12 Chairs

Do you like hummus?  Do you like pita?  Do you like it when these items are made really, ridiculously well?  Then 12 Chairs is the place for you.  The room is rustic and cozy, and its wooden furniture and soft lighting are conducive to hunkering down and getting into some dips.  Pro-tip: bring friends you are comfortable sharing food with, because this menu is best when the table is full with one of everything.  Sharing also makes it extremely affordable, something that never ceases to amaze in this city.

12 chairs opened ten years ago as a small neighborhood coffee shop in Soho and has evolved to a destination restaurant with a full menu and a strong social media following.  Having recently opened a second location in Brooklyn, the constant that is key to 12 Chairs’ success are fresh ingredients and warm service.

Did I mention they serve breakfast all day? Shakshuka for dinner is one of my favorite things, and at 12 Chairs, all this (and omelettes!) can be yours.  Not to mention that you can point to pretty much anything on the menu and have a fantastic meal.  Everybody wins.

FOOD PICKS

Hummus

12 chairs hummus

Creamy and flavorful, this is an absolute all-star.  Your heart will sink the next time you’re forced to buy Sabre after eating this.

Falafel

After various (failed) attempts at making falafel at home over the years, I am always amazed at how expertly restaurants are able to create tiny balls of perfection.  The falafel at 12 Chairs is no exception.  Delightfully crispy on the outside and seasoned so spiritedly on the inside that they are a verdant green, this was fantastic.

Baba Ganoush

Thick and creamy, reminiscent of a spinach and artichoke dip but without dairy (!), while this dip looks rather unappetizing it was completely delicious.

Eggplant Baladi

12 chairs eggplant baladi

Baby eggplant is cored out and grilled and smothered in tahini and pine nuts.  If you are a fan of eggplant, you will be a fan of this.

Mini Lamb Kebabs

These delectable meat snacks are skewered and grilled to absolute perfection.

Labneh

Homemade yogurt-cheese comes to the table alongside zesty za’taar spices and a generous heap of olive oil.  It’s good, but not as good as the hummus/baba option.

Chicken Schnitzel Salad

12 chairs schnitzel salad.jpg

 

An excellent choice out of the “healthier” menu items, the chicken is pounded very thin and lightly breaded.  A simple Israeli salad of Persian cucumbers, red onion and tomato with tahini drizzled on top checks all the boxes for flavor and health.

Shakshuka

12 chairs shakshuka

This is one of my favorite foods, period.  A hot skillet filled with a spicy Moroccan tomato based sauce and topped with two eggs are baked in the oven at a high heat and served concurrently with a freshly baked pita.

56 Macdougal Street

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