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Dec 21, 2008 07:24 AM

Sabor: New Restaurant (Balto)

I was driving up around Lutherville (suburbs just north of the city) and saw that a new restaurant has opened. It's in a small shopping center that's on Padonia road, up near where Padonia intersects with Jenifer Rd. For those of you familiar with the area, it's the shopping center with the Graul's Market. Sabor replaces the now closed Cafe Isis.

I stopped in really quick to take a peak at the location and menu. The environment was more modern than before, fairly warm tones. The hostess told me that the website wasn't yet finished but that I could take a menu. It definitely has some promise, but isn't cheap. A large selection of salads which are for the most part easily recognized (beet & goat cheese; spinach, bacon, and vinaigrette). A selection of appetizers. The entrees run around the low $20 and has some really potentially tasty dishes: braised short ribs, duck confit, sweet potato gnocci, calve's liver, and of course what restaurant would be complete without their version of steak frites.

There's also a list of predetermined specials each week including a vension on mondays, coq au vin on thursdays, and roasted pork shoulder on fridays. I don't know how I feel about specials not really being specials.

Anyway, if anyone has tried it yet, let us know. Or if you're looking for a place out in the burbs that might be a nice meal, feel free to try it out.

Address: 12240 Tullamore Road, Lutherville, MD 21093 (just a coming soon picture as of now)

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  1. Anyone been? Sounds like a promising new spot. I read that is run by Chef Roddy Domacasse, formerly of Brasserie Tatin and Linwoods.

    1. The original comment has been removed
      1. Went there recently and found the place to be pretty good. Really liked the way they redid the place. Warm, inviting, comfortable and you can see the kitchen (though the boxes of Sysco were not reassuring).

        Ordered the French Onion Soup ($7), not the best I've ever had but pretty decent. Mussels were quite good and I really liked the sauce but bread was not forthcoming. When we were seated, they made extra effort to place bread plates but no bread arrived. Later, when I asked for bread to sop up the mussel broth, they said they were out of foccaccia. After a bit of encouragement, they went and found some sliced baguette for us. Now, I understand that bread might run out but if you're serving a slice of toasted baguette with the mussels I do find it difficult to believe that there is no bread left in the house.

        For our entrees, we ordered the braised short rib and ribeye steak (both $24). The short rib was pretty good. Nicely braised in red wine it was soft and tender but I would have preferred a slightly heavier hand in the seasoning. The ribeye was nicely cooked.

        It's only been open for three weeks so they still have some service kinks to work out but it was a nice experience. I'd give them a couple more months to sort everything out.

        3 Replies
        1. re: onocoffee


          Thanks for your review,,,although I take exception with your first paragraph....."the boxes of Sysco were not reassuring"

          JUst for your information.....Sysco's food standards for quality, food safety are unquestionably the highest in the food service industry. Sysco would not be the largest purveyor in the country if they didn't have such high standards.

          1. re: MDicecreamguy

            and don't forget that Sysco also supplies paper goods, sweeteners, and pretty much anything that a kitchen needs to run.

          2. re: onocoffee

            Went there for dinner. I agree with the other reviewers. Dinner was really pretty good, not mind blowing, but definitely good for the area if you don't feel like driving downtown. Wait staff was very nice and pleasant, but you can tell they still need a little polish; I think that will work itself out.

            Dessert of Tres Leches was the best I've ever had and I would go there for that alone.

            Atmosphere is french country cottage style, but not stuffy. From someone that has eaten almost everywhere in BMore, I would say worth a try if you are in Timonium.

          3. I was there Monday. It's a pretty little spot. Nice to have another nice option in a sea of lousy chain restaurants. I had the Monday night "special" of venison. It was quite good, probably the favorite of our dishes. Friend had the scallops and risotto. They were cooked perfectly and very good. Our service was pretty perfect. I'd make it a once a week spot.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Anna323

              I stand behind my original statement and reiterate that seeing boxes of Sysco is not reassuring.

              While Sysco may have high standards, it has been my observation that many restaurants using Sysco take shortcuts in quality and preparation because they are readily available from broadline distributors such as Sysco. Buying directly from local farms and purveyors is more intensive but they also don't provide their produce in pre-cut, ready to use, ICF form.

              Mind you, I'm not stating that Sabor is taking these kinds of short cuts but seeing those boxes in the kitchen prior to ordering their food for the first time is not reassuring.

              1. re: onocoffee

                BYOB or do they have a liquor license

                1. re: sas

                  The nice thing is that Restaurant Sabor is BYOB and only charges $5 per table no matter how many bottles or number of people. We've been there twice already and enjoyed the food and ambiance. The place definitely already has a "buzz" and I think it will be quite the success. It's not that far a ride out either 83 or Falls Road so city folks should give it a try.

                    1. re: sas

                      Thanks for the comments. We just went to Sabor on Tuesday and found it to be even better than expected. The food was ambitious and flavorful. The chef used to be the chef at Linwoods in Pikesville. While the atmosphere is casual, the food shines and is rather inexpensive for the quality. The staff was friendly and casual. They even joked when asked about the "buzz" adding that the only thing with a Sysco label (earlier post) was the salt. This is certainly several noches above the normal fare. The duck breast on top of sweet potato gnocci was terrific. Crisp and perfectly done! This will easily become a new frequent favorite of ours.

                      The menu and website are now up:


            2. We had a great experience here and I really think you are not likely to find as great a meal anywhere in the Baltimore area for such a low cost. We are huge foodies - eat out 3-4 times a week and love fresh, seasonal cooking. This chef knows his stuff. I would imagine the sysco boxes are for staples, because the ingredients are clearly market fresh. I think the menu is terrific and love the classical french preparation with just a dab of high end latino influence. As far as daily specials - that is just traditionally french - all the bistros and brasseries there have a set "plat du jour," so I think the chef is just taking that que. Also their bread is great - a good sing from the start! I agree that the service is still a tad green for the high end food they serve, but it is fine for the casual environment and it is certainly not lacking. I haven't had a meal this good, for such a reasonble price since before Dogwood got it's liquor license and prevented BYO. Go. You will not be dissapointed!

              1 Reply
              1. re: JKeelty

                We went there right after it opened because the location was convenient to where we were and I was impressed by the food, too. I can't remember what we got exactly, but we had a salad, sweet potato soup, some sort of omelet, and then one other dish...and everything was good. It's not cheap but I considered it to be a good value.