Jan. 30 -
Russ and Daughters - 179 E. Houston St., Lower East Side
Sesame bagel with belly lox, tomato and plain cream cheese; fresh-squeezed orange juice
Nicky's Vietnamese Sandwiches - 150 E. 2nd St., East Village
Portabello sandwich (without jalapenos), lemonade
Back again (see Jan. 8) to sample some more and to introduce Vince to the wonders of bahn mi. He got the standard bahn mi and loved it. I got the portabello option to try out another option. It would make a great vegetarian alternative, but I found myself missing the ground pork and the Vietnamese ham. Next time, I'll be sticking with the classics. 7/10
Almost all that's on the menu
Hummus Place - 109 St. Mark's Pl., East Village
Hummus masbacha with egg, some of Vince's hummus tahini with egg, mint tea, almond and date cookies
Although I live across the street, I had never been to Hummus Place. The word on it was very positive, the small dining room was often packed at night, and at $4.95 per plate of hummus, it was a bargain. I suppose the problem was that although I enjoy hummus when it’s available, it’s never struck me as something I would want to have as my main dinner. How wrong I was.
Israeli-owned and popular with Jews (this along with the Holy Land Market are making St. Mark’s between 1st and A a bit of a Hebraic enclave), this hummus is unlike the varieties I’ve experienced at Greek restaurants. Though to be fair, it’s unlike any other hummus I’ve had before. For one thing, it is practically the only thing on the menu (there’s also a salad, a soup and cookies, but those are more to complement the main attraction). Also, the hummus comes in three varieties – foul (with fava beans), masbacha (with chickpeas) and tahini.
Vince and I essentially split the tahini and masbacha, enjoying the subtle but distinct contrasts the choices provides. Both were undoubtedly nutty and creamy, swirled with olive oil and topped with a sliced slow-cooked hard-boiled egg. However, the mosbacha had a softer pea center whereas the tahini had a consistent texture throughout. Even without trying the third option, I feel I can say with confidence that I would’ve been very happy with any of the three.
On its own, the hummus would have been quite wonderful, but it was only improved by the unequaled pita. Aside from the stupendous naan at Khushie (see Jan. 16 and Jan. 31), I can’t remember when I’ve had bread this good. It was so light and fluffy that I thought the secret ingredients might have been clouds. It had no problem matching the lofty quality of the hummus.
Finally, Vince and I finished with the almond and date cookies, three small morsels that weren’t particularly tasty or memorable. They were anticlimactic if anything. Hey, Hummus Place, how about adding a dessert that can match the rest of your menu?
Of course, their response may be that they only want to focus on hummus, and that would be fine with me. Because now when I walk down my block and pass Hummus Place, I only see one more great reason to love where I live. 9/10
From New York to Costa Rica to Europe to California: 365 Days of Dining Out
- Name: Lonesome Hero
Sunday, January 30, 2005
Jan. 30 -