While I'm not usually one to hop on the subway for brunch, I make an exception for Mimi's Hummus, on Cortelyou Road in Ditmas Park. Well-lit and comfortable, the smell of sizzling olive oil and warming pita wafting through from the open kitchen, friendly waitresses refilling water and coffee, it's always lively but rarely too packed—one perk of being this far out in Brooklyn. If Mimi's were in the West Village, there'd be an hour-plus wait on weekends.
You'd expect a shakshuka (Middle Eastern egg-topped stew) on the menu, but Mimi's has three—a traditional tomato pictured at top, one that adds merguez, and the green shakshuka ($12) pictured above. A skillet of Swiss chard braised with tomatoes and cumin makes for a hearty (and somewhat wholesome) morning meal, with properly cooked eggs whose yolks stay runny even as they're sitting on your table in the searing hot skillet. But the best part are loose clumps of Bulgarian cheese on top. Soft and sheepy and a little funky, they don't melt completely but puddle into soft clumps just waiting for a pita-swipe. You've got a choice of white or wheat; no complaints about the former, but the bigger surprise is the latter, the grain adding genuine toasty flavor rather than just a brown speckle. If it's all a little mild, an oily red pepper condiment waits on the side. Refreshment comes with an Israeli salad that's heavy on the herbs and, thanks to the summer tomatoes, just a little bit better in August than at other times of year. Like everything here, it's simple but done right, the vegetables cut precisely, olive oil balanced with acid, every element crisp and fresh-tasting.
That said, it's hard to go to Mimi's and not get their silky, impossibly creamy hummus, delicious whether topped with olive oil and chickpeas, or stewed mushrooms, or the spiced ground beef (pictured at top) I can't get enough of. With so many choices and generous portions, I often find myself over-ordering, but that's not really a problem—hummus and pita keep perfectly for a few hours, and make for a perfect lazy Sunday dinner once the stomach starts grumbling again.