Sarma means wrapped; enveloped; rolled up; a bundle of food that is bite sized and served as a meze. From the chef that brought us Oleana and Sofra, Sarma is Ana Sortun's version of a Turkish tavern, known as a meyhane. Here in Somerville's Winter Hill neighborhood, a warm embrace of little dishes with intriguing spices and herbs delights.
Painted in a deep cornflower blue with turquoise and green accents, decorated with an elaborate set of painted plates, dangling exposed lights and Turkish mosaiq lamps, the restaurant is colorful and comfortable. Megan, Emily and I caught up one evening, deeming the majority of the plates a hit, with a few misses in the mix as well.
In order of appearance, the Basturma & Cheese Rolls ($8) with chive and fenugreek fell somewhere in the middle. A lovely bite, but nothing that knocked our socks off. The Haloumi Fries ($7) with kimi white fig ketchup and the Brussels’ Sprout Bravas ($9) with hazelnut migas, fell on the awesome side of the spectrum. Even right now I find myself craving these terrific bites! The Haloumi was warm and melty, while the brussles were rich and spicy. From the bar, I sipped an Old Soul ($10) with Bourbon, pineapple, fenugreek and bitters. This was followed up by a glass of crisp, food friendly Txakolina. I'm a big fan of wine menus offering this Basque Country gem - a dry slightly sparking white wine.
We expected to love the Fava Bean Pate ($7) with capers, red onion and dill, but some abrasive salty-spice in the pate itself, plus those capers, overpowered the usually bright and fresh tasting favas. Green Garlic & Zucchini Keftedes ($10) were soft and light patties, topped with refreshing almost palate cleansing ingredients - crisp cress and cucumber tzatziki. The heavier meat and seafood based dishes we ordered were hits. Persian Beef & Swiss Chard ($12) with sweet potato, cilantro yogurt and lime, and the Octopus Skewer ($15) with grilled avocado, grapefruit charmoula and Israeli couscous both proved to be boldly flavored yet balanced dishes with welcome spices.
For dessert, there's about 15 toppings to customize either the thick and tangy Greek style Frozen Yogurt ($5) or the Loukamades ($5) - a ricotta doughnut dusted in powdered sugar. We wisely chose both and paired them with the heavenly Banana Pudding ($2) and the ethereal Passion Fruit Curd ($2). Definitely a fun way to end the meal without being too heavy. Even if you happen to over do it on the small plates (an easy feat, the menu is pretty large) I wouldn't pass on dessert.
249 Pearl St.
249 Pearl St.