Lunch at Sofra: Mezze Plate

I’ve never really liked beets.

I find beets a little too slimy… And I don’t like its undecisiveness – is it sweet or is it bitter? Is it soft or is it crunchy? Does it taste earthy or does it taste like dirt?

But what I do like about beets is its deep juicy hue. I love the jewel-like color: a cross between blood red and dark and stormy purple. I love how beet juice looks: spreading, oozing, staining.

But beets? Nah, never liked them… Until I tried the beet tzatziki at Sofra.

One bite and I was hooked. Was it the dill? The yogurt? The garlic? The bright hot pink color? I think it’s all of that.

Check it.

I’ve written about Sofra before, and how much I adore the chocolate baklava there. (You read that right – chocolate baklava.) It is one of my very favorite lunch spots, and it is the only place where I actually enjoy beets.

More often than not, I order the mezze plate, which comes with five different scoops from the mezze bar and two pieces of soft focaccia bread studded with black sesame seeds. Mezze is a selection of small dishes served in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine.

This mezze selection consisted of smoky eggplant with pinenuts, beet tzatziki (tzatziki is a Greek/Middle Eastern appetizer or sauce that’s usually made with cucumbers, yogurt, garlic, and an herb like dill, mint, or parsley), cacik (“everything green” with garlic and yogurt), hot pepper labne (strained yogurt) with mint drizzle, and whipped feta with sweet and hot peppers.

It is a very generous portion and I always share it with my tablemates. I make them try everything, especially the beet tzatziki. I’ve turned into the girl who urges her friends to “just try it, you’ll like it; I don’t like beets either, but I love this” while shoving the hot pink glob towards them. It really is that good. I’ve also turned into the girl who aggressively urges her friends to get dessert from the pastry selection at the counter:

Oh who are we kidding, I’ve always been that girl.

When I’m at Sofra, I always order the red dragon iced tea (green tea with sour cherry puree) but this time, I switched it up and got Lada’s iced tea, which is an herbed tea with lemon, apricot, and orange puree. It was very light and refreshing, really perfect for hot summer days. I do prefer the red dragon iced tea though because of the perfect little pinch of tartness, but this herbed tea holds its own for its subtle sweetness and citrus hit.

Sofra is small, and it has a small menu, but the whole store is brimming with all sorts of treats:

That’s my friend Sherwin (who is also our intern at Overdrive) – he ordered the eggplant moussaka for lunch and declared it delicious.

The chocolate hazelnut baklava was not available during my last visit so I had to “settle” for this chocolate hazelnut tart instead. However, this wasn’t the highlight of my lunch; I really came here for the mezze plate. I can’t get enough of the whipped feta and the hot pepper labne and yes, the beet tzatziki.

Last year when I posted about Sofra, Dan said that the beet tzatziki is unreal, but I ignored his comment. It took me a year to come around, but Dan, you are right! I should’ve known that I would like something this pink.

Sofra is the sister restaurant of Oleana, which in my opinion is one of the most exquisite restaurants in Boston.  I think they serve beet tzatziki at Oleana too.

Have you ever tried beet tzatziki? What would you order from a mezze bar?

Sofra Bakery and Cafe on Urbanspoon

See my favorite dishes at this restaurant on Tasted Menu

   

31 Responses to “Lunch at Sofra: Mezze Plate”

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    Elina (Satisfied Cravings) posted July 8, 2012 at 10:38 am

    I get Sofra baked goods and dips at the Sienna Farms farm stand and love them! I’m a fan of beets so it didn’t take much convincing for me to try the tzatziki. Hopefully one day I can actually make it to the bakery – it looks adorable!

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    Heather posted July 8, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    I love beets, so I would love to give that a try, sounds so good!

    The color of beets is my fav, I’ve always said I’d have my bridesmaid wear beet red colored dresses!

    • Bianca Garcia replied July 8th, 2012 at 6:21 pm

      Oooh beet colored dresses are lovely! One of my favorite nail polish shades is OPI Miami Beet – you should check that out too if you like the color :)

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    Daisy posted July 8, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Yes! this is also one of my favorite things on the menu at Sofra. I’m a big fan of the red pepper and feta and the muhammara mezze as well. And their ices drinks (love the Sharbats!) are exquisite.

    • Bianca Garcia replied July 8th, 2012 at 6:21 pm

      I will try the sharbat next time!

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    Simply Life posted July 8, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    beets aren’t my favorite thing either- but it’s usually the cleaning and preparing part that I dislike – so this looks like the perfect way to enjoy them!

