Best Of 2012: Middle Eastern
Best Of 2012: Hummus
Hummus is like Goldilocks' porridge: One has too much garlic, one's too chunky, another tastes bland. Hussein Abukhdeir's is just right. Savory, smooth and perfectly seasoned, with a little olive oil floating on top, this hummus demands to be eaten. It's not a happy accident. Abukhdeir, who owns the area's two Heart of Jerusalem restaurants, boils his own garbanzo beans, instead of buying cans (whose beans, he says, aren't fully cooked). He peels the beans and processes them in a special blender he bought just for that task. In addition to the beans, he uses cumin, olive oil and "strong" tahini that he ships in from California. "It's my mom's recipe," Abukhdeir says — one that perfectly complements not only pita, but, say, the lamb, beef and chicken in a Heart of Jerusalem sandwich. Abukhdeir adds that he plans to open a new restaurant, but won't say where — fearing that, as in the past, competitors will encroach. — J. Adrian Stanley
The 2011 winner for Best Middle Eastern and Hummus, Heart of Jerusalem is affordable and delicious. Fun blends like the "chikofel" and "beefofel" buck the norm, but it's hard to argue against the $8, shawarma-loaded hummus bowl plate. Baklava mandatory.