Mid-City dwellers and employees at the University Medical Center and surrounding criminal justice buildings now have another option to get their hummus and falafel fix.
Jerusalem Cafe (2132 Tulane Ave., 504-509-7729) opened in December across the street from the University Medical Center and next door to long-time diner Anita's Restaurant. The cafe takes over the space formerly held by the soul food take-out spot Mama’s Cooking. It’s the first restaurant for Ali Hinawi, who is from Jerusalem and emigrated to New Orleans nearly two decades ago.
“I’ve worked in restaurants in the past and I thought (now) was a good time to open one," Hinawi said. "I wanted to really show people our culture and our food.”
The spot’s menu reads like any other number of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean restaurants in the area. Appetizers feature hummus, baba ghanoush, lebnah, stuffed grape leaves, fried haloumi cheese, za’atar bread and qudsia
, a mix of mashed fava beans and hummus. Salads like fattoush and tabouleh can accompany larger platters of falafel, chicken or beef shawarma, lamb kebabs and gyro meat drizzled with tahini sauce. A short dessert selection includes Turkish baklava, nammura,
a semolina dessert made with almonds, rosewater and honey, and kunafah,
a pastry with cheese and dough soaked in honey.
No alcohol is served, but a glass refrigeration case stocks soft drinks and the kitchen serves hot drinks including traditional Lebanese tea and Turkish coffee.
Jerusalem Cafe is open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.