Soom is the Hebrew word for sesame, and there's plenty of sesame to be had the new Soom Soom recently opened at The Works outdoor mall (previously known as The Edge) in El Segundo.
This represents the sixth in the expanding chain of the LA based Israeli-Mediterranean eateries, which started in November of 2016.
Longtime friends Ronit Machlouf and Zahi Ofengart created the concept—she's the business side, and he's the foodie.
Many of the dishes are adaptations of family recipes, with everything made daily from scratch.
They import their high-quality tahini (sesame paste, used in hummus and other sauces) from Israel. They are also the sole distributors of the special pita bread they serve—also shipped from Israel, half-baked, and then finished in the Soom Soom ovens in small batches all day to ensure it is fresh and fluffy.
If you haven't heard of Soom Soom, it's likely because they don't do any marketing.
The owners prefer to let the food speak for itself. As they put it, "The flavor talks...our first restaurant on Third Street usually has a line out the door."
Jamal Bryant is the store manager in El Segundo. This is his third Soom Soom and his experience shows. Opened just two days when I visited, the place was running like it had been there for months.
The menu offers typical Mediterranean fare; shawarma, and kebabs and falafel. But you will also find the Sabich—a traditional Israeli/Iraqi pita sandwich of fried eggplant and egg with hummus. They are also known for their seasoned roasted cauliflower, which can be enjoyed as side or as a meat substitute in a sandwich.
Entrees come with either fluffy basmati rice speckled with carrot and parsley, or a chewy Israeli pearl couscous, and up to four side salads, a pretty array of fresh offerings such as red cabbage, hummus, white cabbage, cucumber med, carrots and pickled turnips.
I tried both the falafel and the chicken shawarma.
The falafel are crisp and light, with a little kick of a heat and a vibrant herby green color. Chicken shawarma is a generous pile of thinly sliced chicken mildly seasoned with cumin and turmeric. You can choose from three house sauces; spicy red chili, yellow mango-curry sauce, and mild tahini.
Don't miss the pita and the hummus. Usually a ho-hum side dish, they are the star of the show here—the hummus thick and creamy, and the pita warm, soft and fluffy as promised.
Soom Soom is located at 700 S. Allied Way, El Segundo, (323) 503-2299, soomsoomfresh.com They are open daily.
Eileen Shields is a South Bay food writer: contact at email@example.com