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Feb 19, 2008 06:51 AM


So is anyone excited about this opening? Does anyone know where it's physically going to be?

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  1. I'm very interested in any project with Ana Sortun's name attached to it.

    12 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      Do you know where it's going to be located?

      And yes, she is one of the most talented chef's in the city.

      1. re: joebelt

        No real info yet, but the Cambridge-Watertown line suggests a few spots. Maybe that space on Concord Ave that used to be a series of restaurants for years, and last I looked was a discount furniture shop that looked to be on its last legs.

        1. re: MC Slim JB

          I read it would be next to Violette Imports at 1 Belmont Street.

          1. re: KarenKL

            From Maura Kilpatrick's bio on the Oleana website, looks like somewhere in Cambridge:

            Oleana’s tremendous success has spawned another Kilpatrick/Sortun collaboration: in the spring of 2008, Cambridge will welcome Sofra, a Middle Eastern bakery and café. Sofra comes from an ancient Arabic word meaning dining table, picnic, or kilim; it is also a synonym for generosity and hospitality. Inspired by the cuisine of Turkey, Lebanon, and Greece, Sofra will offer up a modern Eastern Mediterranean twist on traditional mezze, with flat bread sandwiches called gozleme and a hummus bar. And for the sweets, Kilpatrick will create such favorites as Egyptian palace bread, kunefe, molasses cookies, and sticky toffee pudding.

            Darn, I was hoping for Watertown.

            Edited: Sorry, I guess this isn't new info: Violette Imports is technically still in Cambridge even though it's on Belmont Street.

            1. re: KarenKL

              Not next to, but in. Saw a paper sign in the window this morning & construction is underway:

              Application Continued from October 23, 2007- Mo Ventures, Inc. d/b/a Sofra, Maureen Kilpatrick, manager, for a Common Victualer’s license at 7 Belmont Street, from 6:00a.m. to 7:00p.m., seven days per week. Total inside seating capacity is 20. This applicant has also applied for an Entertainment license to include one television, one radio and audio tape machine/CD which may play music below, at, or above conversation level.

              1. re: Taralli

                Does anyone have a good sense of an opening date? Oleana's website says June.

                I'm pretty sure Violette Wine Importers supplies most or all of the wine for Oleana, so I am sure they have a close relationship. Maybe Sofra will get Violette's retail license. It would be great to get some pastries and pick up some organic and biodynamic wines (and maybe the delicious 3-C Ale).

                1. re: Taralli

                  Looks like they're restoring/replacing the large, retro cream & green ceramic tiled exterior, so work is progressing.

            2. re: joebelt

              THE EMPEROR'S NEW BAKERY ?

              Its always uncomfortable being the lone voice of dissent on the boards
              so I'll be careful (like our friends @ Fox to be 'fair & balanced' (sic)...
              but I do think perhaps too much may be being made of Ana's new baby.
              As with Oleana, while one can sometimes get unusual and extraordinary
              dishes, sometimes they are simply unusual, and ordinary.
              After my 1st visit to Sofra, (Jammed at sunday 1pm)
              I'm hardly able to give a complete review. B u t my
              "hot spinach & cheese on flat-bread" yielded a spinach filling
              (just like mom would make at home (IF she withheld all seasoning)) a nice white cheese, less intense than feta, served on a cracker like flatbread about
              15% as delicious as the fresh flat bread at Helmand.
              Granted, we can't expect her to have a tandoor on the premises.
              but a six dollar sandwich, it wasn't
              I do give Anna & her team props for trying out things
              that no one else does!
              and admittedly, generally doing a good job of it.
              Just, lets face it kids, lots of the product
              is just OK.

              The Dude (of the Ab Goosht variety)

              1. re: Ab Goosht Dude

                Agreed. i have always echoed your above sentiments with regards to Oleana as well. but i think you and I are on the minibus here, maybe even a beetle, whereas there's a big big bus with all the other CHs on it.. It's so strange because My Love and I were devoted Ana groupies at Casablanca, and 8 holyoke, and aigo. it must be that we're just not that into the limitations of the savory cuisine represented at oleana and sofra.

