Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Outer Boroughs >
Sep 24, 2012 04:20 PM

Not Your Mama's Sahadi's...

Stopped in Sahadi's today to get some of their sublime hummus and was completely floored by the new layout. They have finally combined the old space with the new space, and although there is more work to be done (and the work is ongoing right now), it looks good and it's a lot more user friendly, at least space-wise. If you're a Sahadi's regular (or semi-regular, like my wife and I are), you'll be impressed.

And just one side note: if you haven't had their prepared hummus (comes in two versions: regular and spicy, meaning VERY spicy), you are missing a treat.

Anyway, if you haven't been to Sahadi's for a while, it's time to drop in and check out the new surroundings...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I'll deny it if you tell Charlie I said it but I think the humus at Damscus is better.

    20 Replies
    1. re: hambone

      That's a pretty serious challenge. Now I'm gonna have to try the hummus at Damascus (where we always buy our pita bread).

      Question: Any hummus, or a particular hummus we should look for?

      1. re: hambone

        I agree, but the baba g. at Sahadi is much more like hummus w/some eggplant flavor thrown in. We get that when we want hummus.

        1. re: Steve R

          Terrific suggestion, would never have thought of it. Just hard to think that when we want a hummus dish we should instead go for baba g.

          Every try getting some baba g. and some of the regular hummus at Sahadi's and mixing them together? Just a thought...

          1. re: Steve R

            Steve R- My favorite thing from that part of the store is the Tiramisalata (I'm sure I butchered that.) The fish roe spread. So salty, So rich. Soooo good.

            1. re: hambone

              that's my fave too. I always get some and then eat it with the handmade pitas from damascus. I also prefer the spinach and meat pies at Damascus. So happy to have both these places in the neighborhood.

            2. re: Steve R

              Y'know, you have a point. They don't flame-grill their eggplants so it is kinda more like hummus. To be fair, I've had the baba ghanoush at Damascus and while it's smokier, I find it too salty (damn it). There used to be an Egyptian-owned grilled chicken place on Broadway and I think 108th St. years ago that had slammin' baba ghanoush but they're long gone. :`(( They used to flame grill their chicken in the window à la the Flaming Embers.

                1. re: MOREKASHA

                  Was that its name? Damn, they had some SLAMMIN' baba ghanoush, it was sublime. Perfectly seasoned and that smokiness that only comes from char-broiled eggplant and...oh, why am I doing this to myself?? :`(

            3. re: hambone

              Sahadi is good but I am a big fan of Damascus. I love their spinach/meat pies.
              I can't fault Sahadi for anything other than the throngs of the stroller crowd. Glad to see both places are still in business for so many years.

              1. re: Motosport

                I haven't been to Damascus since last spring, but when I go there, I get some mamoun and the similar cake filled with pistachios or walnuts, or sometimes the date-filled cakes with sesame seeds on the outside. Those pastries are wonderful! I have yet to try their savory items because I usually have a sit-down lunch or dinner at either Yemen Cafe or Waterfalls.

                1. re: Pan

                  The cookies you mention are mamoul, not mamoun.

                2. re: Motosport

                  I highly recommend the muhammara at Damascus, it might be the best spread they make.

                  1. re: Motosport

                    Miss the spinach pies next door at Near East.


                    1. re: allenbank

                      Near East was the bakery under the street. The absolute best!!

                  2. re: hambone

                    They are different. The Damascus hummos is more lemony and smooth. The Sahadi's product is a little coarser and more tahini-ish. Also, Sahadi's is cheaper, which is a consideration if you're buying a lot.

                    1. re: hambone

                      I hate to say it (regard for Charlie aside) but I don't like it (or the baba ghanoush) at either place which means I'm stuck paying big bucks at places like Humus Place. I find there's a tendency for prepared hummus to just be too sour. But I love shopping at Sahadi's and remember that there was a sign in the window to the effect that an expansion was on the way. I guess the holiday store has gone the way of the dinosaur.

                      1. re: hambone

                        i actually like the hummus at oriental! also their cashew baklava is the best baklava ever

                        1. re: kazhound

                          Oriental Bakery has hummus? That's news to me. I've only seen kunafeh, baklava and kaak there.

                          1. re: JungMann

                            I'm always looking for a cheaper but just as good alternative to the Humus Place...

                      2. Well they certainly had to reopen before the Antic next Sunday.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: bobjbkln

                          Actually, Sahadi's was not open for the Antic (it was partially open last week and will be next week as well), although the outside Antic food was available. I understand that they will have a free Open House on Sunday 10/14 followed by a complete opening the next day.

                          1. Looks like the wall-banging is done and everything is now in place. Lots more aisle space, and room for more products to sell, but in a quick walk-through today I didn't see much in the way of new products yet. Maybe that's Phase 2.

                            I don't care what anybody else here says, Sahadi's hummus (non-spicy) and baba ghanoush are my idea of what these ought to be, and quite a few of my friends say the same. Damascus makes good bread at a good price, but when I've tried anything out of their chill cabinets, it's nice enough but I haven't been a repeat buyer.

