7 Newfangled Hummus Dishes in O.C.

Creative takes are everywhere on the suddenly ubiquitous spread.
photograph by Emily J. Davis.

New PUBlic Legacy hit the ground running with a host of comfort dishes with a twist, its mushrooms and hummus starter among them. One departure: It’s chickpea-free. A technicality! Deeply flavorful, with a luxuriously creamy mouthfeel, the spread is made instead from sunflower seeds. It’s topped with sauteed cremini mushrooms and garlic and arrives with toasted, lightly pressed sourdough, house-made using a 30-year-old starter.

1547 W. KATELLA AVE., ORANGE, 657-598-2450

 

The Avocado & Hummus at Haven Craft Kitchen is listed on the menu under greens as opposed to starters, appropriate given the vibrant hues of the halved whole avocado and topping of arugula. The juxtaposition of the silky hummus and delicate chile crunch—pumpkin seed and chile oil—is irresistible. Olive-oil-brushed and grilled rustic Francese sourdough enhances the experience, as does Haven’s recent tile-and-stone design refresh. You can make it a main: Flat-iron steak and chicken are optional add-ons.

190 S. GLASSELL ST., ORANGE, 714-221-0680

 

The name Tres Muchachos suggests straight-ahead Mexican fare, but Mex-Mediterranean is more like it. The first item on the menu is an artichoke hummus with herb-laced “Roman” chimichurri, encircled on the plate with carpaccio-cut squash and house-made corn chips for dipping. Fennel-roasted pork belly tacos are more Mex; ratatouille chile relleno earns the hyphen. Decor alone begs a visit—one wall of exuberant tiles, two of surrealistic plates—as does Mama Maria’s four-pepper salsa.

333 E. 17TH ST., COSTA MESA, 949-220-7811

 

Though it tops the “Nibbles” list, the generous Fab French onion dip hummus at Blinking Owl Distillery can be more than nibbled by four. The dish is impressively presented with seasonal organic farmers market veggies such as tricolor cauliflower and red-veined baby sorrel, plus lots of grilled sourdough. The French onion component is subtle, which works in its favor when paired with the Nordic-Tini, a martini made with the distillery’s Barrel-Vacationed Aquavit and garnished with dill.

802 E. WASHINGTON AVE., SANTA ANA, 714-852-3947

 

The red-pepper hummus at Hendrix pops with piquillo peppers and the spice blend za’atar. Chef Rainer Schwarz plates it with feta cheese, mint, peppadew peppers, pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and fried-to-order pita chips presented on their edge.

32431 GOLDEN LANTERN, LAGUNA NIGUEL, 949-248-1912

 

The butternut-squash hummus at super-stylish Solstice is prettily topped with svelte squash slices, sorrel leaves, and coarse-ground Aleppo pepper. Alongside is a little pail filled with crudités and a plank of toasted house-made focaccia.

18555 JAMBOREE ROAD, IRVINE, 949-241-7088

 

Hummus & Meatballs, happy-hour highlight and dinner appetizer at Outpost Kitchen near South Coast Plaza, finds veal meatballs on a bed of lemon-garlic hummus with rosemary-infused lemon oil. It’s garnished with cucumber, rosemary, and peanuts.

3420 BRISTOL ST., COSTA MESA, 714-852-3044