A man with a large platter approaches our table. He leans down and displays his wares: wooden bowls of golden-brown chicken, the most enticing aroma wafting upward. “This is sesame fried chicken with tahini remoulade,” he says. “Would you like some?” It would be wrong to say no.
This is Sarma, a new restaurant that is Somerville’s version of a Turkish meyhane, a tavern where one shares meze and raki with friends. Instead of anise-scented liqueur, we get cocktails crafted with cardamom and ginger. Sarma is a collaboration between chefs Ana Sortun and Cassie Piuma, who was previously chef de cuisine at Sortun’s Oleana. (She has also worked at the Butcher Shop, Sel de la Terre, and Al Forno in Providence.) This is her next step, taken with a mentor who is a gifted restaurateur. Is it any surprise it is wonderful?