The Best Thing I Ate All Week: Muhammara from Yasma

It’s the dip to end all dips.

Last April, my roommates and I started getting takeout every Friday. It started as a Fun Way to Celebrate the Weekend (and support local restaurants). Since, it has transformed into The Only Thing I Have to Look Forward To each and every week. Through moving house, changing seasons, and COVID numbers rising and falling, Friday takeout has persevered.

Which means that deciding what to order every week is a bit of an extreme sport. I usually start thinking about Friday’s dinner on Monday morning. It’s always a toss-up between our favourite Kits spots or trying something new outside of the neighbourhood (and arguing over who has to drive to pick it up).

Yasma is both new(ish) and close to me. The Syrian/Lebanese restaurant opened late 2020 and runs out of Dark Table’s kitchen at West 4th and Trafalgar. It’s a very unassuming spot—a chalkboard sign on Trafalgar states instructions to call once you’ve arrived, and someone will come out and give you your order through the parking garage. My partner and I picked two familiar menu items—their lamb burger and tawouk (grilled chicken) burger, both with fries—and one dish we’d never had before: Muhammara. It’s a Syrian red pepper dip, and it’s delicious.

Yasma’s Muhammara ($13) is made with sun-dried red peppers and topped with pomegranate molasses, tahini, walnuts, bread crumbs, mint and black sesame seeds. I’m not a huge fan of hummus, and this is like the chickpea dip’s much hotter, pink-haired cousin. It’s served cold but has quite a kick to it, and the crunch of the pomegranate and walnuts is awesome. On top of that, the dish is beautiful—full of colour and texture, and definitely worth a quick photo before digging in. They serve a good, hefty portion: that plus the burgers and fries was too much for two people, and we were able to save half the Muhammara for the next day. Speaking of which, it’s also great the next day, which is more than you can say for a lot of takeout.

A shout-out is also due to the fries, which were chunky, crunchy on the outside and pillowy-soft on the inside. They were possibly the best I’ve ever had, but I only got 5. 5!!! Should I take into account that they were so thick-cut, it was easily at least one full potato? Probably. Did I need more? No. Did I want more? Absolutely. But they went for quality over quantity, and I’ll respect that.

If you’re in the midst of fighting over takeout options with your roommates/partner/family, this one’s a bulls-eye. Now you just have to draw straws for who picks up.