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Sabor Inka restaurant review, Lawrenceville

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Anna Leon, a native Peruvian and owner of Lawrenceville’s Sabor Inka, tells me she wants customers from all backgrounds to feel at home in her year-old restaurant — even those who don’t know this distinctive South American cuisine. The restaurant floors sparkle, the menu is chock full of approachable dishes that suit many tastes, and Anna’s teenage niece Veronica — my server on all of my visits — provides service with more affability and knowledge than some seasoned veterans.

Review by Gene Lee

Review by Gene Lee

But Sabor Inka is not devoid of minor issues. A forgotten drink order and a mistimed entrée delivery had me scratching my head. (I received my entrée before appetizers were served and for an uncomfortable amount of time prior to my dining companions’ entrées.) Some dishes, particularly ones involving chicken, are lackluster.

My quarter order ($6.95) of pollo a la brasa — a roasted seasoned chicken also served by the half or whole — looked promising with its deep golden-brown skin and revealed a slick moist interior when I tore into it with my knife and fork. But its reserved flavors left me craving more char and punctuation from its outer salt, garlic and cumin rub.

On the other hand, I loved the peppery flavors of tacu tacu de pollo (stir-fried chicken, $9.95) and the fluffy fried rice fused with toothsome canary beans. Deep flavors permeate throughout the sauce with accents of garlic and soy sauce (soy sauce was introduced by Asian immigration in the 19th and 20th century), and the wonderful rice and beans soak it up like a sponge. Unfortunately, I did not care for the tough and dry chicken which would otherwise make this more enjoyable.

Shrimp ceviche (photo by Becky Stein)

Shrimp ceviche (photo by Becky Stein)

The same garlicky sauce coats the delicious lomo a lo pobre ($13.50) – tender cubes of beef stir-fried with red onions and tomatoes. The flavorful beef comes with steamed white rice topped with a fried egg and French fries cooked to hot, crunchy perfection.

For a fun appetizer, try the spicy Papa a la Huancaina ($7). Soft slices of boiled potato — accented with black olives and a hard-boiled egg — are cooled and topped with a thick, creamy yellow sauce made with milk, cheese and processed aji peppers. The ceviche de camarones ($14.95) appetizer also tops my list. A serving of shrimp, cilantro and thin sliced red onions tossed in a citrusy sauce makes my mouth pucker. Its side items of corn kernels toasted to nutty softness, and a slice of yam with sweet pliable flesh balance out the tangy ceviche.

I also enjoy the restaurant’s pescado a la plancha (grilled fish, $10.99), served with steamed white rice and a fresh side salad dressed with vinaigrette. The kitchen lightly seasons a thin filet of sea bass with salt and garlic and grills it until its flat exterior takes on a golden crust. The dish is an easy choice if you want something light and healthy.

Minor issues aside, Sabor Inka is off to a good start with many diverse dishes to choose from in a warm, family-friendly environment.

SABOR INKA
960 Pleasant Hill Road, Suite E, Lawrenceville, 30044, 770-564-9136
Foo2stars5d: Hearty home-cooked South American fare
Service: Good, but at times it seems only one server works the whole dining room
Best dishes: Lomo a lo pobre, ceviche de camarones, Papa a la Huancaina
Vegetarian selections: Side salads, and lots of starchy appetizers and side dishes
Credit cards: Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays
Children: Yes
Parking: In lot
Reservations: Yes
Wheelchair access: Yes
Smoking: No
Noise level: Low to moderate
Patio: No
Takeout: Yes

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6 comments Add your comment

Barbara

August 18th, 2011
9:54 am

Is it an egg that is half-boiled or half a boiled egg?

Gene Lee

August 18th, 2011
10:29 am

Crikey, it should be “hard-boiled.” Thanks for the catch.

Barbara

August 19th, 2011
9:37 am

Thanks! I was getting very confused trying to figure out how to half-boil an egg.;) I was thinking that was like being a little pregnant.

Desi

August 19th, 2011
10:51 am

Hi Gene,

I have been to this restaurant and LOVED the food & service and atmosphere. I would l dare to give them 3 stars! Me and my husband went there on a lazy Saturday afternoon, right before diner service started and there were several larger groups there dinning, but they served us just as quickly and were very nice. When we were there, they had two servers probably in preparation of the dinner crowd. As a new restaurant in this hard economy, small restaurants simply cannot afford to hire large amounts of servers. I think it is a smart move to keep the overhead as low as possible to ensure that they make it to their second year and subsequent years.

FOOD: We sat at the bar and got to get see the TV and got some drinks served to us. We did order the ceviche and you didn’t include all the items in it….it has mainly shrimp, but there is white fish in there as well and squid and its ceviched in lime and lemon juice with red onions and green peppers. Along with our entrée, I asked for extra spice, and they brought a bowl of a green hot sauce. It was not only spicy, but flavorful. I had an extra order of fried yucca to go with my order of Jalea mixta which is lightly friend seafood platter (shrimp, oysters, fish, scallops and other seafood). Dare I say we will be going back and bringing friends and family with us.

BUSINESS: I happen to work in the commercial real estate field and have the opportunity to see from the tenant’s side how hard it is to build and maintain a thriving business that is at least some figments of your original idea while making money and not compromising your ideas and self in the process. think for a small restaurant that is barley a year old, they did pretty good, I hope they can make it thru this economic slump.

se sniper

August 22nd, 2011
8:10 pm

PPC And Stuffing is it usefull? http://ow.ly/69GLq?e=925l56

Ed

August 24th, 2011
9:38 am

John — we just got a new butcher up in East Cobb that you need to check out. All locally sourced meat, naturally cured meats and sausage (only one in the US). http://www.heywoodsmeat.com