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    Sacha posted July 8, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    I could eat at Sofra every single day and not get bored. More often than not, I order the mezze plate, too. I love the beet tzatziki, and it is on the spinach falafel at Oleana (which just happens to be my favorite restaurant!). It’s a must-try dish if you haven’t had it. Your photos of both the food and the cafe are just gorgeous!

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    Megan posted July 8, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    That beet tzatziki is awesome! I’ll have to try the meze platter some time. I usually go to sofa for chocolate-hazelnut baklava and chocolate chip cookies. :)

    • Bianca Garcia replied July 8th, 2012 at 8:07 pm

      I have not tried the chocolate chip cookies yet! It will be on my next lunch order…

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    Molly posted July 8, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Sortun’s cookbook, Spice, has the beet tzaziki recipe (found here: http://cheapbeets.wordpress.com/2011/09/12/just-married/), most of the other mezzes plus additional dishes. Worth having on the shelf.

    • Bianca Garcia replied July 9th, 2012 at 1:30 pm

      Hi Molly, thanks for linking the recipe!

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    Clair posted July 8, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    I just finished reading another post about beets, then came straight to this. =)

    This place looks SO good. Might have to take my parents here on their next visit. Great review!

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    Shannon posted July 8, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    aaah, i’ve wanted to go there for forever! thanks for reaffirming my need to visit :)

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    Ranjani posted July 8, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    I just got back from a vacation to Turkey, where I enjoyed quite a meze selection! I’m definitely going to have to try Sofra to get my fix at home

    • Bianca Garcia replied July 9th, 2012 at 1:30 pm

      A Turkish vacation sounds wonderful :)

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    Megan posted July 8, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    holy yum….this beet tzatziki sounds AMAAZING.

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    Michelle posted July 9, 2012 at 9:20 am

    Can you believe that I still have not been to Sofra? The beet tzatsiki sounds awesome but I’ve always been a beet lover!

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    Elizabeth posted July 9, 2012 at 10:51 am

    This is the kind of stuff from Sofra that I love. I’ve had the beet tzatziki on the spinach falafel at Oleana.

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    val posted July 9, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    This is what I call perfection in food form.

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    Colleen @ Culinary Colleen posted July 9, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    I love beets, so that sounds amazing to me! They give it such a beautiful color.

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    Rhonda (@diningalone) posted July 10, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    wow that tzatziki looks amazing, it is such a pretty color but I would have no problem eating it :)

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    Kim K posted July 10, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    i am with you – i am not 100% sure how i feel about beets – but i love me some tzatziki and i love oleana, so i need to try sofra asap!

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    Lisa posted July 10, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    I just started liking beets a year ago! I had the same feelings about them that you did, then suddenly..I had some roasted ‘to perfection’ beets, and revelation! That beet tzatziki looks amazing..and the chocolate hazelnut baklava looks to die for! Wish I could hit Sofra now!!

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    Susan (Oliepants) posted July 10, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    I love beets. I don’t eat it as often as I’d like. I would definitely try and love (I’m sure) the beet tzatziki! I love mezze plates.

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    Malou | Skip to Malou posted July 11, 2012 at 12:16 am

    i didn’t like beets too because of the exact reasons you just mentioned… but learned to love it when i had it with a salad. it was a lovely addition to the salad just like how lovely it is with that pink/radiant color that you have in this post.
    thanks for stopping by my site. so lovely to meet you!
    malou

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    Meesh posted July 11, 2012 at 10:04 am

    holy crap. that picture from above looks insane. I’ve only been once and didn’t try to the meze plate! why does sofra have to be in the most random place ever?

    • Bianca Garcia replied July 11th, 2012 at 10:30 am

      Haha Meesh yes, it is in a pretty random location, but definitely worth the effort!

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    grace posted July 16, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    this looks like my kind of place, and not only because they make beets look and taste delicious! what a find!

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    Molly Galler posted July 23, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Between you and Elizabeth, I’m now convinced I need to visit Sofra. And I need to find out what an Earthquake Cookie is. Pronto.

    • Bianca Garcia replied July 24th, 2012 at 3:40 pm

      Yes! And be on the lookout for “maureos” as well – housemade Oreo-like cookies filled with milk jam :)

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    Chris posted October 17, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    I Just discovered Sofra 10 days ago and have already been there 6 times! I now crave the red dragon iced tea and the tahini shortbread cookies nearly daily. I love the lamb shawarma and the beet tzatziki, and every time I go there, I can’t help buying one of their gourmet treats, like the rose petal jam, the sweet and salty hazelnuts, the pita bread, crick-cracks, and granola. Help!!

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