Once, we saw someone at Seatac airport eating raw brussels sprouts from a Ziploc as if it were a bag of popcorn. It was pretty traumatizing. Airports are bad enough - we don’t need to see anyone gnawing on mini cabbages while someone else is already clipping their nails into their toiletry satchel.
Vegetables usually taste better when lots of other ingredients are involved (and when they’re not eaten out of a ziploc). Homer, a Mediterranean restaurant in Beacon Hill, understands this. The vegetables here are as good as a free upgrade to first class.
It’s like a Hidden Valley commercial here, only indoors and with more alcohol. There’s a lively buzz of happy people with lambrusco spritzes in their hands and kohlrabi on their plates who are likely debating whether the pattern on the wallpaper depicts ostriches or emus. You can smell whiffs of pita baking at all times, and watch the owner running around refilling water and giving out samples of homemade tahini soft serve. We’ve never seen so many people with such high vitamin A levels outside of the imagined utopia created by a ranch dressing company. Oh, and regarding the wallpaper, we’re pretty sure they’re ostriches.
Though Homer isn’t a vegetarian restaurant, the vegetables greatly outnumber the meat dishes (2.25 to 1 to be exact), and are the clear winners of the menu. There’s a grilled beet dish with pumpkin seeds and a green cilantro sauce that made someone we were with go from fearing beets to loving them in a matter of bites. The charred carrots with a balsamic-mustard sauce that we’d rather eat instead of BBQ are also very good. And, there’s a wedge of burned cabbage with fresh stracciatella cheese, olive oil, sesame, za’atar, and crunchy peanuts, which makes us wish those memory-erasing devices from Men In Black were real so that we could relive our first taste over and over again.
But even though we’d pick these vegetables up from the airport during rush hour doesn’t mean your most carnivorous friend who merely dabbles in plant-eating won’t love this place too. The meat dishes are immensely satisfying, but we recommend you use them to complement the vegetables, rather than the other way around. There’s a pile of tender lamb ragu that requires space on your table and real estate on some hot bread. And the roasted chicken that comes with a bright fruit sauce and pita soaked in jus is delicious. We would definitely keep watch of its luggage while it runs into Hudson News for a $40 neck pillow, and then let it have the aisle seat on the flight to Punta Cana.
If you already eat lots of vegetables willingly, you’re going to love Homer. If you only eat them to fulfill your daily quota, you’ll be very pleasantly surprised. If you literally hate the sight of a rutabaga, you’ll still have an excellent meal of meat dishes and things that came out of the ground. Who knows, it might even inspire you to try some raw brussels sprouts afterward.
You should always start your meal at Homer with the spreads. You’ll get a cumin-y hummus, very tangy labneh with roasted tomatoes, and a zesty walnut-squash dip. They’re all delicious, as is the pita that just came out of the oven. Don’t burn your fingers.
Grab some pita and make a sandwich with this one. It’s kind of like a Swedish meatball situation made with lamb instead of beef, and tahini instead of sour cream sauce. Oh yeah, and you’re not at IKEA.
The last time you were this excited over a piece of burnt cabbage, it was probably because you burned some and realized you didn’t have to eat it anymore. However, you need to experience this pile of smoky and soft cabbage covered in stracciatella cheese, za’atar spices, olive oil, and peanuts. Cabbage, you’re alright, kid. We’re sorry we underestimated you.
You can really taste the light smoke on the ricotta, which goes well with the honey and charred sourdough. We prefer the pita and spreads over this, but you’ll still be very happy with it.
How do you make a carrot infinitely more interesting? You char it and douse it with a balsamic mustard situation that tastes like fancy BBQ sauce. Or, you could teach it how to juggle flaming batons. But this way is easier.
Someone we were with who doesn’t even like beets ate this and promptly exclaimed, “Yum, beets!” We’ll leave it at that.
This rivals the roasted chicken at Opus Co., and that’s not a statement to be taken lightly. The skin is perfectly crispy, the inside is juicy and flavorful, the fruit sauce has an ideal balance of salty, sweet, and spicy, and there’s a pita at the bottom, soaking up all of the juices to become a Franken-side that’s just as comforting as a mound of mashed potatoes or cheesy grits. Yes. This is your order, meat-eaters.
You’re better off with the other entrees here, and it’s not because the ribs aren’t great. It’s because they aren’t great every time. Usually, they contain tender bites of excellence that we like to smother in the creamy dill dip that comes with it, but one time several small bone fragments ended up in our teeth, and another time, there was only about a centimeter’s worth of lamb meat that was actually edible. Take your chances, or get the chicken and live a beautiful, low-risk life.
Did you really come here to decline a big, delicious bowl of chocolate/tahini swirl? Do the right thing.