip to try it out. I’m glad I didn’t get one. The drink is lemonade, pomegranate, some mint, and a slice of lemon over ice. Simple, right? Only, I don’t think they used enough of the pomegranate or the lemonade. It just tasted like dirty water to me. MG liked it, saying she found it light and refreshing. To me, it tasted cheap.
If an establishment has a particular food in their title, they should make an outstanding example of the dish. This logic led MG and I to get The Hummus Kitchen ($11.95) as an appetizer. The dish is a sampler of sorts with the restaurant’s Chickpea Hummus, Mushroom Hummus, Tahini Hummus, and Egyptian Hummus. Basically, it is hummus with various toppings. It was very good. For a group of diners, this is a “must have” dish. Their hummus is extremely creamy, more so than any I’ve ever had before and while the flavor did not leap out at me, it has a wonderful savory quality. This dish alone ensures that they get my business again.
MG and I both had our favorites, but were not really displeased with any of the options. The Egyptian Hummus is topped with some form of sauteed fava beans. While it was good with the pita, I thought it tasted better when just eaten with a fork. Something about the pita overwhelmed the beans, which were very tasty. The mushrooms on the Mushroom Hummus were probably sauteed with some form of wine (though I won’t swear to that). They went very well with the creamy goodness underneath. The Chickpea Hummus just has whole pieces of chickpea on top with an extra helping of paprika and olive oil. Very savory. The Tahini Hummus… well, you can guess. Creamy Tahini + Creamy Tahini = Creamy Deliciousness.
We had an option of white or wheat pita for the platter. We chose wheat. It was very fluffy and served warm. The dish also came with a green hot sauce. The sauce didn’t really stand out, but adds a nice bit of burn to the tip of the tongue.
MG got a Garden Vegetable Soup ($5.50). She was overjoyed. According to her, the carrots were cooked perfectly. I tasted the broth and found it nice, but a little light.
Their Falafel ($4.50) has a very crunchy outer shell. The inside is not only ground chickpea, but I would swear bits of potato. The shell itself had a few flecks of sesame seed. These falafel are definitely on the larger end of any I’ve had before. They are tasty, but didn’t make me lick my chops. While nice, I would not go out of my way to order this again. The green tahini that it was served with did nothing for me.
The Falafel Wrap ($8.95) was interesting. Yes, I used the scholarly word, “interesting” to describe this dish. First, I think it would have been much better on a pita. I didn’t ask for a substitution since this is my first time and I wanted to find out what their offering had to say for itself. Second, the wrap is dominated by the falafel. That is good and bad. It’s good because in a falafel wrap, one should definitely get their fill of falafel. However, since it was almost ALL falafel, it did not intermingle with any other ingredients. The chopped salad is there, but not in a great quantity. There was barely any pickle, tahini, or hummus in the wrap at all. It was mostly falafel on wrap. If you are enamored with Hummus Kitchen’s falafel, I would say avoid the wrap and just get the appetizer. I think you will be much happier.
Despite me panning some of their dishes, I will definitely be going to Hummus Kitchen again. Their namesake dish is quite a treat. It may not be my favorite hummus, but it does have a special quality. The additional topping they add to the hummus are not something I have tried before, but am very much looking forward to tasting again.
1613 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10028