To say that I am a fan of Boston chef Ana Sortun would be a drastic understatement. Her Mediterranean bakery, Sofra, is just a few blocks from my house and has become a weekend staple. Each week I look forward to popping in for a piping hot bowl of shakshuka, a fragrant pastry, an ice cold Red Dragon tea or grabbing some mezze spreads to go. Her Cambridge restaurant, Oleana, is exquisite. In that space they serve tapas-style Mediterranean food and also boast a gorgeous outdoor patio. So imagine my sheer delight to learn Chef Sortun was opening a third restaurant, her newest baby named Sarma.
I first learned about Sarma in a post by Eater back in May 2013. This winter the restaurant opened on Pearl Street in Winter Hill in Somerville.
When we walked in the hostess asked if we had a reservation. We hung our heads and said, "Sadly, no." Then she offered, "If you're open to sitting at our communal table in the bar area, we can seat you right now." We looked at each other, then back at her and in unison shouted, "Great!"
We took our seats at the communal table, a high top behind the bar. We were seated in between two families (each a set of parents with one elementary school age child). From our seats we could see the whole bar area, the dining room and the through the floor-to-ceiling windows up front.
While sipping on our drinks, our waitress brought us a piece of bread dusted with za'atar and a side of olive oil.
The first to arrive was the haloumi fries. For those who haven't had it before, haloumi is type of cheese, very popular in Mediterranean dishes. I ate tons of it in Israel. In this dish, the cheese is lightly battered (including black sesame seeds) and served with a side of white fig ketchup, sprinkled with oregano.
Second to arrive was the feta cheese gnocchi. The light pillows of pasta were swimming in a spicy broth with morel mushrooms and peas. This sauce was so expertly seasoned that I wanted to lick the bowl.
Our final dish was the asparagus, served with egg katayifi, avgolemono and black truffles. The egg is served the same way they serve the egg in the Turkish breakfast at Sofra, in a nest.
In addition to the dishes we ordered, something unique about Sarma is the way they showcase their specials for the evening. Like Dim Sum, they bring each dish around on trays and if you are interested in what you're seeing (and smelling!) you can request it right then and there and they will place it on the table.
After our six round feast we were pretty sure we needed to tap out, but that didn't stop us from perusing the dessert menu. Their are two offerings on the Sarma dessert menu: ricotta donuts and Greek frozen yogurt with your choice of house made toppings. That toppings list includes: lime curd with blackberries, halva caramel, aleppo peanuts, cherry-ouzo sauce and more.
Though tempted, we decided to call it quits.
Overall, our experience at Sarma was a fantastic one. We expected to have to wait at least an hour, but the communal table allowed us to be seated right away. Our waitress was great, our drinks were fabulous and the food was exotic and decadent.
Have you been to Sarma yet? What was your favorite dish?