Americans mostly view hummus as a snack dip, but DGS Delicatessen co-owner Nick Wiseman want to change that perception with the opening of Little Sesame. The 16-seat, counter-order shop below the deli stars hummus as the main event, inspired by quick-service hummusiya in Israel.
Wiseman teamed up with Israeli friend Ronen Tenne to launch the restaurant, whom he met while cooking in New York City. Like any chefs who want to elevate a simple dish, the duo honed in on the ingredients and technique—organic chickpeas from Montana, tahini imported from Israel, both pureed with lemon, oil, and water for maximum richness and a creamy texture. Guests can pick between five hummus bowls, which come with seasonal toppings like crispy cauliflower, green onion, and “everything” spice, or DGS’s chopped pastrami and pickled mustard seeds. All range from $9 to $12, and arrive with a thick round of warm pita, and mixed greens tossed with honey-sumac dressing. For dessert: vanilla ice cream drizzled with more tahini, which Wiseman says boasts a sweet, nutty flavor.
Little Sesame. 1306 18th St., NW (below DGS Delicatessen); 202-463-2104. Open Monday through Friday, 11:30 to 3 pm.