A few weeks ago, I filled in for my work counterpart. This resulted in a looooonnnnng day and, by lunchtime, I was ready for a break. Away from the building and my desk, somewhere that served good food. Saj Mediterranean Grill is a fairly new arrival to the neighborhood. It’s a toss up as to whether Mediterranean or Mexican food is my favorite (hummus or tacos?!) so I was looking forward to trying Saj out: when the opportunity came, I jumped at it.
The first thing I noticed is, Saj is busy. The line stretched almost to the door. A good sign when considering the quality of the food, not such a good sign when I’m on a clock and have an hour for lunch, including drive time. I took deep breaths and maintained my equilibrium. I’d take my food back with me if necessary. I spent my line time perusing the menu, reading about the meaning of “Saj”, and wondering if the garlic aioli could possibly be dairy free. The menu offers a wide array of if-not-vegan-easily-made-so options including wraps, salad, and pizzas. A sign on the wall told me “Saj” is the flatbread baked on a domed or flat griddle called a Saj, and the garlic aioli is made with mayo.
There is a handy chart at the register that lists the sauces and their ingredients. As neither the garlic aioli nor the tahini were dairy free, I decided on zaatar sauce. I’d also spent my time in the line watching food go in and out of the large oven, placed so you can watch everything that happens with your food. Saj’s website doesn’t lie: their ingredients are fresh. By the time I’d reached the register, I’d decided on a wrap made with the wheat saj (flat bread) and, once I’d decided on a sauce, filled my wrap with spicy hummus, basmati rice, falafel, kalamata olives (one of my favorite things), and sauteed peppers and onions.
When my wrap arrived, the flatbread reminded me a bit of a crepe. A little thicker but it did resemble a pancake rather than what I usually expected from flatbreads like pita or naan. It was a bit sweet as well, though that was a good contrast to the salty ingredients I’d chosen.
My wrap wasn’t too salty, although I love salt so perhaps any future orders should contain more fresh vegetables. I liked it though. The briny tang of the kalamata olives did overwhelm the other flavors but please don’t consider that a complaint: I appreciate that the staff didn’t skimp on the olives. There was something pickled as a garnishment: the menu has pickled turnips as an option but the peppery bite-reminiscent of horseradish-made me wonder if the garnish wasn’t pickled daikon. The staff was busy so I didn’t ask but cleaned my plate of everything, wrap and garnish. There were no leftovers to take back to work with me and I left the restaurant with ten minutes to spare. Since my drive back was five, I made it back to work in plenty of time!
I purchased a beverage. I usually don’t when I eat out as most commercial beverages contain too much sugar. I did for this visit, as a special treat, and was glad I had done so. I decided on an orange pomegranate San Pelligrino and the sweet/tart carbonation cut through the oil and salt of my meal. I could have shared with a friend: there was too much sugar for me to finish the beverage but I was glad to have it while eating. My entire meal came together to satisfy every section of my tastebuds and I’m looking forward to eating at Saj Mediterranean Grill again soon.