Tom Sietsema’s 8 favorite places to eat right now
When Ryan Moore tells you he’s into fermentation, he’s not kidding. The kombucha-obsessed chef counts about 65 hot sauces alone in his walk-in cooler at Sababa, which features the vegetable-rich cuisine of Israel and other Middle Eastern countries, a repertoire of dishes that has been gathering steam at destination restaurants around the country.
“Sababa,” which means “cool” in Hebrew slang, is exactly as advertised. Sharing a wall and connected by a gorgeous zinc bar to Bindaas next door, this Mid-East ode is awash in Mediterranean tiles. But despite the hip digs, it’s all about food here. The fine-tuned menu features Israeli salads, dips and kebabs, but small plates are its heart and soul. Start with salatim, a five-salad starter. Then choose from dishes such as charred eggplant with herbed labneh, fried cauliflower with tahini and raisins or pomegranate-glazed chicken liver. The list goes on, but one thing to never skip is the hummus. It's so much more than the usual, that it's even listed as a daily special. Keeping in line with the sauce is their Israeli- and Greek-focused wine list.
Washingtonian: The Best Rooftop Brunches for Every (Sunny!) Occasion
For under-the-radar space: Sababa and Bindaas
3309 Connecticut Ave., NW
Did you know that there's a small-yet-charming rooftop terrace on the Cleveland Park building that houses Sababa and Bindaas? Most people don't! You can order from either of Ashok Bajaj's restaurants up there, though tables have to pick one menu and can't mix-and-match dishes from the new modern-Israeli restaurant (Sababa) and Indian street food spot (Bindaas). Also note: the space is uncovered, so weather dependent.
2018 Washington Post Spring Dining Guide
Sababa spreads the word about Israeli food
Having opened stylish takes on Indian, Italian and American notions over the decades, restaurateur Ashok Bajaj set his sights on something new this year: modern Israeli cooking. You’ll find it in Cleveland Park, alongside his popular Bindaas, in a room made inviting with illuminated wooden screens on the walls and sails of cloth suspended from the ceiling. Settle in with salatim, an assortment of little dishes that suggest a salad bar, and be sure to try the District’s best halloumi, a slab of warm cheese made delicious with honey and charred lemon. Beyond are charcoal-kissed kebabs (try lamb with beef) and large plates, my pick of which is the catch of the day sparked with lemon and harissa and bundled in grape leaves. The refined nature of much of the food is thanks to chef Ryan Moore, whose background includes kitchen time at such admired dining destinations as Minibar by José Andrés. The transporting appeal of much of the cooking is linked to frequent travel to the Middle East, where the chef has family. He does what he knows, and well.
Cleveland Park adds a ‘cool’ Israeli option to its neighborhood menu
Say “salatim” at Sababa and your table quickly becomes a little salad bar as a handful of colorful dishes are dispatched from the kitchen. They include rainbow carrots tossed with mint and dates, shredded beets sprinkled with pistachios, and roasted red pepper jazzed up with feta cheese — plus pillowy (rye) pita bread to serve as a scoop. Read Full Review >>
Fledgling Sababa’s Grilled Peppers Have to Be the Hottest Thing to Hit Cleveland Park in Ages
Tucked into the bottom of the small plates section of the menu at the new restaurant replacing decades-old Cleveland Park standby Ardeo is a dish both Rammy Award-winning restaurateurAshok Bajaj and his newly minted executive chef Ryan Moore are very excited to spring on the dining public: a platter of flame-grilled hot peppers branded as “Not for the faint of heart.” Read Full Review >>
Israeli Restaurant Sababa Joins Cleveland Park Next Month
Rammy Award-winning restaurateur and James Beard Foundation Award semifinalist Ashok Bajaj is shifting from modern American food to Israeli cooking at Sababa, the new restaurant he’s opening in Cleveland Park within the next few weeks. Read Full Review >>
Restaurateur Ashok Bajaj Will Open Modern Israeli Sababa in Cleveland Park
New York’s food obsessives are all about modern Israeli-influenced spots like Nur. A culinary trip to Philadelphia demands a stop at Jerusalem-styled Zahav. New Orleans is buzzing over James Beard-anointed Shaya. So when is the Israeli food trend coming to DC, beyond fast-casual—that’s not a ding, they’re stellar—spots like Little Sesame hummus shop (reopening soon) and vegan spot Shouk? Read Full Review >>
All the Info on SABABA “Modern Israeli Concept” replacing Ardeo + Bardeo in Mid-March
“Award-winning restaurateur Ashok Bajaj of Knightsbridge Restaurant Group is pleased to announce the mid-March anticipated opening of his latest venture, SABABA, at 3309 Connecticut Avenue, Washington, DC 20008. SABABA replaces Cleveland Park’s 20-year landmark restaurant Ardeo+Bardeo, becoming the new neighbor to popular Bindaas, which remains in service during the buildout of the new restaurant. Read Full Review >>