                1. re: opinionatedchef

                  Hi opinionatedchef,

                  I actually agree with you on Oleana, but I nonetheless really enjoyed my lunch at Sofra (my post is below).

                  By no means do I consider Oleana to be a bad restaurant, but I do find that deliciousness is stunningly varied from one dish to the next. Most notably, I think the entrees tend to fall flat, especially as compared to the routinely outstanding meze, smaller plates, and desserts. I find this to be a common restaurant problem, boring mains bookended by good openers and closers, but it seems particularly acute at Oleana.

                  Considering that lunch at Sofra is essentially a collection of all the elements from Oleana I like the most (save for the lovely by-the-glass wine list), it's no surprise that I found it to be fantastic.

                  1. re: finlero

                    i'll look forw to trying some of your favs. Thanks much for the review.

                  2. re: opinionatedchef

                    Well, its sure nice to hear from
                    the other folks in the VW, (thought maybe it was just me)
                    I'm sure I'll give sofra another try or two,
                    & I wish them success too...
                    Just not 3 x per day for me thanx.

                    : )

                    The dude

            3. Does anyone have an update as to when Sofra will open? The Oleana website says July.

              3 Replies
              1. re: soxchik

                Go by there everyday. So far, place just covered in black tarpaper.

                1. re: Taralli

                  Me too -- I'm also excited because it looks like they saved the porcelain enamel panels... I'm hoping they're part of the finished product!

                  1. re: Taralli

                    Last week I saw some workers going in and out of Sofra, so hopefully there's something going on inside and it won't be too long.

                2. I'm also excited about Al's new sub shop, opening on Essex Street, too close to where I work. Hello weekly meatball subs! Bye bye belt!

                  2 Replies
                    1. re: Taralli

                      Actually, I'm not really sure.

                      Seriously, the OP asked " is anyone excited about this opening?" so I just piled on about another opening I'm excited about.

                  1. The menu is now posted in the window. I had neither pen nor paper, so couldn't jot it down, but here's what I remember. There are about 10 small meze -- appetizer type -- plates (for a mere $3) or bowls (can't remember the price for the larger portions. $6 perhaps?). They were middle east/mediterranean derived and, I think, all vegetarian. There is also a hummus bar! Not described precisely on menu, but you can infer that a variety of different types of hummus will be available. More substantial fare included a variety of flat bread sandwiches and a couple of meat dishes (some kind of schwarma if I remember correctly). I think the most expensive item on the menu was $9 -- pretty darn reasonable for an Oleana spin off (and a welcome dose of price sanity in recession times).

                    I happened by late in the day when the place was shuttered and no workers were around to ask about an opening date. But a peek in the window (this was about a week ago) made it look as if the place was about three-quarters of the way there. I can hardly wait. Looks like it will be a fun place for eaters where you can try a lot of different tastes for not a lot of dough-re-mi.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: katzzz

                      Just went by yesterday (8/13) and it looks like it MIGHT be on track for opening this weekend. Saw Ana Sortun through the window setting stuff out. I can't wait!

                      1. re: ilanah

                        Drove by this morning, and, for as ready as things looked inside, the man washing the windows said next Tuesday was likely to be the big day...

                        1. re: mrsx

                          Thanks for the update! I'll try to confirm with Farmer Chris if I get to the market tomorrow.

                          1. re: BostonZest

                            Chis says "that's the plan!" He said to call before you make a special trip or stop by his stand at Copley Square on Tuesday to be sure. (For those who don't know, Ana Sortun of Sofra & Oleana is married to Chris Kurth of Siena Farms.)

                            1. re: BostonZest

                              Interesting, I pressed my nose against the glass today (Saturday), place not finished and no activity. Menu sans prices taped to the window included most of the pret a manger and appetizer offerings from the Oleana menu, which is a good thing.

                    2. Flying by on the bus this morning at 7:30am, front door was open & I could see a big bucket of sunflowers.