Restaurant Review: Hummus House is a Deli with Cafe-Quality Food and Style
Owner Albert Hechme and his son Anthony at The Hummus House in Allentown with a platter of seven-grain spinach pie (left) and meat kibbe, baba ghanouj and tabouleh salad. (MICHAEL KUBEL, THE MORNING CALL / May 13, 2014)
By Susan Gottshall, Special to The Morning Call
May 22, 2014
The Hummus House in Allentown says it’s a deli on its storefront window, and it behaves like a deli, too.
Hummus House serves sandwiches made with Boar’s Head meats; and food is available for takeout. That’s where the resemblance stops, though.
The five-table restaurant — which serves up great from-scratch fare — feels more like a cafe.
Baskets filled with magazines and newspapers flank the entrance. Free Wi-Fi encourages lingering, and eclectic background music encourages listening. Some of the healthiest plants I have ever seen fill one of the windows.
The charming, homey decor is framed in walls the color of pumpkin, appropriately edged with black. On one side of the restaurant a collection of food photographs whets the appetite. A large floral oil painting anchors the opposite wall, filled with more photographs and prints, too.
Along with deli-style sandwiches, Hummus House offers an array of Middle Eastern cuisine. It has five varieties of its namesake, made from generations-old family recipes.
Roasted red onion hummus and chive hummus ($5.97 each) boasted an abundance of flavor. The latter was layered and sweet; the former, with its mild onion notes, was my favorite.
A deliciously bright rendition of spinach pie ($4.47) in seven-grain pastry included pomegranate seeds and walnuts. Baked kibbee ($4.97) featured a shell of crushed wheat and extra-fine ground beef stuffed with ground beef filling and chopped onion. The gentle character of this kibbee was punctuated by the rich crunch of pine nuts.
Like a spring garden patch, fattoush salad ($6.97) was a study in subtle shades of green. Texture was at a premium in this excellent mix of romaine, green onion and cucumber, with its occasional peek of red tomato. Crunchy baked pita chips added yet another layer of texture.
Too bad for me the restaurant’s rolled grape leaves were sold out by the time I got there. Instead, though, I sampled baby eggplant ($5.97) stuffed with the grape leaves’ filling. These delectable morsels, tightly packed with rice and vegetables, offered layers of complexity, thanks to a tomato-based sauce.
From the deli sandwich menu, I settled on the winning “healthy hero” ($8.97). This sandwich, beautifully and carefully built on a 7-inch, seven-grain roll, featured turkey, Swiss cheese, avocado, cucumbers, organic mixed greens, tomatoes, light mayonnaise and balsamic glaze.
Mixed berry tart ($1.50) was a jammy mixture of strawberries, blackberries and raspberries sandwiched between a rectangle of rich crust and a crumb topping. Simple and sweet and good.
For a restaurant that just opened in January, Hummus House already has found its soul. Sit in the restaurant for an hour or so when the door is open and breezy air stirs the plants — listen to the sirens and watch the couples walking their babies — and you’ll know what I mean.
At one visit, meals for two totaled $31.11, including tax.
Susan Gottshall is a freelance restaurant reviewer for Go Guide. Gottshall attempts to remain anonymous during restaurant visits. All meals are paid for by The Morning Call.
1502 Chew St., Allentown
•Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday; noon-7 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday.
•Prices: Hero sandwiches: $6.97-$12.97; Middle Eastern fare: $4.97-$6.97
•Credit cards: Discover, MasterCard, Visa.
•Bar: Alcoholic beverages not permitted.
•Accessibility: Entry and restrooms are not wheelchair accessible.
•Location: In city residential setting at North 15th and Chew streets across from Pizza Hut. On-street unmetered parking.
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