With my friend Cara in town it was an obvious decision to try something new and fun when picking a place for dinner on a Friday night. For about 4 years I've passed by 'Yoma' en route to Logan from Chestnut Hill, and it was about time I added Burmese to the list of cuisines I've experienced in my day.
The interior of the restaurant is very simple with perhaps about 10 tables of varying sizes, and pictures and decorations from Burma (~Myanmar) adorn the bright yellow-orange walls. As it was only about half full we were seated immediately at a table for two in the corner by our Russian (yes, Russian) waitress. While Burmese own the place and presumably cook in the back, it was two young Russian girls that took care of the diners...more on that to come.
We decided to start out with the AaJawSone, basically an appetizer sampler consisting of Burmese Samusar (fried crispy pastry filled with potato, shallot, cabbage, and spice powder), PaeKatJaw (Crispy pancake style tempura fried split chickpea and batter mixed), and TofuJaw (fried home made chickpea flour tofu). This was all served with home made spicy tamarind sauce (with sour tamarind juice, red chili, ginger, garlic, and cilantro) The triangle-shaped TofuJaw were interesting, with the chickpea-tofu interior very creamy but not overly flavorful, thus going very nicely with the flavorful sauce. The PaeKatJaw wasn't anything special - it was basically a deep-fried crisp with most of its flavor coming from the fact that it was deep fried. The Samusar, Cara's favorite, were nice but I thought they would have been better with a little more spice to them (à la an Indian Samosa).
Moving onto our entrées, I chose the ShwePaYonTheeHin, "oriental sweet pumpkin cooked with jumbo shrimp, tomato, ginger, shallot, lemongrass, and cilantro." I got this on account of the pumpkin and it didn't disappoint - each piece was perfectly cooked and with a great creamy texture. The shrimp were standard, but I thought the sauce was delicious with lots of lemongrass (which I love) and cilantro flavor. Cara decided to be a little more adventurous and try the NgaSotHin, "pancake style grounded black father fish cooked with tomato, lemon grass, shallot, garlic, ginger, green chili and cilantro." Cara thought it had overall good flavor, but thought the lemongrass was a bit overpowering. The accompanying potatoes had a disproportionate amount of heat compared to the fish, leaving her with a very hot mouth...and no water, thanks to the waitress. Luckily there was jasmine rice to help her out in the mean time.
At the end of our meal we noticed that up on a little blackboard was advertised a Burmese "cake" for a mere $1.75. However, after waiting forever for our waitress to come back and take our plates, she of course showed up with the bill...but that's not all! Instead of cake we got our very own sugar "rocks" on a Russian-looking dish. That brings me to only negative aspect of our dining experience - the service, which was very disappointing. At the beginning we were brought cups of water only half full, and it was apparently very difficult to refill these during our time there. With only 5 occupied tables split between the two waitresses, one would think they'd have done a better job.
Anyway, service aside we had a good meal and left very happy we had tried Burmese! I would definitely recommend that other people try it and see for themselves, particularly Vegetarians thanks to nice variety of vegetarian dishes on the menu.