At my full time job I work with a very diverse group of people, and I mean that in every sense. We are from different countries, religions, ages and preferences. While a smaller group of us make our ritual bi-weekly run to AKA Sushi for the 2-roll lunch special, its somewhat more challenging to find a place the whole lot of us will enjoy.
To that end, I thought Saba’s might be universally appealing. Turns out – I was right.
Saba’s is a kosher, Israeli-run restaurant and to my knowledge the only one in Houston serving Israeli dishes like Shakshuka and Malawach. I noticed on this trip it seems their menu has expanded but I was happy to see Shakshuka on the menu. Shakshuka, in case you’re aren’t familiar, starts with a base of tomatoes, onions and pepper, seasoned and cooked down. Next a couple of depressions are made in the base then eggs are cracked into them and allowed to poach. The whole lot is typically served with pita, hummus and Israeli salad; finely diced tomato and cucumber, usually accompanied by self-serve lemon juice, olive oil and hot pepper.
On a trip to Israel to visit family, I think I irritated the hell out of my cousin, since I made her stop at every single place serving Shakshuka between Tel Aviv and the Dead Sea . At least I have a surrogate now and its a little closer.
Saba’s is a small family-run restaurant with very little pretense; its clean, pleasant and efficient but the focus is on the plate.
So, I was a little worried about dropping 14 extra people on their typically light-traffic lunch hour but they didn’t miss a beat. Israeli’s, in case you didn’t know, are a frighteningly efficient lot. They can also be painfully blunt and short, however this is not the case at Saba’s.
I keep ordering the Israeli dishes: Shakshuka and Malawach and both are exceptional. I like the combinations of flavors and textures in Shakshuka. The base is flavorful and thick, the eggs firm, the pita hot and soft, the hummus creamy and rich and the Israeli salad is fresh and crunchy. I’m not sure how they season their base but when I make it at home I keep it simple: salt, Aleppo pepper, lemon juice and maybe a pinch of cayenne.
Aside from the fish dishes, most everything is $10 or less. Also, should you want to take home some hummus they have a small ($4) and large ($7) to go option. Pita included.
If you’re ever looking for a casual place to take a mixed group of people or you just want to try a typical Israeli dish, I highly recommend Saba’s. Its not very visible from the street but it is located exactly at the stated address. Also, be aware, they are closed on Saturday for Sabbath.
Lunch: 13 May 2013
Saba’s | 9704 Fondren | Houston TX 77096