Dish: Sabur

It’s the spot for a taste of the Mediterranean in Teele Square
grilled chicken on skewers
Grilled chicken skewers with salad and honey thyme yogurt sauce are one of the appetizers on offer at Sabur restaurant and lounge. Photo: Emily Zilm
February 27, 2012

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This is one in an occasional series about eating establishments in neighborhoods near Tufts’ three campuses. Have a suggestion for a place for our roving diners to explore? Email us at now@tufts.edu. You can also follow Dish on Foursquare.

During the long New England winters, many of us dream of a warmer—or just exotic—climate. But if the Mediterranean isn’t in the cards, you can still experience some of that ambience close to home, at Sabur restaurant and lounge in Somerville’s Teele Square.

Entrées at Sabur, located at 212 Holland St., are infused with mouthwatering tastes and aromas of the region. My personal favorite is an appetizer: grilled shrimp wrapped in grape leaves and served with a spicy saffron rouille, an olive oil sauce with breadcrumbs, garlic, saffron and chili peppers. Not too hot, but with just enough bite on the tongue to bring all the flavors into bloom.

Grilled shrimp skewers wrapped in grape leaves, served with saffron aioli. Photo: Emily ZilmFor the main course, I can never resist the seared sea scallops with crab polenta cakes and asparagus, flavored with sweet fruity Moscato wine and truffle butter sauce. The bouquet of flavors will stay with you for days.

Carnivores should try the hearth-roasted lamb and vegetables au jus. I am not a lamb lover, but enjoyed several bites from my dining partner’s plate. Juicy and not overly seasoned—it must be the slow roasting that mellows any gamey taste to savory.

For vegetarians, dive into the vegetable tagine, a North African specialty named for the earthenware dish in which it is cooked, served over couscous with sultanas, almonds, cinnamon and dates. The roasted root vegetables include sweet potatos, parsnips and carrots in a hearty, fragrant stew that requires no meat to fully satisfy both hunger pangs and the palette.

The main dining room is a pleasant place to spend the dinner hour. Persian rugs cover the ceramic-tiled floors, setting off the round, hammered-copper tables. A stone hearth adds warmth, and conversation is enhanced by traditional music from the eastern Mediterranean.

Or, when you just want to kick back after a day at the office, head to Sabur’s lounge. There you can relax on pillow-covered couches or upholstered chairs and feast on appetizers accompanied by your favorite beverage. I favor their Manhattans on the rocks—Jack Daniels with a hint of vermouth will warm any evening. The wine list is not expansive, but filled with well-chosen selections; the house pinot grigio by the glass is one of the better I have tasted.

Cevapcici—grilled Balkan sausages served with onion, warm pita and chilled yogurt sauce. Photo: Emily ZilmA combo selection my after-work companions and I enjoy in the lounge includes the salmon in filo pastry with goat cheese and truffle oil; the hand-stretched burek pastry filled with beef, potato and onion; the grilled chicken skewers with yogurt-thyme honey sauce; and the potato and celery-root cakes with pear-spiced relish and sour cream. This is plenty for four or five to share. Or for lighter dining, just order the mezze—a chef’s selection of small dishes, including hummus, pita, cheese-stuffed grape leaves, olives and other specialties of the day.

And when spring does finally arrive, enjoy alfresco dining or drinks and nibbles just off the lounge on the umbrella-festooned deck. In any season, going around the corner to Sabur feels like a trip around the globe.

Sabur is located at 212 Holland St., Somerville, 617.776.7890. More information, including menus, can be found here.  

Gail Bambrick can be reached at gail.bambrick@tufts.edu.

Read earlier Dish entries:

Dish: Five Horses Tavern

Dish: Foundry on Elm

Dish: A Donut Smackdown

Dish: Dumpling Cafe

Dish: Yak and Yeti

 

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