Tel Aviv Vibes: Inside Rice Village’s Brightly Modern New Hamsa

Kirsten Gilliam
Tel Aviv Vibes: Inside Rice Village’s Brightly Modern New Hamsa

Grilled branzino

When it’s hot, you crave lighter fare, served in a breezy environment. Nothing too rich but humming instead with bright flavors and healthfulness. So modern Hamsa in Rice Village, a lovely modern setup with a hip soundtrack of Tel Aviv pop, is right on time this summer. Emanating from the Israeli masterminds of Doris Metropolitan steakhouse and Badolina bakery, it joins an exciting foodie scene emerging in the neighborhood also home to year-old Gratify, the beloved and newly expanded Sweet Paris Creperie & Café and, coming soon, Navy Blue from Aaron Bludorn and wife Victoria Pappas.


Lovers of Middle Eastern cuisine will find many of the gastronomic touchstones they expect on Hamsa chefs Sash Kurgan and Yotam Dolev’s compact menu — hummus, skewers — but with twists. Hummus, for example, may come Shakshuka-style, topped with an egg soft-poached in spicy tomato sauce. Or, then again, it may arrive piled with caramelized onions, pine nuts and cubes of roasted lamb. Other shareable starters include beef tartare with pomegranates, runny egg yolk and aioli — and the utterly guiltless cauliflower couscous with cranberries and almonds offered up on a plate lined with creamy, tangier-than-yogurt labneh.

Mains include the most appealing chicken shawarma ever — chunks of juicy chicken thighs cooked in lamb fat, which you mix with pickled veggies and tahini and stuff into fluffy fresh-baked pita — and grilled branzino, which is butterflied, grilled till the skin is crispy and delicious, and served atop a snappy, sweetly herbaceous fennel salad. Desserts are beautiful, as in the pink-hued, architectural, lightly rosewater-infused Basboosa Malabi cake, and the grilled pear served in a cardamom-scented syrup made from its own cooking liquids.

Basboosa Malabi cake

The bar

Falafel

Flatbread

Gin and Tonic

Shakshuka Hummus

Food
Ancient French Wellness Cures Reimagined at Houston’s Escape Spa: The Power of Vichy

Serial entrepreneur and spa visionary LeBrina Jackson

NESTLED IN THE heart of France, the town of Vichy holds a rich history in the world of wellness and hydrotherapy. Acquiring fame for their alkaline springs in the 17th century, the Romans were among the first to recognize the therapeutic benefits of the springs. They established a French spa known as “Vichy,” which still exists today and continues to attract spa-goers from around the world to experience the transformative effects of hydrotherapy.

Keep ReadingShow less

Emily Peterson

THE ARTS OF Healing organization has grown tremendously over the past few years, and this spring, Tootsies hosted a crowd of 300-plus for a charitable style show featuring 20 influential physicians and medical professionals.

Keep ReadingShow less
Parties

Robert Clay, Dana Barton, Bobbie Nau and Tony Bradfield

DINNER ON THE stage is always a special privilege for arts patrons — and the annual Houston Symphony Wine Dinner and Collector’s Auction, served on the stage of the Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, was arguably even more spectacular than usual. After all, in addition to the uniquely striking setting, Symphony supporters also were treated a multi-course meal by chef Aaron Bludorn, paired with wines chosen by John and Lindy Rydman and Lisa Rydman Lindsey of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods.

Keep ReadingShow less