Legendary | Worth driving from anywhere
Furn Saj Bakery
Review by: Maggie Rosenberg & Trevor Hagstrom
Furn Saj prepares such familiar middle east specialties as falafel and shawarma, but its main attraction is a full menu of Lebanese baked goods. The chef is classically trained, and his food reflects a level of precision that you wouldn’t expect from a modest place in a strip mall.
Saj is a traditional flat bread popular across the levant. It’s like round lavash. The dough is stretched so thin you can see through it and then cooked on a hot iron dome. Traditionally the bread is transported from the baker to the untouchable grill via large cushions. The saj here isn’t domed, but flat, so the pillows aren’t necessary. The saj comes folded like a quesadilla with a choice of salty fillings: labneh (super thick yogurt), za’atar, crumbly cheese, or any combination of them. We recommend za’atar; its blend of thyme, sumac and sesame is intensely herbal, and sharply lemony.
The gas-powered fire oven is busy browning all sorts of flatbread variations. Aside from the saj, there are stuffed pies, pizzas, adjarski (boat shaped pizzas also known as “pide”), and lamachuns. The bite-sized bakes at the counter make good road snacks. The spinach ones are particularly robust, intensely seasoned with lemon and black pepper.
The best dish at Furn Saj is Cheese Saroukh. These are doughy calzones stuffed with a blend of cheeses, onions and herbs. The falafel is pretty good. They’re the leavened sort, made lighter and airy from the addition of baking powder. They are shaped like Hostess doughnuts. The plate comes with bright red pickled turnips, pickled peppers, salad, tahini and hummus. The hummus is quite good, ultra creamy with clear bean flavors. It’s not especially garlicy or lemony, but rather well-balanced.
Shawarma wraps are a must. The meat is really expertly seasoned and allowed to fully char before it’s shaved. It has a BBQ-like bark. Under the large spits of chicken and beef they have quartered tomatoes basting in the shawarma drippings. These well seasoned, half roasted beauties wind up in the wraps too. It is a higher vision of shawarma, and worth driving from anywhere to try. If you have no preference between beef and chicken, get a half and half. They are both excellent, and come wrapped separately so you can appreciate their distinct qualities.
There are many options for sweets. Nutella and Kinder pizzas or honey and labneh saj are eye catching. We love the homemade rice pudding — a must-eat unbaked alternative. It’s thick, rich, and heavy, almost like a risotto with a touch of rosewater and a heavy dusting of cinnamon. It might be the best rice pudding we’ve ever had.
Directions & Hours
|Meals Served||Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Dessert|
|Credit Cards Accepted||Yes|