Friday, March 27, 2009
So-fra (Turkish/Arabic) n: a picnic on a rug, a low communal table, a small square kilim rug to eat on, a large coffee table, a special table preparation.
A month ago we were in Watertown getting fluid for our heating system. My husband Alex is one of those multi-talented people who knows something about everything (except flowers and chemistry, which he calls witchcraft). He is also always ready with a question, and this time he asked at a bakery next door, where to find the nearest restaurant that served unusual and interesting food. The girl promptly replied “Sofra.” She then added it was an offshoot of Oleana Restaurant in Cambridge. When she mentioned hummus, I was surprised she would call that unusual, but she elaborated that this was hummus that was really different and the other dishes equally remarkable.
Exploring this culinary find was truly not a burden and in fact was a great addition to our special menus. This café is Turkish/Arabic and clearly a hit with locals as we have now been back twice, and each time it is filled. There isn’t a lot of seating, but you can always take meals out.
It has been difficult to choose from the variety of beckoning items on the menu. The first time we tried one of the roll-ups at $8, paired with stuffed flatbreads at $7. The roll-up listed under shawarma was made with lamb, pickled cabbage and tahini with yogurt. We chose the creamy eggplant, leeks and goat cheese for the flatbread. These proved to be our entry into a truly new taste adventure. We finished these off with a musician’s tart at $4. I think that was the one with chocolate and nuts, but in case I am wrong, I can attest to this being a treat and you can ask at the counter where you order.
On a return visit we tried things from the Mezze Bar, where a small item is $3, and you may have five for $9. Mezze are interesting combinations of Turkish items such as beet tzazki, bean plaki, labne with pecans and chopped romaine, and also smoky yogurt with pinenuts. Each of these would take paragraphs to describe and another trip there to be truly accurate (not that I would mind that, but then I’d be eating again and not writing).
Sofra does not serve liquor. It takes about 30 minutes to drive there from Carlisle, and there is some off-street parking. If you happen to be nearby, definitely make it a priority.
Someone once asked why I only say good things about a restaurant. The answer is simple: I’ve encountered poor restaurants and service, but I don’t like to go back to a place that has really disappointed us. Therefore, I put my energy into bringing my good food experiences to your attention. ∆
© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito