When someone is really good at something they do on their own, something they know implicitly, it's hard for an outsider to compete. If you like it a certain way--a specific technique you've mastered through years of trial and error--it's hard for anyone to show you an alternative. Additionally, you might find it frustrating if someone offers to do it for you. In fact, the act itself could just be an exercise in restraint as you tolerate something you know you can do better.
Such is hummus (what were you thinking of?). I was first offered a hummus recipe in my teens but kept away from making it on my own for many years until returning recently. Knowing its low creation cost, I now refuse to purchase any coming from a plastic container, affixed reduced sticker or not. I know which combination of ingredients provides me with the most satisfaction. I like a little extra garlic, a dash more olive oil. I prefer ground black pepper. I toss in a few whole coriander seeds down the blender for good measure (I'll probably post it later in the week). So Hummus Brothers, assuming their names aren't some tricky deception, should boast considerable skill to compete with my own.
Little did I know said tricky deception was more accurate…for across three menus, Sunday brunch, lunch and dinner, I could only found one entry that contained actual hummus (dinner—we went for lunch). In their defense, Hummus Brothers does have the subtitle claiming it a tapas bar. However, I was initially surprised at the lack of selection…of anything. I had commented previously on the reduced variety with menus at North 54 and White Goose, but at this rate of decline, I imagine the next place will just serve you a slice of whatever animal was dragged in on the morning, not even giving you the option of pasta or rice. With only seventeen options covering tapas, entrees, and salads, I found it personally disappointing that I and my entire group of four all ordered hamburgers, something I personally swore I would never do on this exercise.
As for tapas, with literally hundreds to choose from, the brothers reduced it to a scarce five options (dinner has 15). We ordered two, mushroom risotto balls and pemberton potato skins. I checked, "pemberton" means absolutely nothing. I found both dishes acceptable but not worthy to reach escape velocity. My sister, brother-in-law, and mother all "accidentally" ordered salad (long and uninteresting story as to why) which was the best thing of the meal—a feta and orzo mélange with olives and basil. Three of us had the Spanish burger, which I will admit was one of the better burgers I've ever had, but that doesn't say much. I used to always order hamburgers when my parents took me out. Now the only time I ever eat them are at barbeques. I find the act of ordering a burger at a restaurant that doesn't have ambiguously colored caricatures painted on the walls personally wasteful.
The interior of Hummus Brothers again matched the precedent of other restaurants sweeping the nation, that of trying to find a balance between fashion and tradition…and failing miserably. Though claiming original furnishings, Hummus Brothers ends as up looking like every medial restaurant attached to a hotel in this country, only seasoned with a pinch of rustic charm gleaned from an ambiguous country I dare someone to identify. My sister that attended with me has more pastoral creativity in her left boob. Let her loose in a place like this for an hour and I guarantee she could inject actual personality into it.
I know I am being hard on Hummus Brothers and I may not be able to identify the source. The hamburger was fantastic and the service was more than acceptable. The place was clean, well made, and showed an attention to detail usually only seen in larger franchise locations like Moxis or Earls. Problem is those restaurants know what they are. I walk out of Hummus Brothers with no clue what I just entered. I know I have to offer this place a good score, as there was nothing to hate about it…but what's there to like? I'm sure I could justify returning here for a dinner service, taking in their tapas platter for two—see what their claim to name can really do. I also hope people will read this review and not just the score and know that, given the many choices all within a 30 second drive (North 54, White Goose—both less than two blocks away) they'll allot for the competition.
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