Please note: I wrote a draft of this article on March 22, 2012 for The Vegan Tourist, and then forgot to publish it… so here it is. It might be terribly outdated…
It’s time to review Hummus Place, a small NCY restaurant chain, which serves Mediterranean vegetarian food. I had lunch at one of their restaurants way back in May 2011, but never got around to writing the review, which is a shame because I quite enjoyed my visit. There are four Hummus Place restaurants in Manhattan, I ate at one of their two locations on the Upper West Side, at 305 Amsterdam Avenue (at 74th street).
At Hummus Place it’s all about the hummus. A staple of vegan diets, hummus is made of water, chick peas, tahini, olive oil, and lemon. At Hummus Place it’s made fresh (as you’d expect) and tastes delicious.
I ordered one of their lunch specials for $ 7.95, and got a free appetizer with my entrée. I chose Tahini, a sesame seed paste, and the hummus mushrooms (hummus topped with sautéed mushrooms, onions, spices and olive oil). It was served with freshly baked, warm pita bread. I ordered homemade lemonade ($2.50) as a drink. The total bill came to $ 11.38 with tax.
I liked Hummus Place not just for the food, but I also enjoyed the ambiance. There’s lots of wood and brick walls, the restaurants are light and airy and clean – not a given in New York City. The staff also didn’t pressure me to eat up and get out (to make room for the next patron), which happens frequently in Manhattan (and is something that all Europeans hate). Good, cheap food in a clean environment, where you’re allowed to linger – that’s an unbeatable combination.
My one (admittedly minor) complaint about Hummus Place is that vegan dishes aren’t marked as such on the menu. Most of the ingredients are listed, with helps, but “spices” can mean anything. I didn’t order any dessert, as it was unclear if any of them were suitable for vegans. I didn’t order any wine either, as the wine list lacked information about suitability for vegans (most wines are clarified with the help of animal products). I was also unsure about the pita bread. Many kinds of breads are made with animal ingredients, and I’m no baker. I looked up recipes for pita bread online afterwards and was happy to see that pita bread is usually made without milk or eggs; but it would have helped me immensely if all the vegan dishes on the menu had been labeled properly.
When it comes to vegan food, details matter. I could have (and would have) spent considerably more money at Hummus Place, if the menu had been clearer about which dishes and drinks were suitable for vegans. So there’s a missed business opportunity for Hummus Place, due to lack of proper information. It’s a shame really, as this is a vegetarian restaurant chain and there aren’t many of those around. Nevertheless, I whole-heartedly recommend this restaurant. Go visit, you’ll enjoy it.
Address: There are currently four locations in Manhattan, I had lunch at 305 Amsterdam Avenue at 74th Street
Opening hours: opening hours are different for each branch. Check the website. The restaurant on Amsterdam Avenue is open daily 10:30 AM until midnight.
Phone: check the website for each branch’s number