Sahara in New Brunswick

The menu is extensive and vegetarians have enough options to choose from.

On a Monday night in New Brunswick Sahara, a restaurant offering Mediterranean cuisine, was packed. We did not have reservations but arrived early and got a table. Plan accordingly.

While the usual Mediterranean appetizers were on the menu, such has baba ghanoush, labneh and falafel, the cold coarsely mashed cauliflower dip mixed with tahini, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and parsley caught our eye. It was interesting but read better than it tasted. However, the decoratively presented lemony and extremely flavorful hummus was notable. Both appetizers were presented with hot, made-on-premise puffed pieces of pita topped with sesame seeds.

A fresh-tasting salad of lettuce, cucumbers, red onion and tomatoes or a smooth spicy lentil soup came with the entrees. Both were a lovely, unexpected addition to our dinner. Marinated lamb chops, five to the order, were perfectly grilled and tender. Served with rice and bulgur this dish was worth the $29 price. Also recommended was the slow-braised lamb shank with meat that fell off the bone, accompanied by potatoes and carrots in a tomato sauce with a side of couscous. A smoky aroma emitted from a special of the night: grilled eggplant filled with chopped lamb. It was a large portion and just as delicious the next day for lunch.

Baklava, rice pudding and kesdul, an almond-based milk pudding, as well as tiramisu, panna cotta, tartufo and cheesecake were on the dessert menu. We opted to share kazandibi, a creamy pudding sprinkled with cinnamon, which reminded us of flan.

Service was attentive in that we were asked if we wanted more pita (YES) and the water bottle on our table was replaced as needed. Silverware was placed back on the table when our appetizers were bussed. I asked for a fresh fork and got one, but no other silverware on the table was replaced. Specials were written out with the prices. The menu is extensive and vegetarians have enough options to choose from. Open daily from 11 AM.

165 Easton Avenue
New Brunswick

Eggplant stuffed with chopped lamb.

Photos courtesy of Lowell Saferstein

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