Open, Little Sesame: DGS Delicatessen’s Hummus Shop Debuts

DC gets its first Israeli-style hummusiya.

Little Sesame serves hummus bowls topped with seasonal ingredients, plus salad and pita. Photograph by Scott Suchman

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 is at the front of what may become a hummusiya trend in the United States, joining Zahav chef Michael Solomonov’s Dizengoff in Philadelphia.

Little Sesame. 1306 18th St., NW (below DGS Delicatessen); 202-463-2104. Open Monday through Friday, 11:30 to 3 pm.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.