Wednesday, December 28, 2011 at 2 p.m.
Dr. Hummus' so-good-you'll-never-know-it's vegan spinach and artichoke dip at Herb 'N Flavors.
Farmers' market junkies know all about Dr. Hummus and his array of creative hummus, tapenade, and dip options. Saunter up to the booth, snag a pita chip, and nibble your flavor of choice. Try it before you buy it. (And you'll probably buy it, because Dr. Hummus has made his name making tasty dips.)
The newest venture of the owners of Dr. Hummus is a sit-down restaurant at the southeast corner of McClintock and Broadway in Tempe. Herb 'N Flavors ("urban flavors," a play on words?) opened in October and has been quietly gaining a following among some Tempe residents for its soups, salads, sandwiches, pizzas, and full entrees.
Dr. Hummus and Co. pride themselves in using local, organic ingredients, and offering a largely healthy menu. But what were our first impressions of the casual lunch time vibe of Herb 'N Flavors? Read on to find out.
The GLT from Herb 'N Flavors: gyros, lettuce, tomato, avocado, and spinach 'n artichoke dip.
Our first impressions are that Herb 'N Flavors is suffering from a serious case of mistaken identity.
The humble Mediterranean-style menu, small sales area for pita chips and containers of dip, and decor furnished entirely by IKEA seem more fitted to a casual, place your order at the counter type lunch joint than a full blown, sit-down restaurant.
|Lentil soup from Herb 'N Flavors.|
During lunch, only three tables were occupied, each with their own waiter or waitress, and one busser wandering around trying to find something, anything, to fill the lull. You can only fill a water glass so many times. With no ambient music in the background, it was quiet as crickets and we tried to keep from eavesdropping on the only entertainment around, a group of ladies who lunch speaking loudly at the table next to ours. All in all, a bit of an awkward lunch time vibe. Too casual for such a formal sit down-style eatery, but with price points too high to justify a grab-and-go style diner.
The food we sampled was also hit and miss. The vegan spinach and artichoke dip and many types of hummus are absolutely amazing. Check out Herb 'N Flavors
and don't leave without sampling their tasty, namesake dips
Unfortunately, the cup of lentil soup and Mediterranean salad were much more disappointing. Flavorless soup in serious need of a salt shaker, and an aggressively lemon dressing on an otherwise bland salad that left most of our greens inedible.
Super lemony Mediterranean salad.
Skip the soup 'n' salad and opt for the GLT (gyro, lettuce, and tomato) and strawberry lemonade instead! The gyros were slathered in spinach and artichoke dip, which is a fast way to make anything taste fantastic! The meat was also flavorful and lean, rather than being a grease fest. Add a tart and lightly sweetened strawberry lemonade, and you've got a pretty tasty lunch.
Just be prepared for price points a bit higher than a traditional lunch joint. Then again, traditional lunch joints don't boast locally sourced organic ingredients,
so you're getting what you pay for. Only time will tell if Herb 'N Flavors
has staying power in a town where restaurants tend to turn over as quickly as the semesters.