- Andrew Raskin Jul 10, 2001 07:41 PM
From the name you might be expecting another sushi adventure, but Hamada (Union @Hyde) is an Egyptian coffee and kebab house. Thanks to Melanie for challenging me to walk up 2 very steep blocks to check it out.
I ordered a chicken kebab in pita sandwich. The felafel -- "made the Egyptian way from fava beans (not garbanzo beans!)" according to the menu -- seemed interesting so I ordered one felafel ball on the side.
This chicken kebab sandwich is not the cubes-drenched-in-tahini thing. The meat is cut small, with texture somewhere between chunky and shreddy, and it's been marinated and grilled in something good and mediterranean-tasting. "It's only grilled when the meat absorbs the marinade," the manager told me. The pita is filled with a cilantro, tomato, red onion relish (my word) that contained only a tasteful amount of tahini and matched the chicken perfectly. The pita was moist but held together really well.
The felafel was indeed green from fava, and had a richer, fava-ier taste than garbanzo felafel (makes sense, right?). I recently made a fava bean puree, so I appreciate how much work must go into making those things. I didn't try the coffee, but they have a roaster right there on premisis which looks like it's still in use.
A sign in the window advertised www.MyWebDining.com, which I thought was some new takeout site with which Hamada was associated, a la Food.com. It turns out the site is Hamada's own, where you can order Hamada dishes for delivery. The link is below. They also have www.MyWebCoffee.com. I didn't have much time to check it out so I'm not sure if there's any practical difference between the two. I guess domain names are a little easier to come by these days, so maybe the thinking is why not have two, one for kebab-eaters, one for coffee drinkers?
On my way out, I noticed the Basbousas, Egyptian dessert bars made from semolina flour, coconut, and nuts and soaked lightly in sweet syrup. I got one and enjoyed it thoroughly during the downhill walk home.
Didn't want you to go cold turkey, Andy. I'm glad this tip panned out so well. As I think I mentioned, this place was closed for more than a month due to some family emergency when I first heard about the kebabs and desserts here. Sounds like they've re-opened with a bang - I noticed the URL banners when I drove by on Friday. The THREE very steep blocks to get there had kept me from making a personal visit. It's great to have someone in the neighborhood who can help work through the tipsheet.
Andrew, thanks for the reminder. The last time I was at Hamada's was about 4 years ago. The food was fantastic. The reason I haven't been back is because I'm rarely in the neighborhood and parking was a little tough. I had the Sam's Salad Sampler of babaganush, hummus, tahini salad, falafil, and whole wheat pita bread. I remember savoring this LARGE plate of fresh middle eastern specialties. Sometimes babaganush or humus seem to have too much lemon - these were just right. According to their menu, which I've kept all these years, Hamada, Sam, Nedda, and Nouha are from Cairo. They serve middle eastern dishes, as well as some traditional brunch items like muffins and eggs florentine. Now I will have to make the trek back after figuring out a parking strategy.
re: elise h
Elise, I drove by Tuesday morning and discovered the 10 min. green loading zone around the corner. Long enough for at least 2 cars. So I had a chance to buy a basbousa for my eat in the car breakfast. Very rich, couldn't finish it all in one sitting.
It's on the Hyde St. cable car line and 41/45 bus line for public transportation links.
There's a sign up that they're no longer open for dinner and close at 3pm, excep for Fridays when they close earlier.