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CHOW HOUND: Meet and eat

Sabra Grill, Salsarita's hot burrito, Crossroads Coffeehouse, and more

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The story of Sabra Grill (2600 Elmwood Avenue) reads like a word problem from a standardized test. Question: Your mom has a culinary degree, your dad is a contractor, and you own an event planning business, what type of business should you all open together? Answer: A restaurant, obviously. Noy Cohen Botier, along with her mother and father, did just that. Sabra Grill recently opened in the Brighton space formerly occupied by Bagel Bin Café.

The building itself has been designated "The Meeting Place" and currently houses two food-related businesses: Sabra Grill and Yolickity Frozen Yogurt Bar. Bruegger's Bagels will open a location there at the end of the fall. The space has the look and feel of a mall food court, minus the close vicinity to The Gap — and your chance of being mowed down by a mall walker is significantly less. The night that I visited Sabra Grill, Yolickity was hosting a youngster's birthday party while other diners sat and read. A few large conference tables can be reserved for lunch meetings and are set back from the main area.

Every menu item is certified kosher — in fact, the restaurant has a certificate signed by every Rabbi in the area saying so. The positive response this garnered from diners at Sabra Grill inspired Yolickity to also obtain the certificate. Typically, those keeping kosher hold their social gatherings at Jewish community centers to ensure that all food is prepared correctly, but Cohen Botier wanted to open a restaurant and community space offering a fresh take on kosher food for all to enjoy.

Stuffed puff pastries - PHOTO BY MARK CHAMBERLIN
  • PHOTO BY MARK CHAMBERLIN
  • Stuffed puff pastries
Hamsa plate with five salads - PHOTO BY MARK CHAMBERLIN
  • PHOTO BY MARK CHAMBERLIN
  • Hamsa plate with five salads
Sabra Grill features a deep menu of Moroccan and Israeli dishes, including the shwarma in a laffa wrap. - PHOTO BY MARK CHAMBERLIN
  • PHOTO BY MARK CHAMBERLIN
  • Sabra Grill features a deep menu of Moroccan and Israeli dishes, including the shwarma in a laffa wrap.

The Moroccan/Israeli recipes are from Cohen Botier's mother, Ruth Cohen, who you can routinely find behind the counter. Sabra's take on the Shawarma sandwich ($10) is a stuffed pita overflowing with a boneless turkey-lamb combination, hummus, tahini, cucumber, tomato, and onion. I added the Matbucha sauce, a spicy concoction of Moroccan hot pepper and tomato. The restaurant's wide variety of salads can be sampled if you order the Hamsa Plate ($7 for five salads served with pita). On the menu is Knish, in potato and spinach varieties, and the Israeli Boreka which is puffed pastry stuffed with spinach, meat, or mushrooms ($7 for plate of either). Shakshuka ($7), a traditional baked dish comprised of poached eggs in a spicy tomato and pepper sauce, served in a pita, is available until 2 p.m. each day.

Cohen Botier is hoping to grow the business, both with more locations and with catering. Like "the Chipotle of kosher food," she says with a laugh.

Sabra Grill is located at 2600 Elmwood Avenue and is open Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. All menu items are under $12. Visit Sabra Grill's website at sabragrillroc.com for more information.

Quick Bites

Do you wish you could combine your love for burritos with a sadistic need to experience physical discomfort while eating? Salsarita's at RIT's Cantina and Grille in Global Village (400 Reynolds Drive) has teamed up with PuckerButt Pepper Company (yes, that's really the name) to offer the World's Hottest Burrito. Made with the Guinness World Record Holder for Hottest Chili Pepper, this tear-inducing concoction is available through September 22.

Crossroads Coffeehouse (752 South Goodman Street) suffered a severe fire on August 3, and is planning a limited re-open within the month, offering coffee to-go. Crossroads is hoping to completely re-open in late November. The Highland Park Neighborhood Association has initiated an Indiegogo effort to help them rebuild. More information can be found at highlandparkrochester.org and on Crossroads' Facebook page.

Local wine appreciation group, Rochester Winos, will host a wine and food pairing at Towpath Café (6 North Main Street, Fairport) on August 27 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at rochesterwinos.com/purchasetickets.html.

Openings

Apogee Wine Bar (151 Park Avenue) held its grand opening last weekend and is now open Tuesday through Saturday, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. More information can be found on its Facebook page at Facebook.com/apogeewinebar.

Closings

Guy's Pizza Co. (3105 East Henrietta Road) and Paternico's Bakery (272 North Winton Road) have closed.

Chow Hound is a food and restaurant news column. Do you have a tip? Send it to food@rochester-citynews.com.

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