An insider's view of the Connecticut dining scene
Sep 10, 2013
05:56 PMThe Connecticut Table
Sababa: 'Cool' Israeli Street Food in New Haven
Mara Lavitt/New Haven Register
Falafel platter with roasted-red pepper hummus, baba ganoush, roasted cauliflower and chopped Israeli salad.
You won’t find Israeli history or archeology walking down the first block of Whitney Avenue, but in a small lunch joint called Sababa, you can find the fresh and healthy Israeli street food that endears the cuisine to so many.
Jerusalem-born chef and owner Mickey Josephs grew up in a home where his mother and grandmother spent most of their time in the kitchen. His family “was a Sephardic Jewish family,” he says. “Food is constantly in your face, different and spicy.” When Josephs came to the U.S. in 1991 at age 22, he found a job at a pizzeria in New Jersey. He found the work enjoyable, and decided to go to culinary school at a community college.
In 2001 Josephs wanted to start his own restaurant, but New Jersey proved too onerous for a start-up restaurant. He came to Old Saybrook and opened Rosemary & Sage, a Mediterranean-style bistro, in 2002. In short order, a review appeared in the New York Times. After that, well, “We were mobbed,” Josephs says. Two years later, a car drove into the front of the restaurant, causing major damage. It took Josephs nearly a year to reopen, but a year later he sold it and opened Mickey’s Restaurant and Bar in Hamden.