                            1. I was there today for the first time since the expansion. I get the impression they're still kinda playing with what should go where but they acquired some much-needed space and I have no doubt they'll get it together soon. The best part was that they got in some saf-instant gold label yeast which no one seems to sell and for which I was loath to pay at least $13/pound online, which is what it comes to with shipping. I also picked up some Syrian Aleppo pepper which I noticed is a different color than the Turkish stuff I get at Penzeys and then there was the very interesting rose-and-cardamom halvah (couldn't resist although a little goes a long way). It was an especially satisfying haul today. :)

                              14 Replies
                              1. re: MacGuffin

                                Thanks for the tip about the instant yeast. I probably won't run out for a while, but it's good to know where you can get it, and I've forgotten where I finally tracked it down.

                                1. re: John Francis

                                  My pleasure! The only problem is they stopped carrying the red label (regular); the gold label is better suited to sweet doughs. Mind you, the gold label will work with any dough but it might be something of an overachiever if not a lot of sugar is present so you might want to adjust quantity accordingly (if you already knew this, my apologies). I prefer active dry for most things anyway and if you're interested, you can buy Red Star 1 lb. bricks at a small kosher supermarket on Avenue J in Midwood for $3.99. If you like, I'll find out the name of it and post (it performs REALLY well; much better than the little packets). Having both types in the freezer keeps me covered on all fronts. :)

                                  1. re: MacGuffin

                                    good to know on the gold label - its defiinitely good for stuff like stollen.

                                    1. re: jen kalb

                                      I haven't used it yet but glad to get the confirmation, and now you know where to get it cheap! I want to use it for egg challah and I ran across a very interesting chocolate babka recipe I want to try. I should point out that Sahadi's shipment's use-by date is in 2013 but my understanding is that these yeasts "bricks" can, if they remain sealed, remain perfectly viable for 15 years on the shelf, so I'm not worried.

                                      For those who might be interested: .

                                    2. re: MacGuffin

                                      Thanks for the details. I bought the red label yeast and didn't know about the gold label, which apparently is best for making breads and cakes with a lot of sugar. I don't do that kind of baking, it's bread and rolls for me. But when I run out of yeast - that won't be any time soon - it's useful to have a tip about how to use the gold label if that's what there is.

                                      1. re: John Francis

                                        I'd like to see them carrying both types, especially with the holidays approaching. Maybe if this current shipment starts walking off the shelf they can be induced to do it. You see, I didn't see the red label (which I was impressed that they stock) while I was shopping and asked about it because I wanted to see if they could maybe get in some gold label. I was told that they'd just gotten in some of what they usually carry and was handed a brick straight from the carton. I was stunned to see it was exactly what I wanted and was told "this is what they sent us" (I'm guessing in error). I explained the difference so they can pass it along to customers looking for the red label. I didn't want to belabor the point because I was running late for a virtual tea tasting with my Chowhound buddy liu, so I paid and hightailed it back to the city. :)

                                        I'm pretty sure you can get the red label at any Whole Foods but it's quite a bit more expensive than Sahadi's; still MUCH cheaper than ordering online and paying shipping, though. :O

                                        1. re: MacGuffin

                                          are you talking about fresh yeast blocks or dry granulated? Its easy enough to get the regular granulated in large quantities at Costco as well as other places.

                                          1. re: jen kalb

                                            The dry--I usually see those one- and two-pound vacuum-sealed bags referred to as "bricks." I'm not a Costco member (there's not one convenient to me anyway), so they're not an option. Do they carry saf yeasts? I'm pretty sure they still carry Fleischmann's, which some home bakers prefer to saf red label according to reviews on Amazon and King Arthur. I like active dry for pretty much everything so don't keep "regular" instant on hand. My mom used to buy cake yeast when I was a kid but I've never baked with it.

                                            1. re: MacGuffin

                                              Fleischman, I think, not SAF. I will verify next time. The SAF gold label is rarely found other than through mail order.

                                              1. re: jen kalb

                                                I know, that's why I was so thrilled to find it at Sahadi's. :)) Good price, NO SHIPPING, and I like shopping there anyway and get out there at least once/month. It's not only a terrific store but Charlie's one in a million. I hope they continue to carry this; I think it's going to be excellent for egg challah (especially if there's whole wheat in the dough and it needs some "oomph") and I'm sure there are lots of ladies in Brooklyn who bake their own; maybe some of them will see this and it'll catch on. The recipe my friend and I use is quite sweet so I'm eager to see how this performs, especially since her little packets of active dry didn't do such a hot job.

                                    3. re: John Francis

                                      I thought you might like to know that I saw Charlie today while shopping, explained about the saf gold label, and he immediately--before I'd even finished--suggested that he should start stocking both with a little sign explaining that the gold label is better for sweeter doughs (he was unaware two types existed and thought they'd just changed the label). So you should start seeing gold AND red label on the shelf in the very near future. All bases covered for home bakers who use instant, and at a very fair price, too! :)) A great vendor, very much interested in catering to the needs of his clientele. Unfortunately, there were no borekas today. :(

                                      1. re: MacGuffin

                                        Good for them, and good for you for bringing it to their attention.

                                        1. re: MacGuffin

                                          Charley rocks. He is a great member of the community, a great businessman and a really nice guy.

                                          1. re: hambone

                                            Agreed. A good guy who's into what he does can only be an asset. He runs a great store.