Every Thursday night I have dinner with one of my best friends from college. We started these weekly catch up sessions right after we graduated in May 2006, which means we're coming up on 12 years of this treasured tradition. This past Thursday we decided to try somewhere new - Seta's Cafe on Belmont Street.
Seta's opened in October 2013. Owner Seta Dakessian had become very well known on the local farmer's market scene, selling packaged goods such as hummus, baba ghanoush and grape leaves under the company name Seta's Mediterranean Foods. She grew up in the food business - her parents owned a cafe and bakery, she attended Johnson & Wales and worked for several years under chef Jody Adams at Rialto in Harvard Square (RIP, Rialto). Learn more about Seta in this wonderful Boston Globe feature.
We arrived to the cafe around 7:00pm. I had driven past the space many times, but never gone in, so was looking forward to seeing what was inside.
The dining area seats 20, but doesn't feel cramped. Though it was freezing outside that night, the bright yellow daffodils on each table made us believe spring might actually be coming.
Right away I noticed a chalkboard sign celebrating the local farmers who provide meat and produce for the dishes on the menu.
We walked over to the giant printed menus to be sure what we'd seen online was still what we wanted to order (I had already zeroed in on the falafel bowl). There were three pages of delicious choices, plus a brunch menu on the far end.
There were a few people in line in front of us, giving us plenty of time to ogle the goodies, both savory and sweet, behind the glass on the counter.
I almost reached over to touch this almond cake.
We eventually placed an order for a smattering of things and I couldn't wait to dig in. While we listened for our name to be called, we noticed another chalkboard sign, this one announcing that Seta's is BYOB. File that under "things I wish I'd known sooner."
Also, how cute are these silver pails? Between these and the terra cotta pots at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Miami, I am having all kinds of new ideas for my next party.
After a short wait, our food was ready and scurried up to the counter to grab our tray. To begin, we decided to share the za'atar and cheese flatbread. I love za'atar spice; I will put it on anything. Combine it with cheese and turn it into a pizza? Don't mind if I do!
This was the perfect item to share. We ripped the flatbread in half and each made our piece disappear pretty quickly.
For the main event, my friend chose the falafel sandwich, which came in a very tasty looking lavash wrap.
She cut the sandwich in half, revealing freshly fried falafel and a generous portion of salad.
She raved about the sandwich, commenting that, "the lavash is super yummy and keeps you from getting too full. The falafel is great and the tahini brings everything together."
I went with the falafel bowl for one reason and one reason only - it included French fries. In Israel, it's very common to order a falafel sandwich (in a pita pocket) with French fries stuffed inside.
My eyes bugged out of my head when I saw how large the bowl was. It had four falafels balls (fresh out of the fryer), a mountain of French fries, lavash triangles and tahini for dipping, all over a bed of salad.
I knew right away this dish was going to become part of my takeout rotation.
After drooling over the desserts when we first arrived, we also shared a coconut macaroon and a piece of baklava.
Look at all those pastry layers!
Though the dessert was a let down, there are so many more dishes I want to try at Seta's. I am particularly intrigued by the brunch menu, which is served on Saturdays from 9:00am - 12:00pm.