Restaurant Review: Hummus Place

Hummus Place
305 Amsterdam Avenue
(between 74th Street and 75th Street)
Upper West Side, Manhattan

2608 Broadway
(between 98th Street and 99th Street)
Upper West Side, Manhattan

71 7th Avenue South
(at Bleeker Street)
Greenwich Village, Manhattan

109 Saint Mark’s Place
(between 1st Avenue and Avenue A)
East Village, Manhattan

Vegiboys Rating (2.5/4)

This cool little chain has some very strategically located spots throughout the city: Greenwich Village and East Village branches for the downtown crowd, a (nearly) Morningside Heights location for the Columbia kids, and an Upper West Side spot (very nearby to a Maoz and Soom Soom) that Brian and I visited for a recent dinner.

Though a chain, this is definitely a full-service, sit-down style restaurant. The UWS location is below street level, giving it a nice separation from the outside, and the warm, well-decorated interior adds to its vibe as a hip spot for the neighborhood’s noshers. We were seated quickly, and had a very helpful server who was excited to explain an unknown dish to us (the shakshuka). The menu was pretty simple, but had some nice special deals – a $50 dinner for two included a carafe of wine (though we found ordering à la carte to be the more economical approach if you’re going with any other beverage choices). We took the menu’s offer of 3 appetizers for $10, requesting labane, babaganush, and stuffed grape leaves. For our entrées, we also ordered the shakshuka and an eggplant sandwich.

Lemonades arrived first, and we were a little disappointed with their weak flavor. They weren’t overly sugary at all, which was nice, but the lemon seemed very watered-down.

To our surprise, the appetizers and entrées then arrived en masse, filling the table with plates. The appetizers were all good: the labane served with oil and za’atar, exactly as we would expect; the grape leaves tasty, though unsurprising; and the babaganush wonderfully smoky. We also received a basket with just enough pita to last the duration of the appetizers.

The entrées unfortunately fell flat. My eggplant sandwich was bland and dry, salvaged only by the addition of copious amounts of a hot chutney and the lemon dressing meant for my plate’s small salad. Brian’s shakshuka was monotone, with the stewed tomato dominating a totally predictable plate. We will say that both portion sizes were substantial though – we felt full by the end of our dinners.

We also chose to tackle a dessert each: I went with a decent (though again very predictable) carrot cake special. Brian, however, struck gold in asking for the kadaif. Perhaps best described as a crisp bird’s nest of cotton-candy like strands with honey and vanilla-flavored ricotta mixed throughout; it was unique, delicious, and unexpected. We ate these desserts along with a mundane mint tea and a good Turkish coffee.

At $30 each, Hummus Place is definitely priced as a full-service restaurant, but despite some nice surprises (namely the babaganush and the kadaif), the quality of the food can’t keep up with other options in the neighborhood. Soom Soom provides much better tasting Middle Eastern options, and Maoz can also provide good tastes at a much lower price point. The larger menu is a plus, but without some more depth to the flavors (and despite it’s popularity with the locals) we think the city has much better to offer its urban vegetarians.

Food (2.5/4)

Atmosphere & Service

Value (2/4)

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