Perfect backdrop for 'special' celebration
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I find it strange when fellow Gainesvillians say they have trouble figuring out where to eat because of not having enough local options. Usually, I can't figure out where to eat out because there are way too many places that I want to try. In fact, my boyfriend, Thomas, and I have a list, and our two-year anniversary seemed to merit a special dinner and an opportunity to check some glorious restaurant off that list. We were torn between Mark's Prime Steakhouse and Sabore. Although I am still dying to take my steak-loving man to Mark's, every time I mentioned Sabore to friends I was greeted with exasperation and "oh-my-gosh" remarks, all in favor of international dining. The expressions said it all.
Our anniversary was on a Monday, the only day that Sabore is closed, so we settled for Tuesday night. It wasn't crowded in the cozy, dimly-lit space, an exceptional-looking bar area cradling one side of the restaurant while cozy booths and 2- and 4-person tables filled the middle. Thomas felt the deep reds and dim aura lent itself to a perfect Valentine's Day spot (yay!). Most people were seated at those middle tables, but Thomas and I were seated at a large booth with a perfect view of the whole restaurant. I am guessing that these are for the patrons who made a reservation and/or have a special occasion.
This is the first time I used an iPad menu, and the first thing that came to mind was "I really hope I don't spill anything on it." My clumsy self aside, it commented on the younger feel of the establishment, as if the décor and menu didn't aid in that enough. I was surprised and pleased when two glasses of champagne (top) were presented to my date and I, a complimentary gift "as thanks for choosing Sabore to celebrate our anniversary." The combination of the free champagne, plus the many menu pages devoted to alcoholic beverages, made me like the place even more.
It was certainly a splurge-worthy occasion, and I took that to full advantage. I started by ordering from the raw page. The Vieiras Tartare was an experience to say the least. The fresh diver scallops coated with Japanese kimchi aioli and chives balanced on half a lime. The server said the way the chef intended it be eaten was hold the lime, take a bite and squeeze some of the lime into the concoction. It was good, nothing stellar. Thomas felt safer ordering the "Ferranella Caesar Salad."
The list of "World Fusion Tapas" was next on the menu, and we ordered what the server claimed was one of their most-ordered dishes, the Tuna Toston, and the Roasted Pork & Crab Rolls. I loved that all of the servings were small and shareable, my favorite style of dining to best try a little of everything. The tuna was delicious: blackened tuna seared to perfection over a lump of creamy avocado salad atop a crispy and unique plaintain crostini. The drizzle of teriyaki and sesame seeds aided the flavor combination. The rolls were very good, as well. I was skeptical of how well pork and crab would marry, but it was quite tasty. I could have done without the egg roll coating and just eaten the meat inside, as it took away from the inventive texture. The lettuce added a nice crisp, too.
We were starting to slow down when we ordered the final two dishes under the tapas menu, although these were both not tapas portions. The Angus Beef NY Strip and the Duck Breast looked like the most attractive protein options. The strips of duck sous vide were tender with a sweet, lightly-crisped outer coating. I especially enjoyed the cassis sauce and astray blueberries that found their way onto the slices to create an extra pop of sweet flavor. The steak was very pleaser, cooked to a medium rare, tender perfection. I was very impressed with the beef jus that the server claimed had been cooking for 65 — yes, that's correct — hours.
The 2014 Gainesville Iron Chef award-winning culinary artist has created an alluring ambiance and an unforgettable menu. I couldn't have asked for more out of the Sabore experience, and can't wait to come back as many times as it takes to try each delicious menu item.
The Pluses and Minuses of Sabore:
Sabore + indicators: Great for nice occasion (each tapas dish at least $10); fresh, quality ingredients, romantic ambiance; friendly staff; young and innovative menu; free champagne on special occasions
Sabore - Can get a tad pricey, all the way out in Tioga Town Center
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Latest from Mike S. GLOB Master
ALLISON Sunday, 27 March 2016 19:36 Comment Link
My friend and I had lunch at Sabore 3 or 4 weeks ago. We sat outside on a beautiful Tuesday. There was one other table with a couple at it, and one table inside. A nice young man waited on us, brought out the water and diet drink, and gave us a few more minutes to peruse the menu. It was my first visit; my friend always has the Salmon Starter with a side of white rice. I ordered Tuna Toston. They both looked excellent upon arrival, and a fair amount for the price. $ 12.00 per starter, and plenty for lunch.
The Salmon was fabulous, and I would order that if I was to return. The Tuna, well, not so much. The Guacamole had seen better days, but passable. The Tontine could have been used as a hockey puck. I managed to chew on one, but gave up on the rest. Really, tostones should be made fresh every day. Twice a day. These were not fresh.The tuna was very good. My friend needed to request a diet refill; I would have assumed my water would be re-filled. But not to be. I never did get a water refill.Iin fact, we never saw the waiter again. My friend had to get up and go inside two times to fetch the waiter for the check and then to pick up the check. I would have been back to try the food again, but the service completely fell apart. And just another thought, please check the restrooms on the hour or so. The Ladies room was disgusting. In fact, I told my friend not to go into it.
Sorry for the harsh words, but they are warranted.