Sahara Restaurant – Downtown Charleston
I have to say that I love Middle Eastern Cuisine as much as Susan loves Asian Cuisine. Humus and Pita bread are like crack to me. I love the lemon and garlic. The simple seasonings let the flavors of the meats and vegetables shine. I can get my fix at Sahara, but it comes at a cost.
Sahara has two buffet tables, one hot and one cold. The cold bar has a simple salad, humus, Baba ghanouj , and some sweets. The hot bar has lemon chicken, chicken kabobs, gyro meats, two rice dishes and a few vegetarian dishes with eggplant and potato. They also have Fuul (Vicia faba), which is a slow cooked stew of brown beans and red lentils dressed with lemon olive oil and cumin (from Wikipedia). I like all the hot offerings, but I feel that there could be more choices. I hate emtpy wells on a steam table. How about offering Siyyadiyeh, spiced fish over rice, or my favorite stuffed meat dish, Kibbeh.
If you are unfamiliar with Lebanese or Syrian food, a buffet is a good place to get to try several things. You can figure out what you like and leave what you don’t care for on your plate without guilt. Sahara’s uses quality ingredients and great recipes. You will leave with a full tummy and an empty wallet. The buffet and drink will cost more than $10. THREE Forks.
I have to get my financial nerve up to come to Sahara’s. I think it is overpriced – I’ll just get that off my chest right now.
Today the buffet seemed a bit skimpier than usual, like there were some dishes missing from the spread. I don’t remember seeing the pita triangles with the Mediterranean toppings on it, for instance. Still, there were about a dozen things to choose from.
I sampled the roast chicken, the chicken gyro mix, a sort of curry dish, meatballs and salad. Everything was good…but not great. The roast chicken is usually tender but today was a tad dry. (I’m surprised Misty didn’t ask for some mayo to help moisten it so she didn’t have to choke it down dry.) The chicken gyro mix was tasty but lacked flavor compared to The Moroccan buffet. I liked the curry dish but it seemed to be very light on the chicken, heavy on the carrots. Meatballs were okay but nothing to write home about. Salad was…well, regular salad. Iceberg lettuce with some feta chunks in it. The lettuce was very crisp and fresh – no brown spots.
Compared to the Moroccan buffet near the Capitol, the food isn’t any better and it costs way more. In fact, the Moroccan place has a delicious spinach-feta pizza which alone is reason enough to dine there.
The atmosphere is plain and uninviting. I can’t really speak about the service – since it’s a buffet, you do everything for yourself except get the drink. Checkout was fast, but <ouch> over $10.
Sahara just doesn’t do anything for me. If a group wants to come here, I don’t object, but I wouldn’t choose it myself. I would much rather go to Sitar, located diagonally across the intersection of Summers and Washington.
This is perhaps my shortest review ever. TWO FORKSSahara 189 Summers Street Charleston, WV 304-346-9800