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Restaurant lunch highlights:

Saboré, CLOSED: Jan. 2018

Saboré, CLOSED: Jan. 2018

Sabore pushes past brunch expectations

By: Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

brunchCHEFOver a year ago I dined at Sabore for the first time. It was a Tuesday night — a predominantly empty dining room bursting with color greeting my party of two—and I had only heard high praise about the restaurant boasting international cuisine and an innovative tapas menu. I had witnessed Sabore's Chef Valero in action at the 2014 Gainesville Iron Chef competition during the Taste of Gainesville event earlier in the year, and I was eager to try the winner's cuisine myself. To make a long story short, it did not disappoint. In fact, it blew even my high expectations out of the water.

SaboreSFImagine my delight when Sabore announced they would be serving brunch on the weekends from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. If any of my previous articles have surmised one thing, to put it mildly, I am a huge fan of brunch. I could only dream of the culinary masterpieces Chef Valero would have on his menu, mainly because the brunch menu isn't posted online.

Nevertheless, I was ready to have my taste buds blown away once more. I do realize I set very high expectations, but I was confident in Sabore's capabilities.

The nudge to finally make the trek up to the Tioga Town Center, however, is mainly due to none other than my dining companion, Ken of the popular local food blog Ken Eats Gainesville. He had been to this brunch and posted some scrumptious-looking photos on his Instagram page, so I already had a few images to hold me over and enough anticipation to make the drive more than worth it.



Upon arrival on a sunny Gainesville Saturday at 11 a.m., it was very similar to my first experience at Sabore: A dimly-lit, deep red room opened up into only a few tables occupied, only this time we were greeted with some Christmas decorations. Ken and I were ushered to a large booth, complete with plush red seats and iPads for menus.

300SyrupA server was quick to arrive at the table, followed shortly by a personal greeting from Chef Valero himself. He bustled about the dining room, cradling black truffles to be freshly grated to this table and special maple syrup to that table. Luckily, we were one of those syrup stops, as a plate of freshly-made in-house brioche French toast aptly named "mon dieu what a French toast!" arrived to the table, garnished with a few "healthy things," as Ken put it a.k.a. fruit. The brioche was very light, but had a slight crispness to the outside that kept it all together. Well, it was the syrups—yes, that is plural—that truly made the seemingly simple dish come alive. The first special one, a thicker, almost balsamic-like Deseve Birch Nectar syrup, was certainly richer and more viscous than I was used to (although truth be told I use Aunt Jemima at home so this was out of my league). The second was the restaurant's "everyday" Gold Maple Syrup with a texture more in-tune with syrups I typically use on breakfast foods, but this one had an almost pure, semi-sweet flavor. The third was a very special syrup that was aged for so long the consistency was only slightly thicker than water. All were absolutely worth every douse.

The Basque Omelet with shrimp seemed like a relatively safe, yet appetizing meal option, but my heart was set on two of the meals Ken raved about from previous dining: the Bombenedictine, $12, and the Duck French Toast, $23. Let's start with the benedict, image at top if this review,  because the name speaks for itself: This truly was the of benedicts. The chorizo hollandaise spread generously over two well-cooked, poached eggs was not overly rich, even with the addition of a thick layer of pork sausage and scalloped potatoes that created the base for the meat-lovers breakfast. It was probably my overall favorite dish of the day. That is not to say the Duck French Toast wasn't an other-worldly experience in and of itself, or at least that of another country. In fact, it took me back to Paris where I enjoyed more Foie Gras, creamy sauces, and bread than I care to share. One fork swipe of the duck egg yolk and the yolk-fall quickly ran down the length of that fluffy brioche French toast slab. The duck meat perched atop was just the right size for the extremely rich taste of it. However, it wasn't until Chef Valero arrived to the table once more with a small honey pot of truffle honey that he proceeded to drizzle over top that sealed the deal. I was glad to be sharing this dish with Ken, as I can't imagine having it as my sole entrée mainly due to how flavor-rich it was.

As if the mounds of carefully-crafted brunch fare wasn't enough, Ken and I felt a seemingly simple order of churros with chocolate sauce would be a welcome conclusion to one of the most decadent brunches I have ever consumed. As soon as the tray of churros arrived, I was immediately drawn to the thick coating of sugar around the crispy fried dough. The sous chef informed us that it was actually vanilla bean-infused sugar, just in case we made the mistake of thinking this was a typically-made churro. Ken's first reaction to the sauce was that it tasted like everyone's childhood favorite Ovaltine chocolate powder mix. I thought it tasted pretty close to what a hot chocolate sauce would be. The server confirmed it was not Ovaltine, for the record.



I think I prepared myself so well for how intense of a brunch experience this would be that I paced myself to not being overly full. That, or the richness of the food almost forced me to portion out each dish more frugally. Next on the list — because there will absolutely be another visit in the near future — is the Huevos Estrellados, mainly because of the generous portion of Iberico ham nesting the eggs, which Ken claims is delicious ham. I stand by my previous Sabore write-up when I say that the chef has truly created an "alluring ambiance and an unforgettable menu." If you ask me, Sabore's attention to detail, from the atmosphere to the dining options to the service, is unparalleled against any other dining establishment in town.

The Pluses and Minuses of Saboré:

Saboré (+) indicators: Brunch available every Saturday and Sunday, somewhat pricey but value worth the price tag, completely unique menu, more standard brunch options also available, friendly service, accommodating and involved chef, great ambiance for any occasion, good portion sizes, attention to detail.

