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The Hummus Bar and Grill: A Taste of Israel in Tarzana

Posted By Karen Young On June 6, 2010 @ 11:29 pm In Cuisine,Dinner,Eat,Featured,Food,Israeli,Lunch,My Daily Find,Restaurants,spotlight | 3 Comments

BY KAREN YOUNG

The 818, particularly Ventura Boulevard west of the 405, has become an epicenter for Middle Eastern cuisine (Israeli, Persian, Armenian and Lebanese). There’s a plethora of restaurants serving various kabobs and hummus — each prepared a little differently.

There are six choices of hummus which could be a meal in itself. Photos: Karen Young

But there’s only one restaurant where hummus (a middle eastern staple) is the specialty of the house — The Hummus Bar and Grill — an Israeli restaurant that opened in 2006, but was turned over by new owners who made many changes in the menu and the restaurant’s design. The Grill refers to the large selection of meat, chicken and foie gras plates.

This casual eatery recently went through some renovations and doubled in size with a stocked bar, a private room and plentiful tables inside and out, in addition to counter service where you can see fresh laffa (a flat bread) being made in front of you. A mural of Tel Aviv, which previously gave the eatery an earthy feel, has been replaced with a sleek, modern design.

Sandwiches with laffa or pita are not listed on the restaurant menu, so ask for the delivery menu. Pictured above: Shwarma in laffa.

The moment you sit down, a server in a black tee will bring hot, soft laffa straight from the oven, accompanied by three small bowls filled with olive and pickles, marinated cabbage and a tomato salsa. The laffa basket is never empty and refilled for free as many times as desired.

There are six selections of Hummus, which made of mashed chick peas, tahini (sesame paste), olive oil and lemon. Order it the traditional way with tahini. Kick it up a notch with garbanzo beans or pine nuts. If you are hankering for a heavier dish, try it with mushrooms or beef. On Saturday and Sunday, Hummus with Fava Beans is offered, served with a hard-boiled egg and lemon garlic sauce. Prices range from $6.99 to $9.99 with portions on the larger side.

Fresh, hot laffa is continually served for free. You an even watch it being made.

The choices from the grill range from chicken, foie gras, lamb and beef skewers to shwarma, schnitzel (fried chicken breasts a la chicken tenders, but better), lamb chops, filet mignon medallions, ribeye, porterhouse and more. Prices start at $11.99 for a skewer to $28.99 for the porterhouse. Plates come with a choice of two sides: French fries, rice, red cabbage, white cabbage, steamed vegetables, mash potatoes or salad.

Appetizer salads are constantly replenished but need to be ordered by the entire table. Photo: hummusbarandgrill.com

If you want to go for the real Israeli experience, order the assortment of 12 side appetizer salads in small dipping bowls to accompany your entree for an additional $5.99. The assortment is $9.99 if ordered without an entrée. The catch here is that everyone at the table needs to order the assortment which includes baba ganoush (eggplant with tahini), carrot salad, egg salad, corn salad, cauliflower salad, spicy Turkish red pepper salad, Tabouli and fried pieces of eggplant. The salads are constantly refilled and you can take home any leftovers.

There’s a lot of food to be eaten, so in consideration of your waistline and wallet, I suggest splitting an entree, and adding the salad assortment.

Sandwiches made with pita or laffa are not listed on the regular menu, but are available on the delivery menu, so make sure to ask for that as well. There’s a diverse selection, and they can get really large if you order rolled in a laffa.  Choices include falafel, hummus, schwarma, shnitzel, falafel and kabab.

If you’re still hungry (doubtful), check out the dessert menu with bavarian cream, chocolate mousse or a caramelized banana creme brulee.

The Hummus Bar and Grill can get really crowded at night, so call ahead for a reservation or take a seat at the bar and be prepared to wait.  It’s open  until 3 am on Saturdays and 1 am the rest of the week.  It’s even family friendly with a kids menu.

The Hummus Bar and Grill. 18743 Ventura Boulevard Tarzana, CA 91356-3302 (818) 344-6606 www.hummusbargrill.com
Full scale catering and delivery available.

Karen Young is the Editor/Publisher of My Daily Find. Got a question? Idea? Suggestion? Just want to say ‘hey’? Contact her: karen@mydailyfind.com
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