Have you ever heard of a hummus restaurant? It sounds almost as quirkily incomplete as a mustard restaurant, or a coleslaw cafeteria. But in the case of Oren’s Hummus, the fourth location of which has opened on Third Street just south of Market, it makes a great deal of sense. With a short prayer next to the mezuzah at the front entrance on Monday evening, Tel Aviv native Oren Dobronsky and his wife Nancy inaugurated a dining room with space for 100 people, plus an outdoor patio and to-go area that’s built specifically for the convenience of DoorDash drivers. That’s a large space in a very central location, so what was there before? Nothing, it turns out.
Very fortuitous. Hummus consumption is hardly mysterious, and if Oren’s motto of “Rip, Scoop, Eat!” doesn’t rid you of any lingering confusion, there’s a photographic triptych of an adorable moppet illustrating each of the three steps. That’s what you’ll see for breakfast, lunch, and dinner — and breakfast, which is unique to this location of Oren’s, seems to be the most innovative. For starters, there’s not only two kinds of shaksuka and a challah french toast but a Seinfeld-esque chocolate babka french toast. Hungrier than that? The $18 Israeli breakfast comes with two eggs, goat cheese with olives and roasted peppers, matbucha (a garlicky salsa of tomato and roasted peppers), tahini, a basket of assorted fresh breads, and an Israeli salad of cucumber, tomato, parsley, garlic, a lemon vinaigrette.
While it’s nice to know there’s wine and beer, including the Israeli lager Goldstar, and that vegan and gluten-free options abound, hummus still occupies pride of place. You can get it topped with marinated beets, feta, chopped walnuts, and orange zest cilantro, or with mushrooms and sauteed onions, or you can go Jaffa-style, a thicker preparation with a heavier dose of garlic. Among the pitas are a chicken schnitzel and a sabich, with fried eggplant, potato, a hardboiled egg, amba sauce, hummus, cucumber, tomato, herbs, pickles, and tahini. It’s worth constructing an entire restaurant around. Let ‘er rip.
Oren’s Hummus, 71 Third St., 415-915-6736 or orenshummus.com
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