Saba is Alon Shaya’s new restaurant on Magazine. Blissfully (for many) Besh-free since there was allll that drama (and like that whole thing in HBO’s Treme when a chef loses the right to their own name on their own (well formerly own) restaurant), Alon isn’t at Shaya, he’s at Saba.
Just as a complete aside, for the times I or someone in my family was in John Besh’s company, he was always super crazy nice. Friendly and wonderful and humble. You just never know how people :::really::: are sometimes. I had a really unfortunate experience with someone who runs an influential food organization, but the rest of the world thinks he’s fab and they name hamburgers in his honor. It’s a thing. As far as I know, John Besh has stayed quiet. Maybe he’s gotten counseling or just decided to lay low. America is a forgiving place (insert basically endless list of ill-behaved celebs & politicians here) and there’s this weird part of us collectively, I think, that finds the act of crashing and burning and then being all apologetic and going away for a while and then making some kind of amazing return intriguing and affirming.
Oh wait. Before we get started, let’s roll back for a sec to how incredible the Chanukah supper was that Alon was a big part of in Oxford, Mississippi this past December.
Oh and SPOILER ALERT: one of the great desserts of my life straight ahead.
So reservations at Saba are made not with OpenTable but with Resy. We had an early lunch so I think we could have been seated immediately anyway, but I don’t like wondering, so we were set with the app. The restaurant is in the old Kenton’s spot on Magazine (so it has that little parking lot in the back which is a huge plus) and moment of silence for that fine, fine Kenton’s hamburger they used to serve with some of the best fries in the universe.
But we’re having small plates at Saba now and that oven inside the dining room is cranking out two-zillion degree pita and I’m so very glad I looked poor or like I didn’t grasp the concept of small plates (prob) and only ordered one small plate for myself because I split a dessert and ohholymotherofallthatisrightinthisworld that was amazing and if I’d eaten any more it would have been crazy town. If you’re getting dessert, you maybe don’t need more than one small plate.
The transformation of the space goes like this — Kenton’s was bright but still had these great jewel tones:
Saba is this:
And those amber water glasses yessss
Here’s my foie, which was really good but not the best ever. And a side note: if you ever get the chance to have marcona almonds, do it but do it with this caveat: know that you’ll never be able to enjoy any other kind of almond ever because marcona almonds are gold. Also, same thing in the apple world with honeycrisp apples.
I had a bite of lamb kebab and that was pretty good:
and the potatoes were pretty nice:
…but if you’re the kind of person who wants to go somewhere just for dessert, or if you’re doing Saba because it’s yummy and cool and the place to be, you just can’t leave without ordering dessert. And dessert equals the warm chocolate babka.
I’m not even big on babka. The grocery store babka is always dry and boring. I will say that Zingerman’s sent me some treats late last year for a project I was working on at the office, and WOW their babka is good. But the babka at Saba is served with a blackberry sauce and hazelnut gelato and it is next level. You can’t not get this.
It’s great to be back at DFK. Thanks to allllll of you who emailed or messaged or whatever to check on me. Things are good, I just needed a break for a min. You know. Kids, job, travel, stuff, chocolate babka. xoxo!