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Hummus Bar in Tarzana - Better than Ever!

liu Jan 4, 2010 03:25 PM

We had dinner Saturday night at Hummus Bar and Grill in Tarzana.
We sat at the bar and every aspect of our experience exceeded our expectations!

If you know it from a past visit, it is not the same. They have expanded their menu (they even have hot dogs and french fries for children) and stepped up their service!

Immediately, when we sat down we were presented with freshly made, hot pita/bread (about a 12" diameter) and an assortment of four different accompaniments...almost like Korean banchan! There was so much food at this point -- less than a minute after we were seated -- that we didn't even have to order! Then, one of the cooks presented us with a huge, complimentary plate of hummus and mushrooms and said: "Try this!" We took up an extra seat at the bar because there was so much food in front of us!

The lamb shawarma was delicious; it was shredded and crispy. The hummus is some of the best I have tasted outside the homeland, and their chickpea appetizer is extraordinary; they put a dollop of tahini on it. Also, their pickled veggies -- served complimentary when you sit down -- are a nice crunchy contrast to the other items.

Service was amazingly attentive! All of the cooks in front of us, at one time or another, asked us if we wanted anything else. They even tried to serve us another hot pita! Our server stopped by a few times to find out how we were doing. We felt very coddled and indulged.

Our entire meal was about $20 for two...a real value and a very pleasant, casual and fun dining experience!
_____

Hummus Bar and Grill
18743 Ventura Boulevard in Tarzana
#818.344-6606

They are located in the Tarzana Village Shopping Center. Beware that all of the parking lot spaces are 30 minutes, so park below the shopping center for free -- or on the street at a meter.

They are open late: Daily from 11am to 1am and Saturdays from 11am to 3am!
Check their website: http://www.hummusbargrill.com/aboutus...

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  1. Servorg RE: liu Jan 4, 2010 04:29 PM

    We have to get out to Tarzana (or I'll go ape! ;-D>) and eat here. Thanks for the update, liu.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Servorg
      liu RE: Servorg Jan 4, 2010 04:50 PM

      Hi, Servorg!
      For a good time (!!!!) AND lots of action - and if you are only one, two or three - sit at the bar!

    2. b
      bulavinaka RE: liu Jan 4, 2010 06:47 PM

      Hi Liu, great report! We love this place, but we haven't been in about 8 months. We will definitely stop by the next chance we have when we're in the valley. Are they serving any alcohol yet?

      6 Replies
      1. re: bulavinaka
        liu RE: bulavinaka Jan 4, 2010 07:23 PM

        Hi, bulavinaka!

        They are not serving alcohol yet, but they are eager to do so.
        They indicated that it might be another 2-3 months.

        1. re: liu
          b
          bulavinaka RE: liu Jan 4, 2010 07:28 PM

          Thanks, good to know. With an expanded menu and (I'm assuming) beer and wine license pending, this is a don't-miss in the Valley. Call me strange, but I kinda liked the slightly brash service that the local yentas threw at me. :)

          1. re: bulavinaka
            liu RE: bulavinaka Jan 4, 2010 07:38 PM

            I was waiting for that "slightly brash service" to which you refer, but it didn't happen. This is the new and improved Hummus Bar!
            The Israeli cooks were joking with us, and they were genuinely worried that we weren't eating enough! They kept offering us more food! They even wanted us to order tea and baklava...very, very gracious service!

            1. re: liu
              b
              bulavinaka RE: liu Jan 4, 2010 07:48 PM

              We always get the opposite response from the waitress when it comes to ordering enough food: "Do you think we ordered enough food?" "I think you ordered more than enough food - how can anyone finish all of that food?!?!" :)

              1. re: bulavinaka
                liu RE: bulavinaka Jan 4, 2010 07:57 PM

                Oh, MY!
                Very funny!

                1. re: liu
                  s
                  skinnymon RE: liu Jan 29, 2010 03:54 PM

                  I love this place. I eat in there all the time and always am impressed.

      2. liu RE: liu Feb 18, 2010 11:50 AM

        I had yet another really good experience with Hummus Bar and Grill today.

        My take-out order was large-ish and complicated. The staff was patient, helpful and gracious. They pampered me with hospitality while I was waiting -- just a short time -- for my order to be completed: "Would you care to take a seat?" "Can I get you something to drink or nosh on?"

        I thought I ordered one or several of everything they offered, yet they still managed to toss into my bag a few "extra," complementary and complimentary items! They even thought to give me a small container of chopped parsley so that I could accent the hummus.

        Hummus Bar and Grill continues to impress me! I look forward to our next meal there.

        3 Replies
        1. re: liu
          Kitchen Queen RE: liu Feb 18, 2010 04:56 PM

          Glad to hear of this 'cuz I went on Xmas day and it wasn't worth **&&%%$! Service was really bad, tables were dirty, no water brought us, etc... 45$ isn't much if all ducks are in a row, but all ducks were dead that day and I walked away vowing not ever to return.

          1. re: Kitchen Queen
            liu RE: Kitchen Queen Feb 18, 2010 07:42 PM

            Kitchen Queen, I am so sorry to hear about your less-than-remarkable experience at Hummus Bar...but, it was Christmas Day. I know, that is not a good excuse, but I have never found restaurants to be their best on holidays. It just seems that their rhythm is off...perhaps due to an employee change.

