Seattle’s Greenwood Avenue district has become a mecca for authentic Middle Eastern-Mediterranean food. One can dine well and reasonably — and satisfy that yen for hummus and pita bread — at The Olive and the Grape, Gorgeous George’s, Mr. Gyro’s, Georgia’s, Yanni’s. And we say, the more the merrier!
About a year ago, the Hummus Cafe quietly joined in, taking over a sunny, compact space on the corner of Greenwood Avenue North and Northwest 85th Street. Without much fanfare but a growing fan base, this casual eatery run by Jamie and Nani Konswa, a pleasant Egyptian couple, serves fresh, homey, filling Middle Eastern classics at modest prices.
The menu: It’s compact (a single page), with a choice selection of appetizers ($2.99-$5.99); soups and salads ($3.99-$8.99); pita sandwiches of spit-roasted shawarma (gyro-style meat), falafel, eggplant, fava bean or hummus ($5.99-$7.99); kebab and combination plates ($10.49-$15.99); and several desserts ($2.49-$4.99).
What to write home about: The starter rice-stuffed grape leaves ($3.99), served warm and slick with olive oil, are some of the best in the city, and come with a small side of yogurt sauce. The house hummus ($3.99) has a peppery kick and bright flecks of sumac, a mild, lemony spice. The mixed kebab plate ($11.99) was generous enough to share, with succulent slabs of chicken and lamb (you can sub or add beef) and a choice of two sides: golden French fries, seasoned rice, a heap of tomato-lettuce salad or hummus and pita.
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We also devoured the delectable basbosa ($2.49), a light, melt-in-your-mouth cake, served warm and made in-house with semolina flour, rose water syrup and butter.
The setting: A small, bright, informal room, quiet despite the roaring corner traffic outside, with yellow walls, black cafe tables and a few small Egyptian decorations — little marble pyramids, a mini-bust of Nefertiti.
Summing up: An order of grape leaves, a hummus appetizer, a mixed kebab plate of chicken and lamb, a pita sandwich of falafel and eggplant, a piece of basbosa and two cups of black tea with mint totaled $35.51 with tax. It served two hungry people, with leftovers to take home.
Misha Berson: firstname.lastname@example.org