Single beef kabob platter with baba ghanoush and quinoa salad at Raleigh's Sassool Cafe.

Sassool: where eating healthier tastes better

In a city where the constellation of gourmet burger restaurants serving decadent Angus beef patties saddled with mounds of indulgent toppings keeps multiplying, the number of eateries serving the lighter side of things doesn’t seem to be keeping the same rigorous pace. Luckily for those trying to maintain a halfway decent waistline, North Raleigh’s Sassool Café provides a healthier alternative to the land of bacon cheeseburgers and deep-fried onion rings without sacrificing in the flavor department.

The fast-casual restaurant situated in the Harvest Plaza shopping center off Strickland Road is a rebranding of what was formerly the home of Neomonde’s second location in Raleigh.  Not unlike a Lebanese and Mediterranean version of a K&W Cafeteria, guests enter Sassool and order from an assortment of grilled kabobs, pies, sandwiches and daily special platters at the beginning of the line.  Though the grilled meats are what you might expect, where Sassool truly excels is in its selection of sides.

As guests move down the line, they can choose from a bevy of freshly-prepared side items, available individually per pound as well, and it may be an overwhelming decision to narrow the choice between the numerous selections of pasta and quinoa salads, baba ghanoush and hummus.  What’s most striking, and really most tantalizing, is the kaleidoscope of bright colors found in the sides—the emerald greens of the chopped parsley leaves in the tabouli and the deep reds of diced peppers and cranberries in its quinoa salad—which also functions as an indicator on how fresh everything is.

Sassool clearly knows its audience and offers a smattering of items friendly for those on the Paleo diet. Though, those adhering to the Paleo diet may want to move brusquely past the dessert counter teeming with sweet treats like coconut cake and house made baklava. At the end of the line, guests settle up. At $8.99 for a single kabob platter with two generous portions of sides, and little more than what you may pay for a McDonald’s combo meal, it’s a great value and a no-brainer for a local restaurant serving fresh and healthier fare.

What’s truly rewarding at the end of the line though is that it’s the place for the fresh pita drop-off, where the baker on hand that night drops the complimentary warm pita bread directly from the hot oven peel into your basket. The warm, pliable discs of pita bread make a perfect comestible vehicle for the creamy jalapeno cilantro hummus. Fans of the bread at Sassool would be wise to peruse the attached Neomonde bakery and market chock full of artisan breads and Mediterranean grocery items.

A second location of Sassool Cafe has also opened on Kildaire Farm Road in Cary.

SASSOOL | 9650 Strickland Road Raleigh NC 27615 | 919.847.2700

 

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