Dish of the Week – Little Sesame’s whole roasted cauliflower hummus bowl

Media Credit: Lindsay Paulen | Staff Photographer

The whole roasted cauliflower bowl ($9) comes topped with roasted cauliflower, green onion, herbs and tahini and is served alongside a piece of pita.

At Little Sesame, hummus isn’t just a topping or side dish – it’s the main event.

Since the restaurant’s opening about two weeks ago, chefs Ronen Tenne and Nick Wiseman have been dishing out affordable Middle Eastern-inspired dishes in a fast-casual setting. The menu is comprised of mostly hummus bowls that come topped with fresh garnishes, but the restaurant also serves pita sandwiches.

The interior is bright with pops of pink and blue and light wood throughout, and the space was inspired by cities like Jaffa and Acre in Israel. Alongside tiled tables and floors, Little Sesame is accented by ceramic potted plants and a funky custom patterned wallpaper.

Customers have the option to sit at quaint tables against the white tile wall, plus a high-top communal table, or they can head outside the shop and eat at cafe tables with bright green and teal chairs.

If you’re on the go, Little Sesame makes for a perfect lunch between classes, and the restaurant will soon use an app for online ordering.

Down to the flavors of beverages, Little Sesame packs on the flair with varieties like hibiscus spiced black tea or lemonade made of butterfly pea flower – a type of flower that gives off vibrant purple powder – (both $3.50).

Though Little Sesame’s menu focuses on hummus bowls, it also offers pita sandwiches. Customers can opt for a chicken shawarma pita stuffed with tahini, a tangy mango pickle condiment called amba and a smashed cucumber salad ($10), or a breakfast all day pita ($10) that’s filled with avocado, chopped salad, a 10-hour egg and sprinkled with za’atar – a traditional blend of Middle Eastern spices.

As a snack before your main course, order some salatim, which are small dishes served cold that typically comprise the first course in Israeli cuisine. These starters range from turmeric pickles ($3) to a watermelon fattoush salad ($4) topped with peanut dukkha, a mixture of herbs, nuts and spices.

Those with a sweet tooth can also find dairy-free soft serve ($5) at Little Sesame in two flavors – vanilla tahini and dark chocolate – with toppings like cocoa nib and halva dust. While offering sweetness with a nutty tang from the tahini, the rich soft serve tastes unlike any traditional ice cream cone.

While the restaurant’s other dishes are delicious, the hummus is next level.

Six hummus bowl options are all served with a warm pita, so you can scoop up this tasty dish. Each bowl is customizable with add-ons like crispy chickpeas and harissa and a hot chili pepper paste for 50 cents, or feta cheese for $1.

Some of the bowl options include a sweet corn bowl ($9) garnished with roasted onion, pickled chili and cilantro, and a summer greens bowl ($10) finished off with mint pesto, chili oil and crispy chickpeas.

The dish that will make you rethink your lunch rotation is the whole roasted cauliflower bowl ($9).

On its own, Little Sesame’s hummus is creamy, fresh and worth every scoop. Even without toppings, you’d scrape the bottom of the bowl with your pita for every last bite of hummus. But the cauliflower sets this bowl apart from other plates in the bunch.

Each piece of cauliflower is perfectly roasted, adding a smoky flavor to the dish as well as a bit of crispiness. On the other hand, the green onion and generous mix of herbs, seeds and spices elevate the dish’s overall flavor and add a much-needed texture. The tahini somehow makes the hummus even creamier, even though it seems impossible.

Mixed with the warm pita bread – the perfect medium to dab and scoop up hummus – Little Sesame’s cauliflower hummus bowl makes for a delicious, hearty and healthy meal.

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