Sababa Mediterranean Grill
Babaganoush – Open fire cooked Eggplant, Tahini, Garlic, Lemon Juice served with Pita
Hummus with Shawarma – Chicken Rotti, Parsley and Tahini with Pita and Pickles
Falafel Pita – Chickpea Fritters, Pickles, Tahini, Hummus, Mediterranean Salad
Located within walking distance of home it was largely a matter of conflicting schedules that had prevented a visit to Sababa Mediterranean Grill in the past, ownership’s observance of Shabbat seeing the space on the corner of Durango and Desert Inn closed from Friday at 3pm until Sunday at eleven o’clock, a relatively light schedule on this particular Friday creating an opportunity to visit a space that has apparently changed ownership several times over the course of its ten year existence.
Presumably a family run space not dissimilar to the likes of Amena and other Mediterranean spots in town, the strong smell of disinfectant prevalent on entry just past 11:30am with no other patrons present and a man who spoke to colleagues in his native tongue seated watching television, it was with curt “hello, what can I get you” that he stood and returned to the counter when a digital menu paraded options slowly, a laminated card with several items crossed off in Sharpie later provided to help better clarify the choices.
Said to be a 100% Kosher space, a warning on the window about bringing in outside food and beverages stressing this while the man in charge also abruptly asked “why you take pictures?” like such a thing were not commonplace or as if he had something to hide, it was with culturally appropriate music playing and Roku idle screens on television that a three part order was placed, the Pita taken from a Styrofoam cooler and briefly warmed before being placed in foil and presented to the table alongside Babaganoush that was thin yet fragrant with Garlic and Herbs plus plenty of Lemon Juice.
Not particularly in love with the Pita Bread, no evidence of it being homemade in terms of the presentation or fluffiness, it was with another round presented similar to the last that the man brought forth an enormous plate of Hummus topped in marinated Chicken cooked for several minutes on the flattop and drizzled with Tahini, the Bird itself juicy and lean with the plenty of Cumin and Garlic flavor while the Hummus was thick and creamy with enough there to share amongst a party of two or more.
Enjoying two plates of Pickles with the Shawarma, though an unexpected segment of Lemon amidst Carrots and Cabbage was a bit assaulting in one bite, it was with the tab paid and a Sandwich taken for later that the man softened his comment on photographs stating he saw someone else doing it the day prior and wondered why, the sloppy presentation of a Falafel Pita perhaps one reason he may not want people Instagramming his food though the Chickpea Fritters were quite flavorful and relatively low in heft compared to most which prevented them from overwhelming the Lettuce, Tomatoes, Pickles, Dressing and Cucumbers.
THREE STARS: Although hospitality could use a little work and cleaning of windows should probably be relegated to the hours between closing on Friday and sundown, Sababa provides good value on the dollar in an ever competitive Mediterranean market, the fact that the restaurant keeps 100% Kosher likely of relevance to many as well.
RECOMMENDED: Hummus with Shawarma, Falafel
AVOID: No Desserts, Pita bread is below average.
TIP: Check Groupon as the restaurant occasionally offers 33-49% off discounts, though the online Grubhub link does not currently appear functional.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.