If the most exciting thing that happened to you this week was seeing the trailer for the next season of a British TV show you binged last summer, then it’s time to kick things up a notch. You need to add some intensity to your everyday life, but how? Replacing Alexa’s voice with Liam Neeson’s is one option, changing your alarm clock tone to the song from Requiem For A Dream is another. Joining an underground boxing club is probably your best bet, but if you’re wary of spending the night in the basement of a 7-Eleven while a man named Tiny wires your jaw shut, we’ve got another suggestion for you. Eat dinner at Sarma, a Mediterranean restaurant in Winter Hill with very intense food that will be the highlight of your week.
At this point, you might be sick of small plates and overwhelmed by menus that are the size of a small town’s phone book. Those are understandable complaints, but they don’t apply at Sarma, even though it has both. The plates here are small for a reason—they’re each perfectly composed with what seems like 30 different ingredients, giving you what feels like a full meal after just a few bites. Instead of your typical mint and rice stuffed grape leaves, the ones here get scallops, mushrooms, and lemony egg sauce made with miso, and yuzu. Each dish is a clown car of ingredients (and there are no crying children in sight).
photo credit: Natalie Schaefer
Unfortunately, this place is so popular that getting in the door isn’t easy. Despite the fact that Sarma is hidden behind Somerville High School in a nondescript part of Winter Hill, the colorful dining room is packed every night and perpetually booked a week or two in advance. But if you can’t get a reservation, know that the bar opens up at 5pm, a half-hour earlier than the rest of the restaurant. You can’t order food right away, but you can enjoy a couple of drinks while the kitchen finishes their prep work in front of you, and then shift to dinner when they start serving at 5:30.
Once you get to the food, you’ll find that whatever you needed to do to get in the door was worth it. There’s never a bad time to come here, but with a creative cocktail list and a manageable price point, it’s particularly great for a date (if nothing else, the crazy flavor combinations will always give you something to talk about). But don’t be afraid to come here alone - you’ll find yourself surrounded by so many friendly people that you can convince yourself you went to a party. It’s exactly what you need to forget about your boring work week. And your health insurance probably doesn’t cover back-alley shoulder relocations, anyway.
Lamb Kofte Sliders
This actually might be the simplest dish on the menu, as the sliders are topped with nothing more than brown butter, pickles, and tomato. But when the lamb is perfectly cooked as it is here, that’s all you need.
photo credit: Natalie Schaefer
We’re not embarrassed to say that we’d gladly eat the miso, mushroom, and yuzu sauce that these grape leaves are served in like a soup.