Meat Hummus at Mimi's Hummus
The hummus at Mimi's may be our overall favorite in NYC; it's so smooth that it seems more like a buttery chickpea custard than anything that was once, in fact, just chickpeas. It melts on the tongue. Nothing grainy, nothing starchy. Atop their Meat Hummus is ground beef with cinnamon and pine nuts, loosely recalling the Moroccan flavors of a pastilla, savory, sweet, and cinnamon-laced all at once.
Tahini on Everything at Zizi Limona
Tahini is a mother sauce at Williamsburg's Zizi Limona, making appearances in stews, on falafel, in sandwiches, and naked on the plate. It's so sweet, so fresh-tasting, and so nutty you'll wonder how you ever put up with the jarred stuff. If eating every tahini dish at the restaurant isn't enough for you, you can also buy containers of it to take home.
Lamb Segar Hummus at Bab al Yemen
Iraqi Sandwich at Mimi's Hummus
We just can't get enough of Mimi's, and this messy pile of hummus, cilantro, sliced potato, hard boiled egg, and pan fried eggplant. The sandwich, while difficult to eat neatly, is a wonderful combination of flavors and textures: the creamy base of hummus, the kick from the cilantro, and the smoky-sweet eggplant, which remains nicely greaseless despite being pan fried.
Tahini Sauce at Kalustyan's
The tahini sauce that goes into sandwiches at Kalustyan's is downright addictive. Maybe it's the touches of lemon and garlic, or the way it increases the intensity of any dish it touches, but this is a tahini sauce to hoard and squirt on everything. You can buy it in a twelve ounce squeeze bottle, and we keep one in the Serious Eats fridge at all times.
Eggplant and Tahini at Cafe Mogador
Thick slabs of juicy fried eggplant sit innocently under a big dollop of buttery tahini with a dusting of paprika on top. It's as simple a dish but they come, but the grease-free eggplant gets enriched just enough to make a light but substantial starter dish, a worthy precursor to Mogador's tagines.
Hummus Sandwich at Taim
Hummus at Bedouin Tent
The hummus here is substantial and thick, just one of a handful of salads and dips that should begin your meal as a shared mezze plate. Use the hummus as a sauce for those beets.
Bedouin Tent: 405 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217 (map); 718-852-5555
Edamame Hummus Sandwich at Teanyssimo (fka Teany)
A nice bright take on the original chickpea version, the edamame hummus is the star of this sandwich. The hummus is topped with a sizable portion of sprouts which add a nice crunch and clean flavor. Thin slices of cucumber play homage to traditional tea sandwiches, and the bread is particularly soft and nutty. The sandwich comes with a side salad and, along with a pot of tea, makes a nice light lunch.
Teanyssimo (fka Teany): 90 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002 (map); 212-475-9190
Sabich at Chick-P
Another strong contender in hummus sandwiches. Thick, fluffy pita is stuffed with hard-boiled egg, fresh and crunchy Israeli salad, super-salty pickles, and their excellent hummus and tahini. The eggplant has a pleasant oily sweetness.
Cauliflower Salad at Tanoreen
Here's something a little different and surprisingly light. Crispy fried cauliflower tossed with lemon, tahini, tart pomegranate molasses, and parsley. It's sweet and tart and nutty and so good we finished it before we could snap a photo. That happens sometimes.