Located in Somerville, Sarma Restaurant is a casual, fun dining experience featuring modern Middle Eastern cuisine. What makes this place stand out is that every dish (and cocktail) uses a careful blend of spice & herb combinations that delivers a punch of flavor and spices without being too heavy. The restaurant is modeled after the traditional meyhanes (a traditional restaurant or bar in Iran, Turkey and Balkans region), where friends and family can get together to enjoy a large selection of small, season plates (meze) along with a careful selection of cocktails, craft beers, and wine. Apologies for some of the out-of-focus pictures as the lighting was dim during evening service.
Sarma Restaurant Dining Floor
Fun, colorful decor opens up the dining and bar floor. In addition to the large selection of small plate dishes, original cocktails, and beer/wine selection, there is also a constant stream of “chef special” dishes that waiters would bring out to entice guests to order at a first-come-first-serve basis.
Freshly baked flat bread with za’atar
Freshly baked flat bread with za’atar. Fresh flat bread with Za’atar, a traditional seasoning of wild thyme and sesame, but further enhanced with a mix of coriander, paprika, salt, pepper, garlic, and cumin
We were started out with freshly baked flat bread topped with Za’atar. With a drizzle of olive oil, Sarma’s Za’atar flat bread appetizer starts the meal out right with a mix of za’atar spices and herb that layers spicy, savory, and rich fragrant flavors in each bite.
Vecino Viejo Cocktail
Vecino Viejo. Caña Brava Rum, Banana, Cinnamon, Lime, Mint
The Vecino Viejo is an interesting cocktail that one would expect to be sugary sweet and tropical. However, while still on the sweet side for my preference, the cocktail was nicely balanced and only mildly sweet with a refreshing aftertaste of mint and lime in each sip.
Chickpea Crepe “Harira”
Chickpea Crepe “Harira”. A crispy crepe encasing succulent braised lamb, house made harissa (a chili paste), and green garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
The taco-like Chickpea crepe has a delicate and crisp texture that loosely holds the tender braised lamb meat while absorbing its rich, and mildly spicy flavor. Mixed with chickpeas to give the iconic flavor substance of Mediterranean dishes, this crepe dish is a superb creative take on the Harira. (The Harira is a traditional soup of Algeria and Moroco with lamb, lentils, chicpeas, noodles, egg and spiced with cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, and tumeric.) The eggy crepe does well to encapsulate and focus the punch of flavors that the spices, lamb, and chickpeas deliver. The additional tzatziki sauce (cucumber garlic yogurt) gives it an additional layer of flavors that keeps the flavor light and creamy.
Za’atar Crusted Goat Cheese Sticks with Marinara Sauce
Za’atar crusted goat cheese sticks with marinara sauce. Za’atar spices wrapped around creamy, somewhat gamey goat cheese and marinara sauce dipping
This Middle Eastern variation of an Italian mozzarella stick, this is an off-the-menu special dish that was brought out by a waiter. The incredibly flavorful and fragrant Za’atar spice/herbs crust matched interestingly to the gamey goat cheese. While not my favorite, this makes a nice snack.
Persian Spiced Brisket Sarma
Persian Spiced Brisket Sarma. Spiced brisket, sweet potato, spinach, kiwi, lime, and pistachio
Better lighting of the last piece standing
A ‘Sarma’ is a Turkish dish traditionally of grape, cabbage, monk’s rhubarb or chard leaves rolled around a filling of minced meat and chopped nuts. Almost like an eggroll, the Persian spiced brisket sarma has a thin layer of fried breading over spinach wrapped around a combination of spiced brisket, sweet potatoe, kiwi, lime, and pistachio. The tender, juicy brisket, like many of the other dishes so far explodes with spice and herb flavors, but the most interesting thing is the drastic and distinct change in texture and taste when it comes to the lime and kiwi. The acidic fruits and the tender brisket enhances each other that makes a very lively and fun flavor. The addition of pistachio and sweet potatoes also further adds several layers of flavors that makes this sarma dish kick-ass. Finally, just a little bit of the tzatziki sauce underneath kind of gives it the contrast of refreshing and creamy elements that balance it out. This was probably my favorite Sarma dish.
Brussels Sprouts Bravas (spicy) + chorizo
Brussels Sprouts Bravas (spicy) + chorizo. Hazelnut migas and added chorizo