Where to Humaari, a pop-up from chef Louis DiBiccari (Tavern Road) that recently started a six-month stint at Wink & Nod.
What for A tahini-centric ramble through world flavors — you’ll find traditional hummus, but also Turkish BBQ chicken liver mousse, dukkah gnocchi, and grilled red curry flat-iron steak.
The scene As always at Wink & Nod, a culinary incubator that hosts rotating pop-ups, it is very dark and very loud. Groups of friends lounge in red booths, looking Instagrammable against flocked velvet wallpaper, and several dates are underway — 20-something Tinder meet-and-greets beside comfortable, long-term couples. A board behind the bar invites drinkers to follow the bartenders on social media. Two bearded gents pull up stools and contemplate the cocktail list. “Hello there, boys,” says a friendly bartender with a nod (but no wink). “How you doing?”
What you’re eating Hummus is a must, but which version? It comes with fried cauliflower and grapes, braised chicken and tomato gravy, and sauteed beef, in addition to the straight-up standard. There are mezze-style small plates, such as lamb kofteh with smoky eggplant and charred lemon, or twice-fried za’atar wings, or scallop crudo with orange, fennel, and Urfa pepper. Large plates might include braised lamb shank with fried basmati, olives, and raisins; monkfish, littlenecks, and mussels with white beans and sumac in a roasted pepper broth; or an order-ahead, divergent-from-theme porchetta with crab and shellfish risotto. End the meal back on point with warm tahini chocolate chip cookies and vanilla ice cream.
Care for a drink? If you’re feeling matchy-matchy, perhaps a cocktail called the Open Sesame — Scotch, tahini, almond, falernum, and black sesame. There’s also the pun-derful Cumin Knock on My Door (vodka, St-Germain, cumin, honey, yogurt, egg white, and lime).
Overheard Talk about dating, work, dating, cocktails, and dating. “A lot of people where I grew up are married,” says a young man to his companion. “Married with kids. Divorced with kids.” Someone sniffs his own shirt and laughs. “Maybe I smell a little of booze.” A devoted worker is detailing his labors: “I really love my job. I want that contract. I stayed laaaate.” “You wanna move in with me?,” someone asks a new acquaintance. “I need a roommate!” A woman takes in the scene, then shakes her head. “Other people’s dates stress me out,” she says.
3 Appleton St., South End, Boston, 617-482-0117, www.winkandnod.com.Devra First can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @devrafirst.