September 23, 2007

Sabur: Balkan yummies

Several years ago, a restaurant opened in Teele Square in Somerville called Sabur. It had the cheesiest looking sign, with the worst sort of self-conscious faux-ethnic font, and claimed to be "mediterranean cuisine." All of which added up in my mind to an overpriced mediocrity catering to trend-happy yuppies with timid palates. I never went in.

But then over the last year or so, I've heard from several people that the food is delicious. And today, we met up for brunch there to celebrate a friend's birthday -- she lives in the neighborhood and also vouched for the place. And i am thrilled to report that the food is indeed yummy, and though it has flashes of various mediterranean flavors, it is primarily a Balkan restaurant with lots of yogurt, fried breads, ajvar and sausages.

Online reviews mention crappy service, and i will say that our server, though pleasant, was a little spacy -- but certainly not rude, and we didn't wait overlong for anything. The decor is not entirely my cup of tea, but it is warm, richly colored, faintly exotic and has lots of pillows, and suits the place. The patio is rather nice too, if it happens to be warm.

But the reason I will go back is the food. Perfectly crunchy potato pancakes with sour cream and spiced pears. French toast with fresh-fig jam and maple syrup and lots of butter. Spiced meat patties on puffy flatbread with ajvar and feta. Stubby little grilled sausages with yogurt sauce and onions. Flaky tender borek stuffed with crumbly creamy farmer cheese. This food hews closely to the traditional flavor profiles, but busts out a few surprises like the pear compote with the potato pancakes (unless that's a traditional thing i just don't know about). And everything is well executed, if perhaps a little overzealously dusted with chopped parsley. (A pox on THAT particular restaurant trend.)

It wasn't seriously busy despite our arrival at 11am on a Sunday, prime brunching hour on a gorgeous sunny weekend. They are reputed to have very good cocktails in their lounge. Someone might need to have a word with management about the Gypsy Kings CD on perpetual repeat... but I am willing to overlook that for a steady supply of delicious potato pancakes and farmer cheese pastries.

Posted by foodnerd at September 23, 2007 04:13 PM

I don't know if they offer them during brunch, but Sabur has marscapone-stuffed apricots on the dessert menu. During college, some of my roommates worked there and would bring home leftovers all the time - we'd fight over the apricots.

Posted by: Pam at September 23, 2007 08:17 PM
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