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Wrapro--Mass. Ave/Porter Square, Camb.

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Sugar04 Feb 26, 2008 12:13 PM

Had been waiting for this little Middle Eastern joint to open up for the past few months, along the Mass Ave. stretch heading from Harvard to Porter. The walls were papered for quite a long while, so I had hopes of it being casual, but decidedly sit-down. Instead, it's bright, clean, modern, with blonde wood tables, high-stools, simple pendant lighting, but overall much more of a take-out joint with everything under $10.00. (Also don't love the "punny" name...).

The menu has all the usual suspects--falafel, baba, hummous wraps, shwarma and kofta plates. Apps. include grape leaves, a couple of soups and varied Middle Eastern salad plates. One interesting offering seems to be the "ouzi" plates--described as a "feast of meat, rice, nuts and vegetables." These are avail. with baked lamb, roasted chicken, spicy baked fish and "samkeh harra?"

I stopped in for a late, light lunch and just ordered the litmus test of a falafel wrap. ($4.75) Very simple, but very fresh and flavorful. Chewy, thin, wrapper pita, three freshly-fried falafel balls, a light coating of of tahini, fresh tomato and romaine. The falafel had a pleasantly pronounced cinnamon overtone that was a little sweet but still savory. As I was pretty hungry, it did hit the spot and seemed quite tasty.

Although not something to go out of anyone's way for, seems like this is at least a Middle Eastern sandwich/light plates offering rounding out some of the usual Mexican, Thai, pizza, pub grub choices in this 'hood.

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    triple creme RE: Sugar04 Feb 26, 2008 01:52 PM

    Thanks for reporting on this. I walked past it today around lunchtime and the place was totally packed.

    2 Replies
    1. re: triple creme
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      Sugar04 RE: triple creme Feb 26, 2008 01:58 PM

      No problem. Yes, too early to tell how really good this place is (as I had a simple item when I was starving--so maybe was not as discerning as I might be on another occation) but I think the fact that it is already packed shows how this neighborhood hasn't had anything new and in a different international food group open in a while.

      1. re: Sugar04
        t
        triple creme RE: Sugar04 Feb 26, 2008 02:42 PM

        Yes, I often bring home take-out dinner from the various places along Mass Ave, and tend to tire of all the Pacific Asian places. Middle Eastern is a welcome addition.

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      Aphex RE: Sugar04 Feb 26, 2008 04:17 PM

      Sounds like exactly what I hoped it would turn out to be...even if the falafel wrap is the only good thing I'll still be taking out from there regularly. Can't wait to try it, thanks for the post!

      1. trufflehound RE: Sugar04 Feb 27, 2008 03:21 AM

        samkeh=fish harra=hot

        1. hiddenboston RE: Sugar04 Feb 27, 2008 05:04 AM

          Anyone have an address/phone number for Wrapro? Thanks!

          5 Replies
          1. re: hiddenboston
            beetlebug RE: hiddenboston Feb 27, 2008 05:13 AM

            I don't have the address or phone number but, it's around the corner from Chez Henri. So the intersection of Mass and Shepard. It's next door to some fancy barber shop on Mass. Ave.

            1. re: beetlebug
              hiddenboston RE: beetlebug Feb 27, 2008 05:15 AM

              Thanks. Maybe I'll swing by and grab a menu this evening, depending on how late they are open.

              1. re: hiddenboston
                peregrine RE: hiddenboston Feb 27, 2008 06:15 AM

                between Star*ucks and the Forest Cafe

                1. re: hiddenboston
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                  Sugar04 RE: hiddenboston Feb 28, 2008 11:17 AM

                  1670 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA
                  617.876.0311

              2. re: hiddenboston
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                maryv RE: hiddenboston Feb 27, 2008 05:51 PM

                It's part of the old Cambridge Naturals space, if that helps.

              3. m
                Mr.Og RE: Sugar04 Feb 28, 2008 05:22 AM

                My wife and I got some sorely dissapointing combo plates there yesterday. If you are expecting something like Reef cafe or Shwarma King, think again. The cinammon in the falafel was off-putting and the portions were miniscule.

