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12/10/08 Sofra, Cambridge Report


Restaurants & Bars 38

12/10/08 Sofra, Cambridge Report

opinionatedchef | Dec 10, 2008 10:37 PM

Finally made it here today, a grey rainy wednesday, 4pm. No lines so food was ready quickly. We had a mezze plate and 2 sandwiches and some sweets.

I must say, I was expecting a handsome comfortable room ,but NOT. For all Ana's talents, she is just not a good interior decorator or hirer of interior decorators. In fact, my guess is that interior decorators were never involved here or at Oleana. We found the hard banquettes w/ tiny copper tables uncomfortable and very awkward ( we felt the same about Saint.) Like Oleana, the decor just doesn't make it. Boring. boring boring. Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods are vibrant , as are the decorations and fabrics of those cultures. So why are the tones here and at Oleana so dull . What a shame. And the spatial layout is bad- none of it works: where you sit, where you stand in line, where you pay, where the food is displayed. There is a large variety of baked goods produced every day, but there's almost no place to display them. Consequently, each variety has a tiny spot allocated for it ,and an entire counter display is located BEHIND the cashier/server; you just cannot see it. DUMB. Meanwhile, there's a skinny island in the middle of the room which does nothing. This place just screams out for an M.I.T. architecture studio to tackle it and make it work.

The food: I was really wowed by our 2 sandwiches- the potato, chickpea,labne , and the sausage w/ feta butter and turkish peppers. Enclosing these unusual multi-layered -flavor fillings, was the the day's major WOW!-a hot , freshly griddled thin 'flatbread/pita' unlike any bread I have had before; astounding- flaky, crispy-edged, toothsome. Please sir- I want some MORE!!! These 2 'roll-ups' were $6 each and quite extraordinary. But even w/ the mezze plate ,I was hungry 1/2 hr. later.($9 for 1/4 c. portions of 5 different mezzes[your choice] w/ 2 little fingers of bread; the extra bread we got was $1.)
Our fav mezzes were the Walnut w/ green olive , the Smoky eggplant , the Lentil and the Beet.I did not care for the boring focaccia like bread served w/ them; next time i'll get the crispy crackery flatbread I sampled there.

I'm extremely picky with desserts ( and I dislike honey and rose water)so there were many I didn't try. Excellent were the chocolate cookies sandwiched w/ 'milk jam' (i.e. dulce de leche) and the Choc. earthquakes. Zaatar and cheese filled croissant had , strangely, no flavor.

Take away case has nice offerings. We got a cup sized portion of the green olive walnut spread for $4.

All in all ,I think Sofra has a very high quality line of very unusual (not found elsewhere)and often delicious foods of small portions and high prices.

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