2004-04-07 / Restaurant of the Week

Seba Seba Has Colombian Homestyle Cooking, Bakery

Seba Seba Has Colombian Homestyle Cooking, Bakery


Experience the hearty cuisine of Colombia and fresh baked breads and pastries at Seba Seba in Sunnyside. Seba Seba started as a small storefront bakery several years ago, offering freshly baked Colombian breads flavored with cheese, milk and guava that quickly became famous for delicious empanadas, little golden pastries filled with savory meat or chicken. Of course, the coffee was always robust and delicious, making Seba Seba a popular stop for hundreds on the way to work. Partners Carlos Villegas and Luis Velasquez wanted to offer the full range of Colombian cooking to their satisfied clientele, and so today, Seba Seba offers casual dining in a glass enclosed atrium on a handsome corner on Greenpoint Avenue.

Colombian cuisine is inspired by the richness of the soil producing fruits and vegetables, the heartiness of the meat and the freshness of the seafood. Try one of their delectable empanadas as an appetizer, or you could take some home. Since corn is grown throughout Central and South America, there are many side dishes that incorporate both yellow and white corn. I love arepas, hand made corn cakes offered with or without cheese. Corn cakes are eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner in Colombia, so you’ll see many varieties on the menu. Homemade sausages are rich and savory. Appetizers cost between $1 and $3.

Homemade soup is another integral part of Colombian cooking and the chef at Seba Seba makes a different variety each day. We were lucky enough to visit on a Wednesday, when the soup of the day is meatball soup. This hearty soup, fragrant with herbs and chock full of beefy meatballs, yucca and potatoes, is a meal in itself. Lentil, fish and oxtail are just some of their other soup varieties made fresh each day.

From the sea comes whole snapper, served broiled or deep fried. A popular fish dish is the grilled flounder filet, served with fluffy white rice, plantains and a house salad ($10.95). Baked filet of flounder is also prepared with a combination of fresh shrimp and scallops ($13.95). I devoured bubbling shrimp cooked in a traditional garlic and cream sauce. Grilled salmon and trout filets are always on the menu, and the wait staff will tell you about specials of the day). All dressings and sauces are homemade and you’ll love their tangy, mild version of salsa, which tastes great on just about anything.


Straight off the sizzling grill comes skirt steak, called entrana. This meat is very tender and succulent and goes well with the savory plantains and a side order of Colombian beans. The beans are light brown and cooked for hours with smoked pork and herbs that impart a rich, hearty flavor. A national dish called bandeja tipica is not for the faint of heart. A platter of sizzling meat, pork skin, rice, beans, plantains, avocado and corn cakes for just $9.95. Grilled pork chops, pork loin and T-bone steaks are also available. At Seba Seba, you can have a complete meal for well under $20, making it an economical place to bring your family.

Seba Seba is busy at breakfast time, whether you take one of their freshly baked croissants or rolls and coffee to go, or sit down for a plate of eggs, corn cakes and a cup of hot chocolate. At lunch time, juicy burgers and chicken breasts are grilled to order and served on the restaurant-bakery’s own rolls. Sliced steak sandwiches are very popular, as is the Hawaiian sandwich with sliced pork and pineapple on French bread ($5.50). You can grab a shish kebab on a stick for just $2.75 and choose among beef, chicken or pork.

Besides the wonderful pastries from the bakery, Seba Seba makes homemade flan, a creamy egg custard. Light and fluffy bunuelos resemble donut holes. A large selection of fresh fruit juices, including guava, mango, blackberry and pineapple, are sweet and refreshing.

Seba Seba is open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to midnight. Stop in any time for a hearty breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack. The coffee is fantastic, especially when you have it with warm milk, as the Colombians do. Just a block from the Number 7 train, Seba Seba is conveniently located, and offers free delivery to your home or office as well. Seba Seba is an expression meaning "eat and enjoy" and you definitely will enjoy the home style Colombian cooking at Seba Seba.


Seba Seba

44-08 Greenpoint Ave.

Sunnyside

718-786-5919


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