Michael Solomonov sees a bit of Tel Aviv in Wynwood. "The vibrancy, the excitement, the energy — there are a lot of synergies between them," the James Beard Award-winning chef says.
That's the reasoning behind Solomonov bringing his Philadelphia-based Dizengoff to Miami. Named for Tel Aviv's main promenade, the intimate fast-casual restaurant is molded after an Israeli hummusiya, which Solomonov describes as "the place where you wander into and you know you can get a great bowl of hummus."
Unlike the ancient hummusiyas of Israel that Solomonov describes as being "a place that a guy boils a few pots of chickpeas," Dizengoff Miami is bright and cheerful, with a wall of colored tiles that happen to match exactly the house-made pickled vegetables (purely by coincidence, according to staffers). An Israeli poster hawking Justin Timberlake in concert graces the bathroom door. The menu board and T-shirts are hot pink, a nod to the eatery's new Miami digs.
The menu is simple and affordable. For $10 (tax included), you can get a bowl of freshly made hummus served with a side of bright, crisp cucumbers, tomatoes, and pickles alongside a whole fluffy pita still warm from the oven. The meal is tangy and satisfying. With an extra pita ($1) and a hard-boiled egg ($1), one order is enough to share for a light lunch or snack.
Invest a few bucks more and you'll receive hummus with corn ($12), roasted onion ($12), lamb merguez ($13), or a hummus of the day (price varies with topping). The restaurant is kosher-style, which means vegans can find multiple items to enjoy dairy-free as long as they steer clear of the meat offerings.
Wash your hummus down with a frozen lemonnana made with mint ($3) for a glorious brain freeze. Soon the restaurant will offer local beer and wine. A safe prediction is that a Dizengoff beer-and-lemonnana shandy is something every Miamian will covet in the future.
It's not every day that a James Beard winner delves into affordable fare, but Solomonov understands that people shouldn't need to drop hundreds of dollars to eat well. "I want to be able to eat at the restaurants that I cook in," the chef says.
Dizengoff opens on the heels of Solomonov's other Miami venture, Federal Donuts. The fried-chicken-and-doughnut restaurant is conveniently located next door, making it the perfect spot to grab a fancy doughnut for dessert after having hummus for dinner.
Dizengoff. 250 NW 24th St., Miami; 305-573-9292; dizengoffhummus.com. Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
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