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                  newhound RE: Sugar04 Mar 2, 2008 01:48 PM

                  In a word, dreadful.

                  I was so hoping that this place would be good and it may still become that, but unless I hear of big improvement I ain't gonna drag myself in there again.

                  Stopped by on a Sunday, early evening today, and started simple: a chicken shawarma plate. Chicken shawarma is prone to dryness, but this was unbelievable--chalky dry. Underseasoned too-- nothing distinctive or savory. The rice was fine, the tahini okay, but the portions are small-- usually at a middle eastern place you get heaps of food on this kind of plate because the basics aren't that expensive to serve. The shaved pieces of chicken were tiny-- didn't even have to cut them up for my 17 month old. Plus, it was all heaped too high on an small oval appetizer plate, and trying to get those first few bites out led to lots of spillage over the edges of the plate. I also ordered a couple of falafel to try, and as others have noted they are of the browner filling, nuttier, cinammony variety. Freshly made, but shallow balls that ended up being overfried. The accompanying pita was approaching stale.

                  The bus-your-own dishes station was heaping with dirty plates and an overflowing garbage can, and it wasn't that busy.

                  Sorry to sound so down on the place, and I wish them well, but...go to fordee's instead.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: newhound
                    Sgt Snackers RE: newhound Mar 2, 2008 01:54 PM

                    Sounds like we dodged a bullet. Tried to go there for lunch today around 12:45. Though the sign on the door claims they would be open at that time, the place was definitely closed. Not a good way to bring in business just after opening...

                    1. re: Sgt Snackers
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                      Sugar04 RE: Sgt Snackers Mar 2, 2008 02:59 PM

                      Hmmm, thanks for the updates from later diners, who have tried more on the menu. I had something fairly simple, while very hungry, so my review may have overstated the possibilities... It WAS slightly disorganized when I was there last week too, although I thought that could be temporary opening jitters. Ah well. It seems that it's hard for the edge of Porter/Harvard to gain and retain few, if any, destination dining spots.

                      1. re: Sugar04
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                        autopi RE: Sugar04 Mar 2, 2008 03:47 PM

                        i tried a falafel wrap from them the other day, and thought it was fine. they did offer to put on a bit of hot sauce, which i agreed to, though probably shouldn't have. it had a nice vinergary spicy bite, but overshadowed the other flavors. i thought it was maybe a tad overpriced at $5, but it tasted fine to me.

                        1. re: autopi
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                          dsmoxie RE: autopi Mar 6, 2008 05:31 PM

                          Had an undistinguished mezze plate for lunch yesterday. As reported, the service was slow and disorganized. An avalanche of Harvard Law School students overwhelmed the place, and it seemed the staff didn't track the orders, relying on customers periodically to ask about when their food would be ready. Falafel was overdone; hummus wasn't bad; "salad" was nothing but iceberg lettuce. All-in-all, totally undistinguished, which is too bad since there's clearly massive demand.

                          1. re: autopi
                            Bob Dobalina RE: autopi Mar 22, 2008 11:36 AM

                            Just had a similar experience as Autopi - falafel wrap - falafels could have been warmer, good flavor, got that little bit of cinnamon or nutmeg, which was not usual but fine - the wrap itself was not great, actually hurt my teeth on the first bite. Added pickled turnips that were good. With the old (good) Sepal and the Falafel King as my standards, unfortunately, this wrap does not measure up, as it was just ok.

                            1. re: Bob Dobalina
                              yumyum RE: Bob Dobalina Mar 22, 2008 12:12 PM

                              The WRAP itself hurt your teeth? Man, I dodged a bullet by driving down to Blue Ribbon for lunch instead. I was considering going healthy and checking this place out. But man, I don't need painful food.

                              1. re: yumyum
                                Bob Dobalina RE: yumyum Mar 24, 2008 06:36 AM

                                I bit the top, which happened to be several dry folds of the pita wrap. (Eating and walking at the same time). The wrap was just not that great of quality x number of folds.

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