Semolina Kitchen & Bar
Fresh pastas. Magnificent meatballs. A perfect pepperoni pizza. Or maybe just a bowl of pepperoni. If you love simply great food, then you’re simply gonna love Semolina.
Brand new to Medford, Semolina Kitchen and Bar is a fun and laid back neighborhood spot, where natural woods, high ceilings, plenty of greenery, and lots of light give the sixty seat dining room an open airy feel.
Christina Theophanis – Owner, Semolina Kitchen and Bar: “We want people to come in and first of all be comfortable in the dining room. We don’t want you to come in and feel cramped and rushed. You know we’re sort of casual, we don’t put on airs, we just try to make good food and be ourselves.”
Christina Theophanis is one of Semolina’s owners. She oversees both the dining room, and the restaurant’s convenient market and take-out counter, where customers can usually catch a glimpse of chef Ravon Boreland working his magic back in the open kitchen.
Ravon Boreland – Chef, Semolina Kitchen and Bar: “I love cooking. That’s all I know. My grandmother cooked, my mom cooked, my aunt. I came from a house of all chefs.”
And now that Ravon is doing the cooking, his food might best be described as Mediterranean and more.
Ravon Boreland – Chef, Semolina Kitchen and Bar: “It’s a melting pot of food. You never know what you’re gonna expect when you come in, so it’s a surprise, but also you can know that the guidelines are gonna be great flavors. We specialize in Mediterranean. Italian, Greek, and then we try to influence, like myself, I’m Jamacian, and then we just try to grab influences from everywhere and then incorporate it into our food.”
To start the meal with some seafood, Semolina serves golden Fried Calamari with a cherry pepper aioli for dipping, or an awesome bowl of PEI Mussels with roasted tomatoes, herb butter, and leeks.
Ravon Boreland – Chef, Semolina Kitchen and Bar: “The mussels are just flavorful. The white wine sauce, herb butter, you have some bread to dip in the sauce. You know mussels and bread always goes well together, plus butter and wine. So it’s a great compliment.”
Of course Phantom can’t pass up a good meatball, especially this perfect version, made with a blend of beef, pork, and pancetta, and served with grilled bread and herb ricotta.
Christina Theophanis – Owner, Semolina Kitchen and Bar: “They’re really good, and we even get comments from people who say things like, ‘I don’t eat meatballs outside the house, but I’ll eat these meatballs.'”
If you’re looking to eat some pizza, there are plenty of great options. These thin crust twelve-inch pies are cooked in a wood burning oven, and topped gourmet ingredients like mushrooms and taleggio with roasted shallots and fresh herbs, or crispy Pancetta with a balsamic glaze. But if you want to stick to the classics, Semolina’s pepperoni pizza is a winner, smothered with fresh mozzarella and long strips of pepperoni.
Ravon Boreland – Chef, Semolina Kitchen and Bar: “Ah, pepperoni is like the best pizza here. We slice it differently, it’s like a really expensive pepperoni. We slice them long, on a bias, so you get like the long length of the pepperoni. So every bite has pepperoni in it.”
In fact, the pepperoni here is so good, you can even order it as a snack, without the all the dough, sauce, and cheese.
Christina Theophanis – Owner, Semolina Kitchen and Bar: “When it’s cooked on the pizza it’s got one flavor, but when it’s not cooked, it’s got another flavor and it’s really good to have with beer or a drink at the bar. So you can get a little side of just the pepperoni slices.”
Moving on to entrees, the pastas at Semolina are a must order. That’s because the noodles all come from their sister store, Dave’s Fresh Pasta in Somerville.
Christina Theophanis – Owner, Semolina Kitchen and Bar: “The pasta itself is very flavorful and just tastes really good, and absorbs whatever you do to it really well.”
So the Pappardelle is a perfect pairing with the spicy Seafood Fra Diavolo, packed with shrimp, mussels, and calamari. But for something a bit more simple, the Cacio e Pepe is the way to go.
Christina Theophanis – Owner, Semolina Kitchen and Bar: “It’s a classic Roman pasta dish, it’s very much a technique dish. It’s very creamy, as if there is cream in it, but there’s not. And really the key to the sauce is a lot of romano cheese and some of the pasta water.”
Ravon Boreland – Chef, Semolina Kitchen and Bar: “It’s very simple. A lot of people think it’s hard to make but it’s really easy, and we love making it. It tastes delicious. It’s basically like an Italian Mac and Cheese.”
For a pasta-like plate without all the carbs, Semolina also serves Zucchini Noodles, tossed with grilled shrimp, roasted mushrooms, and herb cream sauce.
Ravon Boreland – Chef, Semolina Kitchen and Bar: “You think of it not being a pasta, but once you have it in your mouth, I guarantee you’ll be fooled into thinking it’s pasta.”
Christina Theophanis – Owner, Semolina Kitchen and Bar: “They’re fun to make, we’ve got a cool spiralizer in the back, and honestly I hadn’t tried them and I assumed that they were going to be mushy and then I made them and they weren’t mushy, they were really good and actually really satisfying as if you were eating pasta.”
Rounding out the menu at Semolina are some hearty comfort food options. Like Grilled Piri Piri Game Hen with hand-cut fries and cilantro lime ranch, braised Short Rib and cippolini onions atop potato fennel purée, and the must have of any good neighborhood restaurant: a great Burger.
Ravon Boreland – Chef, Semolina Kitchen and Bar: “We top it with applewood smoked bacon and muenster cheese, which a lot of people don’t do, but we do it, which is delicious, with our housemade pickles. It’s definitely something you’re gonna have and come back to.”
And one meal here will have you coming back to Semolina.