Saboré (-) indicators: Slightly out of the way in Tioga, prices not conducive to a regular dining option if looking to eat cheaper.

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Sabore.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANK!




S. Beach decor, style, highlight lunch experience

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

The GLOB Editor headed out to West Gainesville last Saturday to see what all the excitement was about with the new restaurant called Saboré in the Town of Tioga shopping area.

SaboreSFWith Miami-backing, Executive Chef and Co-Owner, William "Willy" Hernandez, has created a contemporary, very stylish restaurant that is visually stunning to the eye. Mr. Hernandez has put a lot of thought and detail into the design of this very large dining area.

The Saboré website is representative of their style and has many photos of the restaurant and their food.

Their menu touts a world fusion theme combining dishes, "from countries such as Peru, Japan, Greece and Italy."

I was there for the weekend brunch menu that included some very interesting egg and breakfast entrees in the $10 range including:

zzGLOBbullet Tomato, basil & bufala mozzarella frittata

zzGLOBbullet Poached eggs, spinach on toast

zzGLOBbullet Saboré eggs Benedict, crab cake, asparagus

The breakfast choices caught my eye, however I have a hard time paying $10 for an egg entree.

Going for the lunch menu, my friend Lynn was riding the horns of a lunchtime dilemma: Crab Cake Salad, which included organic mixed greens and a honey mustard dressing, or Crispy Duck Salad, which included almond-coated duck strips, mixed greens, mandarin oranges, and honey sesame seed vinaigrette.

SaboreDUCKsaladThe Crispy Duck salad won out, and Lynn was presented with a salad that look appetizing but also quite elegant with strands of cabbage circling lightly around the top and pieces of crispy fried duck peeking out around the sides (or should I say Peking?).

Besides salads, Saboré has an extensive list of sandwiches from which I selected the Naked Grilled Chicken sandwich. My sandwich contained buffalo chicken, mozzarella, romaine lettuce, crispy bacon strips (except for one bite that was not so crispy), and herb aioli sauce. Does anyone know what buffalo chicken is? I think that is a menu error and probably should read buffalo mozzarella. The sandwich comes with a side order of home fries. The Saboré fries reminded me of McDonalds fries to be honest. Lynn thought they were very good and crispier and lighter than McDonald's fries.

The soft roll that the sandwich came on added an interesting texture combined with the other ingredients. The melted mozzarella cheese was a very nice accompaniment to the breast of chicken.

Lynn was happy with her lunch salad. The coating on the duck was very crispy and the duck itself tasty. If Lynn had read the NYT story I had read earlier in the day, she would have paraphrased the best line of that story and declared, "Winner, Winner, Duck Dinner!" Sorry I just had to use that line for some reason.



As usual, Lynn and I happily split our lunches so we could taste what each other ordered. Lynn thought the bread on the sandwich was rather ordinary and the amount of ingredients a little skimpy except for the tomatoes and the bacon, but then bacon has a very strong flavor. She preferred her salad.

Toward the end of our lunch, Lynn offered back to me the remaining portion of the Chicken sandwich she couldn't finish. Another standard lunch practice. Taking a bite of her-half-of-my- sandwich, I exclaimed, "Your sandwich is better than mine!" My half had been drier. "I didn't get any herb aioli sauce on my half of the sandwich," I said in a disappointed voice.

Spreading sauce on the entire sandwich is a small detail I guess. If I had eaten the entire sandwich MAYBE I wouldn't have noticed the difference.

Walking to the car after lunch, I summarized my Saturday lunch experience. "The next time I am driving this far for lunch I am going to the Blue Highway for pizza."

The Pluses and Minuses of Saboré:

Saboré (+) indicators: Decor, style and a very diverse menu

Saboré (-) indicators: Saboré identifies themselves as a haute cuisine restaurant. But the quality is uneven. Perhaps a little more focus on the food might be in order to attain five star status. Also, our waiter was perfunctory. Lynn wanted to ask him how long the restaurant had been open and twice she wasn't fast enough. She did finally get an answer – about 2 months later.

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Sabore.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANK!

Last modified onFriday, 26 January 2018 09:30

Additional Info

  • Phone Number: 332-2727
  • Address: 13005 SW 1st. Rd., Gainesville, FL
  • Urban GLOB Location: West Gainesville
  • Latitude: 29.656384
  • Longitude: -82.480153
More in this category: « Blue Highway Pizza Indian Cuisine »


  • Jayme Fitzgerald
    Jayme Fitzgerald Tuesday, 01 May 2012 19:27 Comment Link

    I absolutely love Sabore and would recommend it to anyone! The fiocchi with pears is to die for and I do not like pears. Their dishes are perfectly portioned. I have never had a bad meal there. They have a great wine list to choose from and the atmosphere is something that you cannot get anywhere else in Gainesville.

  • Pamela
    Pamela Tuesday, 15 March 2011 11:07 Comment Link

    I have nothing but praise for Sabore. Stylish and beautiful presentation of Tapas (only larger) with interesting combinations. Tuna tostone~ (green plantain crostini/avacado salad/seared tuna)~ was a hit with me.The grouper~(kalamata olives/lime juice/purple potato/cilantro)~ and a selection of sushi made my friend comment that less is more when it tastes soooo good. The perfect place for when I'm bored with Gainesville man fare and ready to feel beautiful and alive.

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