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Sab E Lee 2 set to open in November (San Diego)

  • k

Koby had mentioned his search for a new location, since his place gets pretty swamped. On Sunday, he told me he had some big news this week. Today when I dropped by for lunch he told me that he has signed a lease, and will open Sab E Lee 2. His current target date for opening is November 1, 2009

The location will be in Santee:

9159 Mission Gorge Road
Santee, CA 92071

In the former "Thai Style Restaurant" location.

Not to worry, the original Sab E Lee will remain open, with the current Chef and menu.

The new restaurant will feature most of the current menu's Issan-style dishes, but will also add on most of the "Thai" standards. Koby's friend, who he told me was a chef at a 4-star hotel in Bangkok will be handling the kitchen chores.

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  1. Awesome news, though I wonder if that location is too far away to mitigate the crowding in Linda Vista.

    Still, great for Koby. Glad he's seeing so much success.

    1. Good for Koby! I agree with Josh, though... Santee is a smidge far to make a difference, unless Koby is noticing a trend of people traveling far to dine at SEL. Has he given any thought to relocating the Linda Vista location to a larger spot?

      1 Reply
      1. re: geekyfoodie

        He was looking at the former location of Thai Cafe - but told me the kitchen needed a total overhaul. Rents at other places were way too high.

      2. Great news! I will be there!

        1. Awesome. That address is right by the 52 and 125 interchange, so it is actually a very quick drive off of the 8.

          I can't wait.

          4 Replies
          1. re: thirtyeyes

            So, Sab-E-Lee 2 AND Mary's Donuts? Talk about a winning combination. At least to me.

            1. re: geekyfoodie

              and they are walking distance to each other...

              1. re: Cathy

                and the Beverages 4 Less in the same strip mall probably has the best craft beer selection east of the 15.
                Be ready to chat with the owner for an hour though ;)

                1. re: MrKrispy

                  And be ready to try some beers with him. When I was there last he started opening bottles and giving us samples.

          2. Hopefully the people in East County will be happy!

            1. We were there for lunch this past weekend and it was fabulous!

              1. Five us went for dinner tonight, and thoroughly enjoyed it. We ordered panang curry, pineapple curry, fresh spring rolls, potstickers, ahi larb (exceptionally good), mixed vegetables with chicken, and king curry (beef with green beans - heavenly!). We were stuffed, but still ordered dessert! That's a rarity for us, and we all agreed their sticky rice with mango is the best we've ever had. There are definitely some different dishes on the Santee menu (chef's specialties and others, per Kirk's post). There were so many things I wanted to try, so we'll be regulars. We went at 5:30, and were the only ones there until two other couples arrived. Though the location is on Mission Gorge, which is extremely busy all day, it's not in a heavily trafficked strip mall. I hope their business picks up. The amount of space they have here is about four times that of Linda Vista!

                And might I just add that I'm pretty much stuffed. :-)

                2 Replies
                1. re: phee

                  We went last week for lunch and even though there were a few other customers it was pretty empty. Food was great (even though I prefer the sticky rice with mango at LOS which is has a stronger coconut taste).

                  1. re: phee

                    ahi larb? Never seen that before!

                  2. hoping to finally go this weekend for lunch..can't wait.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Beach Chick

                      tried to go to the Santee/Mission Gorge location today for lunch but they are closed on weekends..super bummed..what a sweet guy..told him all the Chowhound's love him..he was very thankful for all your support!

                      1. re: Beach Chick

                        Do you mean that they are closed this weekend or that they are now closing every weekend or that they are closing for weekend lunch? We went there for lunch a few Sundays ago and their menu says they are open 7 days.

                        1. re: JRSD

                          The man I spoke to said only M-F for lunch and dinner 7 days a week.
                          This was for the Santee location.
                          I think they would kick some serious ass over the weekend...

                          1. re: Beach Chick

                            OK. Your post got me nervous since I was planning on getting dinner from there tomorrow!

                    2. I find it somewhat humorous that they have opened a nice new second location with a big banner and everything and the first location has nothing resembling a sign, and still has the awning of the old place above it hahaha.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: MrKrispy

                        They do have style...I remember when they first started they were open seven days a week from 9am to 9pm...almost like they didn't know they were allowed to take time off. Very cute.

                        Had their whole fried tilapia the other day, and I really enjoyed it (not a huge tilapia fan): beautifully and carefully fried, served with a mildly sweet sauce and fried basil leaves. After our order came out, it was on all the other tables in the restaurant in a matter of minutes. So good with sticky rice and som-tum (#8 spicy)...


