Taste Bud: Avocado hummus intrigues

Jan 22, 2014 at 6:00 am
Taste Bud: Avocado hummus intrigues

The first time I went to Big Four Burgers + Beer in Jeffersonville (134 Spring St.), I ordered a burger (duh) before noticing something quite intriguing on the menu I had missed: avocado hummus.

Obviously, I vowed to go back — well, right after letting out a small squeal — to try this strange, exotic concoction. I couldn’t stop wondering: Does it taste more like guacamole or hummus? Will it be chunky or smooth? Does it taste better with corn chips or pita? And why didn’t Big Four call it Hummamole?

Upon my return, I read the description more closely and learned that key ingredients include avocado, cilantro, pickled onions and roasted peppers. Ah, but many of those ingredients come as a garnish.

And since tahini is a goo that is also a key ingredient in hummus, which often is made with whipped chickpeas, what I got was something that looked a lot like guacamole but tasted a lot like hummus. And, just to make sure I was still off balance, Big Four topped it off with a few chunks of feta cheese, true to the Greek side of the dish.

It was a nice presentation; the white feta against the mini-salad of cilantro and other veggies provided a nice contrast, and the smooth green hummus was quite inviting. It was served in a bowl with a side of warm pita triangles for dipping.

And dip we did. My dinner companion Cynthia and I noted that, really, anything would be good in this stuff — vegetables, crackers, “Fritos,” she said.

Cynthia also noted that the stuff would be an outstanding sandwich topper, which is absolutely right. Like hummus should be, it’s creamy, fresh-tasting and refreshing. The addition of cilantro, bits of pepper and onions also adds an extra zing to the flavor profile.

Avocado hummus on a club sandwich? Or how about a grilled cheese? Now we’re getting somewhere.

The appetizer is the brainchild of Big Four chef Chuck Starcher, and so far it has been well received.

“It’s selling really good,” said Big Four owner Matt McMahan. “The only issue is everyone loves the pretzel sticks and beer cheese.”

Wait, the avocado hummus has been upstaged? Now I wish I had tried the beer cheese and pretzels, too.

Anyway, if I had a complaint about the Hummamole (I’m not going to let that go), it was that the cilantro flavor didn’t seem to come through, at least to my palate — and cilantro is not an easy flavor to hide. Even bites I tried that had larger cilantro leaves didn’t seem to pop with that signature flavor. Maybe my taste buds were having an off night, because I can’t imagine the cilantro was broken.

It also bears mentioning that we split a Big Four Classic burger, which is a half-pound patty with cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions and Big Four sauce, which seemed somewhat familiar. Imagine a Big Mac on steroids, and you’re in the neighborhood.

Seriously, it’s a good thing we split it instead of each getting one. That was one filling — and delicious, I should note — burger.

Also, if you go, I highly recommend the garlic fries. All the fries at Big Four are great, but the thick, skin-on potato slices combined with the garlic are a must-try.

I wonder if they’d be good dipped in Hummamole? Hmm.