6. Sarma: A Mid-East feast.

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The second restaurant my family tried over Thanksgiving was Sarma and it was a hit! Sarma is a meze bar, which means a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern small plates restaurant. There were 7 of us, and by the end of the meal, everyone was full and happy. The day after, when I brought it up, Mr. B simply said, “The food last night was really good.” You’ve probably figured out by now that from him, that’s a rave review! Of the handful of “top” restaurants I’ve tried thus far, this one was the first one that really stood out and I can’t wait to return.

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I apologize for the picture quality in this post. There was so much deliciousness coming at me so fast, that I just barely manage to snap a quick cell phone picture of each item before we dove in. And what did we eat? Pretty much everything.

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Because there were many of us and the plates were small, the meal flew by in a blur of bites. One of this, two of that – an array of flavor and spice. Some dishes were warm and rich and comforting. Some were bright and vibrant, full of vivid flavors and colors. At one point, my sister thrust something at me and said, “Try this – it’s so good!” I looked down at the half-eaten plate of Persian green rice wrapped in swiss chard (a visually striking spin on dolmades served with beet puree, citrus, and pistachio crumbs), and I thought to myself, “This looks like a painting!” I snapped another photo of the plate, spattered in purple and green, then took a bite. It was earthy and floral with the perfect hint of acidity. It was good. Really good. Everyone agreed.

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In addition to the rather large menu (of mostly small plates), there is a variable offering of extra dishes that the servers offer to your table throughout the meal. It’s a little bit like Dim Sum, where you get to look before you pick. There was nothing pushy or intrusive about this. It just added a little extra fun because when something caught our eye, we got to take and eat it immediately; Which is how we ended up with something that looked a lot like chicken fingers and something that was essentially a more delicately spiced version of a kale caesar salad. Although not all of the special plates were so straightforward, the ones we chose were perfect for the slightly choosier (aka picky) members of our party.

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Some of the hot dishes came out a little slow and a little late, as we were starting to fill up and wind down. But when the hungry pouncing portion of the evening had passed, I was able to slowly savor the spaghetti squash carbonara, topped with a soft-boiled egg wrapped egg in crisp knot of shredded fillo dough. And I couldn’t stop dipping my fork into the mushroom moussaka with its incredibly rich chestnut bechamel sauce. And then there were the brussels sprout bravas with nutty sweetness and heat complimenting that characteristic caramelized cabbage musk. Are you groaning and clutching your stomach? Because I am. And drooling a little, at that.

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The dessert menu was simple – doughnuts or soft serve with an array of interesting toppings. We didn’t partake – we were too full, but I plan to do so in the near future, perhaps with a friend after grabbing a cocktail at the bar.

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I’m not sure if I’m doing this meal justice. It was a few weeks ago and it was a lot to take in, so there are many specific dishes and flavors and bites that I haven’t shared with you. But if I’ve forgotten some details or spent too much time dwelling on one plate or another, I won’t waste time worrying over it. I’ll just hasten my plans to return for another delightful dinner at Sarma. I encourage you to do the same.

Sarma
249 Pearl St.
Somerville
(617) 764-4464

Rating: A million delicious forkfuls.

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