            If you like that kind of food, I do encourage you to try it again...for dinner. I can not speak for table service, however. We always sit at the bar and the service there is stellar; not only do you have the staff behind you in attendance, but the guys behind the bar who are cooking are also watching and anticipating your "needs."

          2. re: liu
            liu RE: liu Feb 18, 2010 07:48 PM

            I wish to correct some misinformation on my original post here.

            Today I was told that what I assumed to be their lamb shawarma is actually turkey. That's a surprise! It is so well seasoned that it tastes like lamb to me. However, it is not greasy like lamb sometimes can be.

          3. junglekitte RE: liu Feb 18, 2010 05:16 PM

            So glad to read this...I'm heading up to Tarzana for a meeting this weekend from South OC and have been wracking my brain trying to think of where I should eat beforehand, Looks like this is the winner!

            PS. I also read about "Sasoon" in the area....have you been there to compare for me? It has rave reviews on other areas of the internet. :)

            1 Reply
            1. re: junglekitte
              liu RE: junglekitte Feb 18, 2010 07:34 PM

              I have never heard anything about Sasoon, so I will be watching for someone to post on this place.

            2. creamfinger RE: liu Feb 18, 2010 07:47 PM

              I was disappointed to find that they had Coke and Sprite, but no Fizzy Bubblech.

              2 Replies
              1. re: creamfinger
                liu RE: creamfinger Feb 18, 2010 09:05 PM

                I wonder if they might be receptive to such a reasonable request to carry it for your future visits?

                1. re: liu
                  creamfinger RE: liu Feb 19, 2010 12:38 AM

                  You would think.

              2. junglekitte RE: liu Feb 21, 2010 11:19 PM

                was so excited to have an excuse to go up the the valley for a party and finally get to try this restaurant after reading about it here :D The place was packed at 5:30pm but the host was friendly and seated me right away. My server was extremely attentive, friendly, and helpful in deciding what to order. I'm surprised another reviewer here below said service was bad. I haven't had service this good anywhere else in a long time actually! I told her I was stuck between just getting a big plate of hummus or the schwarma plate so she suggested in getting the schwarma and I could get a smaller hummus as one of my sides (you choose two sides, I also got the Israeli salad to go with it) Almost immediately as she walked away I was served with a piping hot, fresh from the oven giant laffa, olives, and pickled vegetables. The bread was OUT OF THIS WORLD delicious! OMFG! I'm spoiled forever from eating that crap packaged pita bread they serve in most Middle Eastern restaurants in LA/OC!
                My schwarma plate was absolutely gigantic. I've never seen such a huge pile of meat in my life. It was excellently spiced with Middle Eastern flavors, cooked nicely, and served with a side of tahini sauce. I liked the schwarma but I wasn't insane about it like I have been when I ate it in Jordan and Israel. (hard to compare to food from it's homeland but still...) The Israeli salad was fresh but was lacking lemon juice. It would have been perfect if they added lemon, imo. And the hummus.....the hummmmmmmmmmmus! Heavenly hummus how I love thee! They hummus was perfectly creamy, smooth, and full of flavor. Ate every last shred of my hummus.
                At least three employees came over to check and see if I liked the food, asked me if I needed anything, and always anticipated any needs I had. They really seemed to care about the guests opinion and wanting to please.

                I hope to return here again soon and try other things.

                Overall this place was just so excellent and made me feel like I was in Israel. :) Wonderful.

                5 Replies
                1. re: junglekitte
                  westsidegal RE: junglekitte Feb 22, 2010 06:45 AM

                  for israeli salad WITH lemon juice, try the version they serve at the israeli restaurant down the street in encino, ITZIK HAGADOL.
                  the array of salads they serve at ITZIK HAGADOL is different from those served at HUMMUS BAR. iirc, hummous is not part of the array at IH, and would have to be ordered separately. i would kill to get either of these establishments to open a satellite on westside

                  1. re: westsidegal
                    junglekitte RE: westsidegal Feb 22, 2010 09:34 AM

                    Thanks for the tip. Will try it next time I'm in the area :)

                  2. re: junglekitte
                    liu RE: junglekitte Feb 22, 2010 11:25 AM

                    Hi, junglekitte!
                    I read your report with joy...I am so glad that you share my enthusiasm for Hummus Bar!
                    No, we won't find what we enjoyed in Israel, but this is good hummus. I think your lackluster take on the schwarma is because it is turkey and not lamb; it doesn't have the "fat" flavor, but it is certainly better for us. I think it works well because the seasoning is just right, for my tastes. When it is covered with hummus and cabbage and all the other accompaniments, it offers a nice balance.

                    Thanks for reporting back with all the details.

                    1. re: liu
                      s
                      selfportrait93 RE: liu Feb 28, 2010 08:58 PM

                      Thanks, liu for the 411 on Hummus Bar. I am telling you, The laffa bread comes to the table fresh from the oven or whatever heat source they are using, smoking hot. Gotta be careful handling it cuz it might burn your fingers. Anything and everything taste good with those Laffas. Besides the standard 4 accompaniments/dips they serve every table, I saw the next table order like 7 or 8 additional kinds. Their table was full of small plate accompaniments. Will try to order these next time. We also tried their chicken thigh in skewer an it was very,very good with subtle taste of spice on chicken.
                      This place is a gem in the Valley.

                      1. re: selfportrait93
                        liu RE: selfportrait93 Feb 28, 2010 09:02 PM

                        Hi, selfportrait93!
                        I am happy to read yet another positive review.
                        Yes, just as you said: it is much about the bread!

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