Last month, I spent a leisurely Saturday morning at Half Price Books browsing the cookbook section and bought a copy of Israeli Soul by Philadelphia restaurateurs Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook. It’s a delightful, photo-laden travelogue with entire chapters dedicated to falafel and schnitzels. There’s also a dazzling 36-page spread just on hummus with two dozen suggestions for things you can put on top of your dip.
But what really caught my imagination was a chapter about sabich. I had never heard of sabich, a vegetarian street sandwich of fried or roasted eggplant, sliced hard-boiled egg, and amba, a spicy pickled mango sauce. Both amba and sabich came to Israel from the Jewish community in Iraq. It sounded like a fascinating sandwich, not least because I’ve never had egg and eggplant together, which is strange, given how close their names are. (Speaking of names: according to Israeli Soul, this sandwich is pronounced sa-BEEK.)
What heightened my curiosity, reading through the sabich chapter, was a fatalist assumption that no restaurant in Dallas would ever serve a vegetarian egg-eggplant sandwich. Silly me! Milk & Honey, the Israeli market on Coit Road, has sabich on the menu. And just a week after I bought Israeli Soul, the popular Oak Lawn restaurant Sachet announced it would be opening for lunch with a short list of sandwiches and bowls, including my new fixation. So I went.
Sachet’s version is a really cool sandwich. What stands out to me is the variety of textures: soft egg, crispy radish, crunchy cucumbers, tender eggplant, fresh greens, and fluffy housemade pita bread. The amba’s mango base is not very prominent in the balance of the sandwich, but you do feel a bit of its spicy kick at the end of each bite. Other than that, the main flavor is the strong savoriness of roasted eggplant, salad veggies, and egg. There’s something surprisingly comforting about this combo.
Eating sabich, you can tell that this is meant to be a street food item. You can feel the sun’s heat, hear rowdy market vendors, and imagine sauce spilling out onto your wrists. OK, you don’t have to imagine that last part.
Sachet’s sabich comes with the restaurant’s crispy-crunchy, salty fries. If you prefer, there are veggie sides, but my waiter nudged me toward the fries, and he was right. I haven’t eaten the sabich at Milk & Honey yet, but I will, and it comes with either fries or hash browns.
If you have not had sabich before—and I’m guessing most Dallasites haven’t—consider this a letter of recommendation for the sandwich wherever you can find it. It proves once again that you can experience an abundance of flavors while eating your veggies. You may find yourself, like me, enough of a fan to try both of Dallas’ sabich and compare them. Heck, I might even get cooking and make my own.