                        1. re: SaltyRaisins

                          oooh thanks for the heads up, I have been wanting to try that Tilapia but the GF thinks getting a plate with a head on it is a no-no hahaha. Actually, now that I think of it I am not a fan of animal heads on my plate either hmmm

                          1. re: MrKrispy

                            Easy solution- take one of the cabbage-leaf garnishes and tuck his little head underneath. Then devour his entire body out of sight of his glazed-over eyes. Mmm...glazed-over.


                      2. Well, it's official - we've become weekly regulars, and I can't tell you how grateful I am to have such fantastic dining spot so close! Based on Kirk's blog, the DH and I both ordered the three-flavor fish (I had halibut, he had catfish), and I was pretty sure I'd reached Nirvana. The kids ordered orange chicken, tom yum gai, and the duck curry. We also split the papaya salad, the rest of which will be my lunch today. I can't praise the three-flavor fish enough, and the tom yum gai had the perfect balance of lime and lemongrass (both of which, when not balanced, have ruined this soup for me in other locations). The papaya salad wound up coming to our table late, which is why it didn't get devoured, but it's the best version I've ever had.

                        We're warmly welcomed when we arrive, and everyone bids us farewell when we leave. It was also nice to see four other tables occupied when we left. Keep 'em busy, folks - I know we will!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: phee

                          I had papaya salad for the first time there a couple of weeks ago and I can't stop thinking about how good it was.

                        2. Oh, stop you all, you are giving me serious case of food envy, since I am too far away in Baja to go for a great Thai food fix.

                          Maybe Santa will give me a ride.

                          1. Another wonderful experience at Sab E Lee 2 last night. We took a friend of our daughter's along, who had never had Thai food before. While she ordered "safe" with the Orange Chicken, we did get her to try a few of the other dishes. And I must say, all other Orange Chicken dishes pale in comparison to theirs! My DH ordered the Garlic Fish which was the hit of the night. The chef definitely knows how to prepare fish! Nice, light fry on the outside and fork-tender on the inside. And the sauce - well, let's just say if manners didn't preclude it, I would have licked the plate. I ordered the Curry Roma which consisted of crab and scallop tucked into dumplings with a mild green curry sauce. So good! We also tried the ahi spring rolls - like an egg roll with lightly seared ahi then sliced into bite-sized pieces. Very, very good but my daughter and I just can't keep away from the fresh spring rolls. We order them every time.

                            We're so warmly greeted upon arrival and departure. They truly appreciate the business, and take such pride in what they do. It's truly a San Diego gem. Another nice note: though we were the only diners there upon arrival, there were more than half the tables occupied when we left.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: phee

                              I got my first taste of SEL2 a couple of weeks ago. Wow! Food was tasty and beautiful. It's nice that there is enough space. Everything we had was so nicely done.

                            2. Starting to worry that all the attention is being paid to Sab-E-Lee 2 (by the owners) and they are skimping on Sab-E-Lee 1. Recently I have been seeing some corner-cutting with the quality.

                              During our trip this week I noticed the veggies in the curries. They now use frozen bagged carrots (the perfectly little cubed ones) and peas, which come out very mushy. They previously had fresh cut carrots or at least they weren't overcooking them.

                              1. WOW! What a find! After a long rigorous weekend at the Del Mar Gourmet Experience, the Little Italy Mercato Farmers Market and an eleven hour stance at the FESTA street fair yesterday, we happened upon Sab E Lee on Mission Gorge in search of food after dropping off all our showbooth boxes and gear.

                                I signed up just now for ChowHound just to share this! Having hailed from San Francisco and traveled to many a good restaurant in the states and internationally, plus a closet chef, I wanted to let others know that there is some culture and good eats in the East County of San Diego! You don't know how difficult it is to find good tasty fresh food in these parts of San Diego!

                                Service from very warm and friendly staff, and refreshing good food. From the tuna roll appetizer to the beef larb and the salmon curry... it was just surprisingly good eats.

                                Can't wait to return to try more dishes...

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: FoodeeQueen

                                  Thanks Foodee Queen. I just moved to East County from Sacramento and wow - the pickins are bad out here. Anyone know of any other good food in East County. I'm in the Del Cerro area.

                                  1. re: pegasus505

                                    Not a ton of choices in the area but check out Antica Trattoria on Lake Murray Blvd at the corner of Baltimore for excellent Italian food.

                                    Antica Trattoria
                                    5654 Lake Murray Blvd La, Mesa, CA

                                  2. re: FoodeeQueen

                                    How was the Del Mar Gourmet Experience??? Worth attending?