Last month Sababa, the “modern Israeli” restaurant in Cleveland Park, overhauled its Sunday brunch offerings, with house-made Jerusalem Bagels the star of the menu. The bagels are a foundational ingredient of a new range of breakfast sandwiches, and also a complement to several new eggs benedict dishes.
Just what are Jerusalem Bagels? What they are not is a localized take on the boiled-then-baked, roll-with-a-hole staple. A widely popular street food locally known as Ka’ak Al Quds — and a variation on a broad category of pastries popular throughout the Middle East — Jerusalem Bagels are unboiled, oval-shaped baked goods that are ultimately thinner, less doughy, and (slightly) sweeter than traditional bagels, the latter due to their honeyed sesame seed coating.
Sababa serves them up as an optional side to Executive Chef Ryan Moore’s unique twists on the poached egg and Hollandaise classic — from a Sabih Benedict enhanced with roasted eggplant and tomato, to a Lamb Benedict featuring braised meat with a kick of harissa, to a Smoked Salmon Benedict accented with sumac onion and capers ($12 to $15).
Sababa’s Jerusalem Bagel Sandwiches are light, starter course offerings featuring spreads rather than fillings, such as a slightly sweet and creamy Tomatoes, Za’atar & Goat Cheese, a zesty and rich Egg & Shug Butter, and a hearty and nutty, slightly spicy Smoked Trout & Muhammura ($8 to $10). Brunchgoers can also order a-la-carte items off the regular menu, including salads, hummus, mezze, and kebabs. Wash it all down with creative, house-made libations in both alcoholic as well as non-alcoholic varieties.
In addition to bottomless Champagne or Mimosas for in-house dining, guests can also spring for boozy blends including a Sababa Bloody Mary with harissa and the Yemini spice blend hawaij; an Arak Cocktail, a potent blend of white rum, Tempus Fugit creme de cacao, and the drink’s namesake anise-flavored spirit; and Olmeca añejo blended with carrot, pistachio, orgeat syrup, and cardamom ($10 each).
Brunch is available for in-house dining, carryout, and delivery every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sababa is located at 3311 Connecticut Ave. NW. Call 202-244-6750 or visit www.sababauptown.com.
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