Dinner at Sabroso

Sabroso has been on my radar for a while due to its unique cuisine, and the delicious looking food I’ve been seeing in pictures on Urbanspoon.  I invited J and R to try the place out with me as they both enjoying trying new cuisines, and they’re both very supportive of my blogging hobby :) Hey, good food is meant to be share amongst friends and families! Initially hubby wasn’t going to make it, but he finished his kickoff meeting on time and his coworker B was available too.  I’ve heard of the guy’s name numerous times in the past 3-4 years but have never actually met him so I was excited about him joining us.

As we were waiting for hubby and B, the owner Orlando came to introduce himself and the restaurant to us.  He explained that the food here is not just purely Latin, but rather, a combination amongst others because Latin America is not just “one country” and we are all connected one way or another.  Therefore his food has other influences and they want to showcase the very best dishes with the best ingredients they can get.

Here’s what we tried today:

Sabroso - Chicken Black Bean Soup

Chicken Black Bean Soup – $8
roasted corn, pulled smoked chicken, fried tortilla

R chose this as a starter (I suspect b/c it has chicken in it, and she loves chicken).  She asked our waitress for an extra spoon and I thought she was giving it to J, but oh no… it was for me! Just so I could literally try everything and write about it! Good friends like her certainly make up for the lousy one or two.  This was absolutely flavorful.  It was creamy but not grossly rich, and very savoury infused with lovely smoked chicken flavors.

Sabroso - Papas a la Huancaina

Papas a la Huancaina – $8
crispy potatoes, cilantro, fried garlic, huancaina sauce

J asked for our server’s recommendation and settled for this.  This is definitely Peruvian inspired as I remember the menu item from Pio but I’ve never tried it there.  Instead of a plate of boiled potatoes slather with the spicy cheese sauce the potatoes here are seasoned and baked to tender – soft and crumbly – hmmmmmm.  The dominant flavor here was garlic and I loved it.  I tried not to polish off J’s dish but in exchange I offered some of my dish to him… and hubby’s.

Sabroso - Albacore Tuna Tiradito

Albacore Tuna Tiradito – $12
marinated with soy and sesame, pickled vegetable escabeche

Of course you knew this was my choice.  The tuna was fresh, creamy and and cool.  It was like eating a giant slab of tuna sashimi with a fork and knife.  The soy and sesame sauce had a sweet pickled taste to it which complemented the fish very well.

Sabroso - Calamari

Calamari – $12
cross cut squid, aji amarillo, avocado & wasabi mayo, lime

This is easily the best calamari dish I’ve ever tasted in Calgary.  The server very excitedly recommended this to us so I got hubby to order it.  Wow.  The squid was so tender that minimal chewing was required.  The coating was light, crispy and absolutely flavorful from a blend of spices – the chili pepper (aji amarillo) gave the calamari pieces a bit of a kick yet without being overpowering.  The mayo wasn’t even required for dipping, yet that was delicious as well.

Sabroso - Ceviche de Mariscos

Ceviche de Mariscos – $13
fresh citrus cured shrimp and scallop, seasonal chips, jalapeno, mango

Since I couldn’t stop eating the calamari, hubby ordered the ceviche as well and split it with B.  The shrimp and scallop were fresh and had a firm bite to them.  The citrus marinade infused with mango bits was refreshing and not the least bit overpowering (a problem in some ceviche when all you can taste is a vinegary flavor).  The chips were plantains and they were sweet and crunchy.

Sabroso - Chimichurri Steak

Chimichurri Steak – $17
confit potato, tomatillo, charred leek sauce

This was a dish that was thoroughly enjoyed by J, hubby and I.  It’s too bad we can’t try Argentinian steak here as I heard it is simply delectable.  I didn’t ask what cut of steak this was, but it was tender and nearly melt-in-your-mouth soft.  It came out rare like I asked for.  The steak was accompanied by a sweet sauce which was very tasty, yet I can’t pinpoint as to what it might be – I’ll be sure to ask next time! The small medley of vegetables was cooked to tender as well and was just the right amount to accompany the meat.  J commented that this dish would be at least $30 if served at a restaurant on Stephen Ave – I totally agree.

Sabroso - Pulled Pork Arepa

Pulled Pork Arepa – $13
chimichurri glaze, jicama

R was a bit less adventurous and got one of their sandwiches instead.  Once again she offered me a bite of her sandwich and I have to say the buns, or rather, the flatbreads were interesting.  It looks like they were fried and as a result, it was soft, crispy and reminds me of a BeaverTails pastry.  The pulled pork was tender and tasted like it was cooked in a tomato-y sauce.

Sabroso - Snapper Vera Cruz

Snapper Vera Cruz – $18
crispy potatoes, tomato and green olive sauce, shrimp ceviche

This was B’s dish and he definitely enjoyed it.  I didn’t ask for a try but hubby did and he said it was really good. The fish was flaky, buttery and seasoned well.  That’s all I can say from hubby’s words!

Sabroso - Brown Sugar Roasted Banana

Brown Sugar Roasted Banana – $9
almond butter rum sauce

As I wanted to get Tutti Frutti for dessert, I skipped it at the restaurant but B decided to try this.  He said something to the effect of ordering it just so I can get a taste of it – my foodie status has been made knowledgeable not only at my work, but also hubby’s.  The roasted banana sits on a dense coconut cake and I like how it wasn’t too sweet – including the almond butter rum sauce!

The food here is absolutely flavorful and your palate will be spoiled forever.  What I love was how the chefs do their own twists on traditional dishes and it works so well.  Service was warm, friendly and attentive – I enjoyed conversing with Orlando and our lovely server and they made our entire group felt like VIPs.  If you want a change from the usual cuisine then I encourage you to give this place a try.  I am already planning to take my family here for dinner once my brother comes back from the boonies to visit! Note that the restaurant has their own parking lot in the back so that’s a HUGE bonus when dining on 17th Ave!

Sabroso Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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