Brazilian food has arrived in Toledo and the kids and I were among some of the first people to try it. I will preface this review by saying we got more than we bargained for when we stopped at Sabor— in a good way! We had flavorful, authentic food, were made to feel like we’d known the owner for years, and received a little history lesson.
Offering something different
Sabor Brazilian Grill & Desserts is the first Brazilian restaurant to open in Toledo. On Monroe Street near Sylvania Avenue, owner Hussein Zahran wanted the restaurant to be affordable with a family atmosphere, opting for a fast-casual concept. Upon entering, there’s a counter to place your order, with the open kitchen just beyond the counter. After placing your order, seat yourself in the spacious dining area filled with tables and booths. They have a large party room as well; something many restaurants lack these days.
My group had more than a lot of questions about the menu, and Zahran was excited to tell us about everything. As a matter of fact, after we were served our meals, more food appeared; he was excited to share it all with us! Now THAT’S hospitality!
Tabbouli from Brazil?
On to my history lesson… I was perplexed, seeing several Lebanese menu options. As it turns out, Zahran is actually Lebanese; coming from his native country in 2003, he married his wife, who was raised in Brazil. Did you know there are more Lebanese people in Brazil than there are in Lebanon? That was news to me. In the restaurant business for years, Zahran runs the Grape Leaf Diner Express also on Monroe Street, which serves Lebanese food.
Sabor recently opened, and we weren’t aware they had a kids’ menu. My kids were all about trying something new anyway. If, however, your children prefer not to embark on the dining adventure with you, there are options for those 10 and under, with a meal and a drink for $5. Offerings such as the chicken tenders, chicken chunks and grilled cheese are served with fries. Also included on that menu are grilled chicken or beef with rice, or a couple Brazilian appetizers. Weekdays in November, they are offering a free kids’ meal with every adult entrée.
Variety is the spice of life
Some of the authentic appetizers are deep fried, but most offerings on the menu are grilled or sautéed. Of course we tried the popular Coxinha appie with shredded chicken inside a deep fried battered shell with special sauce. It’s very popular. The fresh Sabor Salad includes heart of palm and a light dressing. I was certain to sample everyone’s meal! Some foods or sauces can have a touch of spice, but most of it is pretty mild. The Brazilian Burger for $6 was topped with shoestring potatoes, an over easy egg, and delicious seasoning.
Meu Wrapper with the grilled chicken was devoured by my oldest son, and my daughter somehow ate most of her “Bowl” that had grilled chicken, rice, Brazilian beans, salsa, and an over easy egg. My grilled salmon with house spices was good, but my mom’s Frango Plate with grilled Brazilian chicken was one of my faves. Beef, lamb chops, and fish are also on the menu.
Keep it sweet!
Whether Brazilian food tempts your taste buds or not, you must stop in for the delectable desserts. Not only do they have 10 choices, but they have specials as well. My children loved the passion fruit mousse, Pave de Doce De Leite, and the Bolo De Prestigio which was a coconut chocolate cream cake. No desert doggie bags for us. Be sure to try the Brazilian soda Guarana. It’s a light, fruity carbonated drink and so refreshing.
Bottom Line: Bem-Vindos! Welcome! The Brazilians are known for their friendliness and taking time to get to know one another. At Sabor you’ll experience authentic Brazilian food as well as genuine friendly service. The kids menu offers several options for only $5 and kids eat free weekdays in November, one with each adult entrée. You will be too full for dessert, but be sure to get one to go!
Karen Zickes is a mom of three active children and freelance writer who resides in Holland, OH
She can be reached in c/o firstname.lastname@example.org
4751 Monroe St., Toledo, 43623