Most Americans think of hummus as a condiment. But in other parts of the world, it's the centerpiece of a meal. The team behind DGS Delicatessen is looking to change this perception with Little Sesame, a hummus-centered fast-casual spot opening in the restaurant's basement private dining room in early January.
"The goal is that you experience hummus in this new way," says co-owner Nick Wiseman. He's teaming up with Ronen Tenne, an Israeli-born friend who he met cooking for celebrity chef Michael White in New York.
Little Sesame will offer just five bowls ($9-$12) on its rotating seasonal menu. Each meal will be made up of hummus with a range of different toppings, mixed greens with herbs and sumac-honey dressing, and warm pita. One hummus bowl on the opening menu will be topped with chopped pastrami, pickled mustard seed, and chives. Another comes with winter squash, pomegranate molasses, and parsley. While there will always be one meat option, the majority of the menu is devoted to vegetables. For dessert, there's vanilla ice cream with tahini and sesame brittle ($5).
The hummus will be made fresh each day with organic chickpeas from Timeless Seeds in Montana, operated by a friend of Wiseman's, and tahini imported from Israel. The team tried 30 different tahinis to find the best one. The hummus will also be integrated into the menu at DGS Delicatessen and available for retail.
"The store-bought hummus is very whipped. This has the same lightness, but it's all from the richness of all the tahini in there," Wiseman says.
Patrons can get food to-go or eat in at the 16-seat Little Sesame. Edit Lab at Streetsense, which designed The Riggsby and Daikaya, will outfit the place with whitewashed brick, basket-weave linoleum floors, and brass string lights.
Little Sesame will be open for weekday lunch only from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and will transform back into a private dining room for dinner and brunch.
Take a look at the full opening menu below.