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CHOW HOUND: To your health 

Pulling in to the plaza where Saha Med Grill (1290 University Avenue) is located, I had a sense that there's a theme going on: health. Walking from the car to the restaurant, I heard the barking of a personal trainer and the grunts from participants in what looked to be a circuit training class going on at the nearby Real Life Food & Fitness. The Revelry is located there as well in case you're the type that likes to reward yourself with a cocktail after a workout.

Saha Med Grill's stated mission is to deliver heart healthy Mediterranean cuisine to the masses. The staples of the Mediterranean diet include a lot of fruit and vegetables, healthy grains, fish, beans and nuts, lean protein, and olive oil. And studies have shown that the diet reduces the risk of heart disease and can lower blood pressure and cholesterol. You'll find all of those staples included in the recipes on Saha Med Grill's menu.

"The focus is on health, including organic whole grain and raw food combinations as well as meat that is hormone and antibiotic free," says owner Sami Mina. "Portion size will ensure that our customers never have a single pita, salad bowl, or grain bowl that exceeds 500 calories." Mina also founded Aladdin's, and owns Pomodoro Grill and Wine Bar.

The space itself is large with an outdoor patio out front, cafeteria-style seating inside and an open kitchen that spans the entire length of the back wall. The ordering process is similar to that of Chipotle: you pick whatever pita, salad bowl, or grain bowl that you want, and then go down a line adding whatever ingredients you want to personalize your order, paying at the end. Mina says the recipes are based on those from his 93-year-old mother.

The grain bowl ($10 for vegetarian, $13 to add meat or fish) starts with a base of either rice or quinoa, or both, and includes the roasted vegetables of the day, and a choice of four different sauces. If you want to add meat or fish, you can choose from beef tenderloin kabob, chicken kabob, or salmon, lamb, or chicken shawarma. Of note: The lamb shawarma is grilled and roasted lamb with 10 Middle Eastern spices.

There are eight different pita wraps to choose from, including a grape leaves pita ($8) with grape leaves, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, feta, and tzatziki sauce. Those looking for more general Mediterranean dishes like hummus, baba, and tabouli (all $3 for a side) will find those here as well.

Mina says he is planning to nationally franchise Saha Med Grill and is in the process of opening three more locations. Plans are for locations in Pittsford, Victor, and City Gate.

Saha Med Grill is located at 1290 University Avenue. It is open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Menu prices range from $3 to $13. Visit the restaurant's website at sahamedgrill.com.

Quick Bites

The Taste NY Harvest Fest will be held on Saturday, November 1, at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. Taste NY Harvest Fest celebrates food and beverage products made in New York State and aims to connect local products to local buyers. The event will be held in two sessions, the first from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the second from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The price of admission comes with a complimentary tasting glass that can be used for sampling wines, beers, liquors, and ciders. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door, and can be purchased at the State Fair Administration Building or by phone at 315-487-7711.

Genesee Brew House (25 Cataract Street) will celebrate ROCtoberfest on Saturday, October 11, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Break out your lederhosen and dirndls, because prizes will be given for best German attire. Live music will be provided by The Goods and The Krazy Firemen. The outdoor event is held rain or shine and price of admission is $5. More information can be found on the Genesee Brew House's Facebook page, and on its website, geneseebeer.com.

Openings

East/West Kitchen opened at 337 East Avenue and offers a combination of Asian Fusion, Vietnamese, and Russian cuisine.

Chow Hound is a food and restaurant news column. Do you have a tip? Send it to food@rochester-citynews.com.

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