This Restaurant in Park Slope Brings the Flavors of Beirut to Brooklyn

One of the few places people from all cultures can foster a place of togetherness and deeper understanding for one another is around a table to share a meal. Few are as dedicated to this mission as Samaya Boueri Ziade, which led to the recent opening of Sawa in collaboration with her brother and now restaurant partner George Boueri, and Chef de Cuisine Soroosh Golbabae.

Samaya and George come from a family of restaurateurs who influenced Samaya’s outlook on food. After working in the travel industry and then having children, she found herself, like her family before her, drawn to the cooking world. Samaya began taking classes to hone her skills and collaborated with celebrity chefs to host pop-up experiences throughout her community of Park Slope.

All the while, Samaya’s and George’s beloved home of Lebanon, where they were born and raised, endured multiple crises, from the failing economy to the Beirut Explosion of 2020, and the global COVID-19 pandemic. Samaya knew there was no better time to bring Lebanon’s passionate culture of hospitality––where the family and table are one––to her neighborhood and New York at large.

An architect with a background in sustainable design, George shifted his career to help oversee development and operations. They brought in Chef de Cuisine Soroosh Golbabae the Iranian-born-and-raised chef who has worked in some of New York’s most acclaimed restaurants, ranging from Gramercy Tavern to Eyval. In the spirit of the name––Sawa means “together in Arabic––Chef Soroosh and Samaya worked closely to execute their families’ recipes with a contemporary touch.

The menu starts with a selection of mezze, including Hummus made from cooked mashed chickpeas and blended with tahini paste, with the option to top it with sautéed wagyu beef cheek with pine nuts. Do not overlook the Akhtabut: seared octopus with pearl couscous tossed in a cilantro garlic sauce. All mezze is best enjoyed with fresh Pita Bread, baked daily from Sawa’s expansive oven that greets guests with its ever-present warmth upon entering the restaurant. 

As far as main courses, Sawa presents dishes such as Kibbeh Arnabiyeh, featuring Middle Eastern-spiced meatballs and lamb shank in tahini stew, and Beiruti Samke Harra, a char-grilled whole dorade in a spicy tomato sauce.

Round out the meal with something sweet; the Nammoura––akin to a citrusy American cornbread––consists of semolina cake, creamy orange blossom custard, and crispy almonds.

Sawa is a testament to resilience promising an unforgettable journey of great tastes and gratifying togetherness. 

Top Takeaways

Location: Park Slope, Brooklyn

Address: 75 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217

Cuisine: Lebanese

Price Point: $$

Takes Reservations: Yes–Resy

The vibe: A balanced blend of Beirut and Brooklyn, Sawa features design elements inspired by the architecture of Lebanon with a modern touch that sets the tone for a warm, enjoyable evening. 

Our favorite thing on the menu: We know octopus can be a divisive dish, but everyone will love Sawa’s Akhtabut. Plus, try the Hummus with wagyu beef cheek and pine nuts.  

The attire: Smart Casual

Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner: Dinner: Wednesday to Sunday, 5:30 PM – 11 PM.

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