A new tapas restaurant called Sabores (Spanish for flavors) opened last week in Cleveland Park. It's slap bang next to Dino's, and how happy can Dino be about that? In fact, the outdoor Dino crowd was close enough to the (partially) outdoor Sabores customers to hold an inter-restaurant conversation. Unless or until Sabores gets a bigger sign they could well be thought of by passers-by as an extension of Dino.
Sabores is a pretty cool place: white marble tables with black chairs, subdued fluorescent lights that are always changing colors, and private enough to ignore your neighbors if you wish. There are flowers around the adjacent parking meters and that’s not a common sight. They have hot small plates, cold small plates, and large plates. They've also got a fairly long bar if your a bar stool person.
The space occupied by Sabores is an extension to the building (3435 Connecticut Avenue) which sits out on the sidewalk of Ordway Street. The space was, most recently, the Park Bench Pub and to go from the Bench to Sabores is quite a jump. If you were into college football and you didn't care about uneven, sloping floors then the Park Bench Pub had its charm. But, sadly, the Bench passed into history and was removed from the sidewalk. Now, the much classier Sabores is here, and yes, the floor has been leveled and evened out. Just as the Park Bench was both upstairs and down, so the Uptown Tavern folks (downstairs) are also the owners of Sabores (upstairs).
One side of the restaurant (the long side) was open to the street -- a great thing on a warm evening. The staff is friendly and welcoming, the food was tasty and varied, and the Argentinean wine I had was red, dry, and interesting. I'll go back for sure because I like the variety possible with small plates and, like I said, it’s a cool place, but I still miss the Park Bench -- and Bricks of course. Don't you?