Restaurant review: Sergio’s SARAVA

Taking full advantage of the recent nice weather (still March!), we wanted to eat outside someplace. Many restaurants don’t have their patios open yet, but we found plenty of outdoor seating at Sergio’s SARAVA, in Shaker Square. It was another strange, beautiful evening, and I noted how I don’t think we’ve ever eaten outside this early in the year before, at home or away. It’ll probably be snowing in a couple weeks, but enjoy it while it lasts…

The patio was hopping, but we were seated quickly. Unfortunately, we didn’t see our server again for quite a while. It was a good twenty-five minutes from the time that we sat to the time our order was taken. Things were busy, so I’ll cut some slack, but the service all evening was very slow – we didn’t get our meal until we’d been there for over an hour, and we didn’t spend any leisure time sipping drinks beforehand. Not too good.

On a positive note, the food was enjoyable. We started with a nice chorizo-stuffed empada (basically a turnover). The crust was nicely crispy and flaky, and inspired me to cook with puff pastry more often. The filling was spicy and tender and just generally yummy.

For dinner, S went with the feijoada. Feijoada is like the unofficial official dish of Brazil, and there are tons of variations on it, though the base is typically a kind of black bean soup or stew with pork or beef. This one had the bean base, and included beef, pork loin, ham, smoked bacon, and linguiça sausage. The meat was falling apart, and there was not so much of it that it was a meat dish with beans – it was still a thick bean stew with meat. It came served over rice and with fried spinach, which was in interesting adventure in texture. The flavor of the spinach was still there, but the leaves almost dissolved as soon as they hit your tongue.

I had a shrimp baiana – pan-seared shrimp over rice, with a creamy, coconutty, slightly spicy sauce over everything, and served with roasted carrots, squash, and cauliflower. A couple of the shrimp were slightly overdone and a little tough, but overall it was a pleasant mix of flavors, especially the simultaneous sweet and spicy in the sauce.

No dessert this time around – there were  a few that sounded pretty good, but we’d already been there for two hours and had a kid to get to bed, so we forewent the sweets.

Final verdict: Sergio’s SARAVA earns four-and-a-half stars out of seven. The food was quite good, but nothing spectacular. The real negative was the service time. Again, things were busy, and if we went again, it may well be entirely different, but based on this experience, it’s a minus. Prices were about average, with most entrees in the $18 – 24 range.

Sergio's Sarava on Urbanspoon

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