Ms. Dr. Oz, the Greater Ozlet and I had dinner at the Hummus Bar & Grill (18473 Ventura Blvd. in Tarzana) last night, at the Ozlet's suggestion -- she had eaten there once before, but it was the first time for me and Ms. Dr. Oz. We were all VERY favorably impressed.
When you sit down they bring out three little bowls -- pickles/olives, a moderately spicy cabbage salad (think kim chee, but not nearly as spicy), and whole garbonzos with tahini -- and a big round of flatbread, hot out of the oven. We nibbled on these while choosing what else to order, and ended up with the following:
Hummus with mushrooms, as an appetizer. We all thought it was the best hummus we'd ever had.
3 koubbeh, as an appetizer. Hard to describe: they look like Scotch eggs, but are beef and pine nuts wrapped in a dough and fried, served with tahini. Delicious.
The Greater Ozlet had a schwarma plate, with fries and an Israeli salad, i.e., chopped tomatoes and cucumbers (from a choice of 7 sides: fries, rice, mashed potatoes, salad, steamed vegetables, white cabbage and red cabbage).
Ms. Dr. Oz had shakshuka -- spicy tomato stew with 2 eggs poached in it, served with Israeli salad.
My plan was to order the "assortment of house salads" -- 10 to 12 little bowls of various salads, with unlimited refills. It turns out, though, that everybody at the table has to order it (which I guess makes sense). So I had a lamb skewer, which I ordered with fries and a salad. But the waitress said, "since you wanted the assortment of salads, I'll bring you one of those instead of the regular salad, if you want. We don't usually do that, but ...." So I ordered an eggplant salad. When she brought my meal, she brought out BOTH a grilled eggplant dish with tahini, AND baba ganoush -- saying "I didn't know which kind of eggplant you wanted, so ...."
We all drank water, and Ms. Dr. Oz had a cup of tea (tea bag and a big handful of mint leaves) after dinner.
All of the food was terrific, and the portions are very large -- plus they keep bringing out more bread, and on the off chance you finish your salad they bring more of that too. (I finished all of my lamb, but both of the ladies took food home.) I had been interested to see how brusque the service would be, having read that it can be; it is, after all, an Israeli place. But quite to the contrary, all of the waitstaff was very friendly, and eager to make suggestions as to what was good on the menu. Nor did any of them try to push us to order more, as I had read other commenters say they had experienced.
Price was $57 for the three of us (with tax, before tip). A significant bargain, considering how good the food was and how large the portions were. I will certainly go back -- gotta try that assortment of house salads, after all.