It can be easy to take a simple food like hummus for granted. But then you decide to try a new place, and the hummus is so bad you need pour a can of chick peas into your mouth just to get out the taste of the other. One of the great privileges of living in Bay Ridge is the access to top-notch, “undiscovered” Middle Eastern eateries, making us the hummus capital of Brooklyn, if not the city—a place where it’s a sin to rely on supermarket Sabra instead of the family business around the corner. So let’s start an ongoing, semiregular project: to sample and review different great hummuses from around the neighborhood.
First up is the one from Samia’s (7924 Third Avenue), an Egyptian deli near Bagel Boy and a recent discovery for me, even though I’ve lived my whole life in the area. The best thing about its hummus is the consistency, using just enough olive oil so that it’s substantial and spreads well; it’s not too thin or thick, and it’s not watery or oily.
But what good is proper density without proper flavor? Luckily, it’s spiced well, too, with a just-right amount of garlic. My only complaint is that it could use more salt. But I’m the sort of person who always makes that complaint, so you may want to take it with a grain of sugar.
My only other complaint is that the different people I’ve dealt with behind the counter, including Samia, have never been particularly friendly. But it’s a quibble when the hummus is so good and also reasonably priced, at $5/pound, like a lot of Samia’s offerings, making the store a good stop for more than just hummus; loose nuts in glass jars occupy most of the floor space and are priced a bit more affordably than most delis in New York, except maybe Sahadi’s. The spinach pies are also worth a try; they’re very reminiscent of the ones at Al Safa (I wouldn’t be surprised if he buys them from here): doughy, with an earthy-flavored vegetable at the core.
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