I Ate Here: Sarma
Location: Winter Hill
Cuisine: Modern Mediterranean
Wow. I think that is the only appropriate way to sum up a dining experience at Sarma. Simply, wow. Often you go into a restaurant and have a preconceived notion on what is going to make its way across your table. You hear people rave about a place and you think, it’s going to be good but, you know *shrug*, you practice some old fashion Northeast skepticism to be safe. Well, I’m telling you right here and right now to throw your skepticism to the wind. This place more than delivers on its 4.8 star google review.
Sarma goes for Turkish Mediterranean than the more common Greek Mediterranean you are used to seeing. The two Chef’s behind Sarma, Head Chef Cassie Pluma and Business Partner/James Beard Award winner Ana Sortun, met working at Sortun’s Oleana. Pluma spent 11 years there until 2013 when she opened Sarma. As described on their website “Sarma – wrapped; enveloped; rolled up; a bundle of food that is bite sized and served as a meze”. The small plates at Sarma designed to be shared and passed around the table, adding to the experience of dining in the restaurant.
Now I do not know if the food style lends to the ambiance or the ambiance lends to the food style (classic chicken or egg), but Sarma was perfectly bustling on a Wednesday night. The noise level high but perfect for a table for two or grabbing a seat at the bar. The small plates were being run to tables by a waitstaff always on the move, some carrying around specials that they present to your eye and not your ear. It all feels like a perfectly coordinated comotion. From the lighting to the decor, everything feels deliberate without being overt. Letting you look around while sipping on one of the unique cocktails from the bar and think, what beautiful plates on the walls, what an odd combination with bare light bulbs plugged in via extension cords. The space takes on such a modern industrial feel without passing over a comfortable and inviting vibe. No small task to accomplish.
The cocktail list as well as the wine and beer list was impressive, giving a variety of options. We landed on a Agean Tea (because who can pass up such a beautiful pun) and a Walk Without Rhythm for our cocktails which were so delightful we went for another round.. For wine we landed on the very minerally German wine that’s name unfortunately escapes me now. My suggestion, get something that refreshes your pallet because you have many plates and a lot of flavor to explore coming your way.
Food, ah the food. We asked the waitress if we were over ordering to which she replied: “probably”. For her honestly, we continued on adding plates. While the menu may rotate to accomodate what is in season I can confirm you can order nothing wrong in this establishment. If anything you will come away with the same sadness you feel during a beautiful sunset, that fleeting escape of perfection, just this time it’s your tongue mourning and not your eyes. So instead of outlining all the glorious things that I ate and then stared at the empty plate like an open casket, I will instead leave you with my top two picks: the Lamb Kebab and the Brisket Shawarma. I won’t go into too much detail for fear of ruining your out of body experience, but those two things stopped conversation and turned a table for two into a war zone for the last bite. The flavors are perfection on every plate, the textures never too one or the other. At one point i was hoarding crispy shallots on my plate hoping no one would notice my stockpile. My only regrets are we truly did not leave room for dessert.
Some notes for your future visit: Not only is this place amazing for omnivores but also herbivores, even the fickle vegan kind. They have a specific Vegan menu for those friends that have dietary restrictions who will love you for thinking of them (even though you all win by coming to Sarma). Public transit here can be a bit tough, while you can take the T and a bus it is often much longer than just sucking it up and requesting the uber. They do offer parking for those who can drive and have more information on their website.
Overall I have to say, if you are looking for a thoughtful, unique and delicious culinary experience, look no further and make your reservation a month (no seriously, a month) in advance for Sarma.