S. Lefkowitz is Toronto’s first hummuserie. Their website isn’t working yet, so I’ll give you the address, it’s at 913 Dundas Street West, west of Bathurst.
What a coincidence that hot on the heels of my new hummus obsession that I developed while in Israel, a hummus restaurant would open this weekend in Toronto!
Here are my brief thoughts (I think this is appropriate for this review, as the restaurant is also small, simple and quick – in a good way!).
The space is warm and cozy, and feels like a casual coffee bar (because it used to be a location of Ezra’s Pound) with exposed brick and wood accents. The simple menu, and almost all you need to know, is displayed on 2 chalkboards above their counter where you can not only order, but see what they are making and serving. They also proudly proclaim that they use organic, fair-trade ingredients. They offer a unique way of ordering, because you order and pay at the counter, and then they bring it to your table – you get a number on your table so they can tell which order is for which table.
We ordered a little of many things to try – although my mother stuck to the tahini, hummus and harissa and I was more adventurous this time. The hummus with tahini is incredible, I highly recommend it, and I could have eaten many plates, as it’s not a huge serving. The hummus is spread into a bowl as they typically do in Israel, drizzled with a generous amount of lemon juice and olive oil (out of a big jug that looked like a tea-pot), and topped with braised chickpeas and sprinkled with ground harissa. I wish they served something acidic and green with it, maybe like a pesto, for fun, but it’s warm, creamy, fresh and really worth the visit in itself. I loved how they serve their pita warm and toasty, although soft enough that we could eat it “bedouin style” (see my hummus review from Israel for the deets on what this is if you would like). I tried their organic beef and must admit, that although I don’t eat meat often, I really enjoyed the flavour, and might have just licked the bottom of the bowl. We ordered a second dish of tahini to share, that we were told was JUST made, and it was beyond great, it didn’t need anything added or taken away. When we complimented Ezra, he mentioned that a simple dish like this could only be that good if made from the best, organic ingredients. That made me feel really good! They also serve Labaneh, it’s like a really thick yogurt, if you eat cow’s milk dairy, this is a treat that you should try.
They do have “greens” on the menu, which is salad, but I wish they served pickles, too. Those are one of my family’s favourite things along with hummus, and just seem to be missing! Maybe in the nicer weather, when it’s in season, they will serve tomatoes and cucumber and onions. There are other things on the menu that looked great, and if you like olives, they serve hummus with warm olives – I imagine that would be great and contribute lots of good saltiness to the dish, as well!
They serve mint tea, and tea with mint – these are not the same thing by the way! One is black tea with some mint in it, and the other is hot water with lots of fresh mint (herbal version). Something else that is simple and great to enjoy. I think it helps to digest the heavy hummus too!
Everyone working there was really nice, and answered all of my questions, and took care of the 3 or 4 times I ordered food at the counter! They do serve walnuts, so if you have an allergy, you should know that, but there are no nuts in the food. And, obviously, if you are vegan or vegetarian and eat organic food, you’ll like it here!
In case you were wondering, they do take-out, and after I’m done this review, I intend to eat what I purchased for take-out for dinner – it’s that delicious!