Mexican-European fusion works. It works at Mundial, it works at Mexique, it works at Amelia’s. But when it doesn’t work, it really, really doesn’t work. Unfortunate case in point: Sabor Saveur, a minimalist BYOB that recently popped up among the throngs of mediocre restaurants on Division.
The shrimp ceviche (pictured), at least, was forgivable: Its apple slaw was crisp enough that it was possible to ignore the mushiness of the crustaceans (though the thing still would have benefitted from a little heat). A salad of watery beets, bland ricotta, overripe mango and papaya, on the other hand, was weighed down with a fruity dressing that the already sad-looking greens couldn’t handle. A sea bass entrée was strewn with no fewer than three sauces: One tasted like pineapple applesauce; another (purportedly a guajillo chile sauce) seemed a decent approximation of ketchup. Along with a cilantro oil, the three did a decent job of clashing not just with one another but also with the already off-putting interplay between acidic citrus segments and roasted corn. In contrast, the roast chicken, pounded and rolled with mushrooms, proved an exercise in boredom, set atop dull lentils and carrots that seemed to lack even a touch of salt. And a dessert gelatin? It was so tough the side of a fork wouldn’t cut through it.
But wait, there’s more. As the only two guests in the restaurant, we waited at least 30 minutes between the time the first course was cleared and the second course arrived, a delay that was belatedly attributed by our waiter to a problem with the oven. There are some things you can blame fusion for. A lack of courtesy isn’t one of them.
By Julia Kramer. Photographs by Martha Williams.