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[Cheap Eats]

Sabra Grill
A bit of love from the Middle East

on the cheap
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In Hebrew, " sabra " refers to a person native to Israel. Those who eat at Sabra Grill in Harvard Square can experience the next best thing to being from the Promised Land: authentic Middle Eastern food made with so much love and care that patrons canít help wondering what all the fighting over there is about.

Sabraís menu covers the basics but pays special attention to the details. The falafel sandwich ($4) is spared the over-fried dryness that commonly befalls its lesser brethren. Wrapped in a warm, thin pita, this one is just right, and chock-full of flavor that is complemented by tangy, creamy tahini. With large falafel tucked inside, the sandwich is a substantial vegetarian meal. The grape-leaves sandwich ($4.95) will likewise satisfy the herbivore set. Vine leaves are stuffed with spiced brown rice and dressed with greens, tomato, and tahini, all rolled up in fresh pita.

Meat lovers will revel in the unusual selections, most notably lamb ($5.50 sandwich, $7.50 plate) and kofta ($4.95 sandwich, $7.50 plate), which vaguely resembles a meatball and is made with beef, lamb, onion, and spices. The chicken shish kebab plate ($6.75) has grilled boneless strips atop two generous heaps of rice pilaf and salad. Topped off with a puddle of hummus and a sprinkle of parsley, this entrée is brimming with eclectic flavors.

For dessert, it is hard to pass up the inviting tray of baklava ($1.50) sitting within view of the cash register. But fans of the Mediterranean be warned: along with the familiar phyllo dough, honey, and nuts is a splash of rose water. The taste is certainly different, but pleasing ó in fact, the same could be said for Sabra Grillís entire menu.

Sabra Grill, located at 20 Eliot Street, in Cambridge, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Call (617) 868-5777.

Issue Date: October 4 - 11, 2001