The struggle is so real, you guys. I’m not even sure if I’m talking more about the struggle to keep up posting or the struggle to lose weight or what. Just…all around struggle. The struggle brought me to Little Sesame in Chinatown and I sure am glad it did.
Like many budget eateries around DC, Little Sesame has a concept I’m not sure I quite understand. You can choose a hummus bowl or a pita or mezze. Every one of those things has multiple pre-selected options, which sets it apart from the more traditional fast casual places. You order at the counter but then they bring the food to you in real bowls with real silverware (!!!) so you can feel just a little fancy. The cashier suggested we do the 3-mezze dinner special, which annoyingly didn’t include their braised beef special mezze that they only do on weekends, so we ordered that as an add-on. The three mezze of our choosing were served with a cup of their house hummus, which seems to be the thread that runs through all food here.
Let’s start with the hummus. Thick, creamy, completely smooth. I don’t even have anything to compare this to. We used Little Sesame’s house hot sauces to spice it up a little (I recommend the red habañero sauce). The pita was like 10% bread and 90% pillow, still warm. I can die happy now.
The beets with turmeric tahini mezze (left) was delightful. Two of my favorite foods of all time, together as one! The beets were sweet but not over-roasted. The braised beef (right) was ridonculous. The meat fell apart with the slightest touch of a fork. The sauce was hearty with stewed chickpeas and the right amount of seasoning. The one drawback was the marinated egg, which was overcooked and just didn’t add anything.
The chicken shawarma was delectable; definitely my favorite dish of the evening, which is saying a lot. It was tender and herbal, and pickled red onions make my world go round. The perfect topping. The cauliflower on the right had a great flavor with ALL THE ZA’ATAR but was over-roasted and kinda mushy as a result. Minor complaints, though. It still went all in my belly.
We rounded off the meal with a small diet cheat–their vanilla tahini softserve, for which you get two complementary toppings. We picked halva dust and cocoa nibs. Bonus: the softserve is dairy free, but I still haven’t figured out what the primary ingredient actually is (aside from magic, obvi). It was not too sweet but also could have used some more tahini flavor (or maybe I just needed to order tahini on top). All in all, a good way to round out the meal. Glad I got it once, don’t need it again.
Price: $15 per person.
Bottom line: If Little Sesame had table service, I would easily pay double their very reasonable prices, and I wouldn’t even be mad about it.