My husband and I spent the weekend in San Francisco where, among other things, we saw the hilarious Beach Blanket Babylon for the first time. Afterwards, we went to dinner at Zagat-rated Saha, where the website describes the food as "a unique blend of Yemenese Arabic Cuisine and boundary pushing California cuisine with French hints mixed in for good measure." While that description sounded intriguing, the main thing that attracted me to this restaurant was the large number of vegan selections on the menu.
Rather than ordering everything à la carte, I decided to go with the fixed price option, which included a salad or soup, a small plate, and an entrée. For my salad, I ordered the Stuffed Avocado. The avocado was coated with knaffe (shredded phyllo), lightly fried, then stuffed with tabouleh and served with two slices of marinated tofu. So good!
I had a terrible time deciding which small plate to try. There were so many tempting vegan choices that I seriously considered just making a meal from several small plates. But I finally chose the Vegan Knaffe, described on the menu as "vegan shredded phyllo with vegan cream cheese and wild mushrooms baked in ramekin and served over coconut-chermoulah-chipotle sauce." Chermoulah is a spice mixture, and I'm not sure which spices it included, but I'm pretty sure cinnamon was one of them. By this time, I had already decided that my food review vocabulary could never do justice to Saha's cuisine.
My entrée was the Saha Red Curry, which consisted of butternut squash and tofu in a red curry sauce, served with Palestinian couscous and fresh vegetables. It was delicious.
I was much too full for dessert, but I decided to order something anyhow. I asked the server which of the vegan desserts he would recommend. "This one," he said, pointing at the menu, "despite the name." The dessert's name was, I kid you not, "Slap ya mama." I took his advice and ordered this heavenly confection, which consisted of roasted fruit, date and almond marzipan, and chocolate, baked in a phyllo dough shell. The picture is blurry, probably because I was so eager to dig in that I didn't take the time to focus properly.
This was one of the most exciting meals I've had in a long time. Middle Eastern cuisine is generally vegan-friendly, but this went far beyond the usual hummus, baba ganoush, and falafel. I can't wait to go back to Saha again.
Saha is located inside the Hotel Carlton at 1075 Sutter Street in San Francisco, and their phone number is 415-345-9547. Their website address is http://www.sahasf.com/index.html, and their Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/sahasf. Saha is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.