[Photo: Maggie Hoffman]

Hoomoos Asli is exactly the sort of casual, grab-a-table spot I like for a workday sit-down lunch, when you want a menu and a glass of water but nothing formal in the least. And when you want awesome Israeli food. Which I often do.

The combination plate ($10.50) is two quarters more than my usual "Lunch Today" limit, but order a few extra 75-cent pitas and it's easily enough food for two. For a small combo, you get your choice of three salads and spreads; for a large ($14.50), it's four.

From the ten options, we tried a moderately spicy Moroccan salad with cooked tomatoes and peppers, somewhere texturally between a salsa and a stew; the hoomoos (it really is more fun to spell that way) is on the thick side, and in a huge portion. We could've used a little more acid, but it's still plenty tasty, particularly under a pour of olive oil with a pool of tahini. But the real winner is the sauteed eggplant. It's nothing but eggplant and oil, cooked down, and it's rich and sultry with a deep, concentrated sweetness. While everything we've tried at Hoomoos Asli has been pretty good, the eggplant is the dish I'd go back for.

Hoomoos Asli

100 Kenmare Street, New York NY 10012 (map)


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