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Omnivore - Saba opens in Oakhurst

Huge portions, fantastic food, low prices

Saba, the popular Emory Village restaurant, has opened a second location in Oakhurst Village (350 Mead Rd., 404-377-9266). That's the space most recently occupied by Calavino's and several others before that. The location has been death to just about everyone, but I have a feeling Saba may prosper here.

The menu is the same inexpensive, Italian-inspired food featured at the original location, which was opened by Ryan Aiken, the young chef who earlier operated Burrito Art and Misto. Aiken has only marginal involvement in in the two Sabas' day-to-day operation but is rumored to be opening yet another restaurant. He's also consulting with other restaurants.

Our meal really was a delicious bargain, starting with a stack of of roasted red peppers, portobellos, eggplant and goat cheese (above).  The stack was encircled by a pungent pesto and drizzled with sweet balsamic reduction.

Wayne insisted on ordering these fresh, hot, crunchy potato chips with blue cheese and more pesto. Yes, it's kind of a cliche   another echo of the Buckhead Diner but the pesto is a unique touch.

Next up was Wayne's entree of mixed seafood over fettucine in a lobster stock spiked with white wine, butter and garlic.

I couldn't resist the lamb ragu — not exactly a hot summer dish but lamb is my most essential nutrient. The chunks of slow-cooked meat, slightly redolent of rosemary and mint, were served over fettucine.

Did I mention that portions are huge? Neither of us could eat more than half our pasta entrees, so plan to share a starter. These four dishes cost under $35. I've had many meals twice the price that didn't come close to Saba's quality.

(Photos by Cliff Bostock)