There’s so much great food to try in DC, so we’ve decided to take a deep dive into some of the city’s best dishes! We picked the series back up this week with La Famosa’s coquito and Espita/Ghostburger’s Carnitas & Rabe Sandwich, and today we’re checking out SABABA’s seasonal falafel, which rotate flavors but are all vegan and gluten-free! Currently on the menu is a honey nut squash variety that features mulled apple cider tahina and sage and onion salad, which sounds perfect for cold weather. Here’s what Executive Chef Ryan Moore told us:
For starters, when and/or where did the inspiration for this dish come from?
My inspiration for the Sababa seasonal falafel comes from talking with local farmers and getting feedback of what is good that season and available throughout the entire season.
What was the recipe development process like? Any notable trial and error moments resulting in either “AHA!” or “OH NO” breakthroughs?
My recipe development process is pairing flavors and textures that compliments each other. The R&D I first do is the falafel itself, working out ratios of ingredients to achieve the texture/flavor of falafel I want. I then create the Tahina sauce and accompanying salad to complement/balance with the falafel.
Obviously all of the elements of the dish are important, but is there one in particular (whether it’s an ingredient or technique) that stands out as especially crucial?
The most important ingredients in my seasonal falafel are chickpeas, and tahini. chickpeas for falafel, and tahini to create a flavorful tahina sauce. Every other component of the dish changes with the seasons.
It’s one thing to roll out a menu item and another to know for sure it’s a keeper. What for you solidified it as the latter?
My big A-HA moment for development of the season falafel came very early on in opening Sababa when I realized how well flavorful, and unique tahina sauces pair with a falafel.
And if someone were to order this, what are some good additional pairings (food or drink) to go with it?
I recommend pairing the falafel with my sababa hummus. The hummus comes with pita. It is very common to witness tables turn the falafel plate into falafel sandwiches to enjoy.
Sink your teeth into some falafel from SABABA! (We also just wrote a glowing review of their Israeli brunch, so be sure to check that out, too!)
3311 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20008
Monday – Thursday: 5:00 – 9:00 PM
Friday + Saturday: 5:00 – 10:00PM
Sunday: 5:00 – 9:00PM
Brunch Sunday: 11AM – 3PM
Featured image via SABABA