Location: 108 W. Channel Rd.(PCH), Santa Monica, CA 90402. 310-230-9100
Date: March 12, 2011
Cuisine: Cal French International
Rating: Stellar food and unparalleled service.
I already covered the background to Sam’s in my FIRST REVIEW. Let’s just say this is a local place with an unusual and inventive menu that’s worth a drive.
I’d never heard of this “lesser” Bordeaux, but Sam opened this half-bottle and it was very nice. Characteristic Saint-Emilion smooth. The 8 or so years gave it just enough age to settle the tanins.
The usual amuse. Little fried pockets of spinach and cheese.
Homemade bread and the olive oil sesame dip.
“Roasted Beet Salad, mixed with onions and tomato in Aged balsamic dressing, served with Feta Cheese croquet.”
This was a special. Seared Kanpachi (young yellowtail) with arugula, avocado, tomatoes, in a citrus ginger vinaigrette. The dressing was to die for, and mated perfectly with the sushi grade fish.
“Vegetarian Crepes. Homemade Crepes filled with Swiss chard, wild mushrooms and zucchini served in tomato coulis.” This is a half order, as the normal one has two of the burrito-like crepes. This is a very nice vegetarian option, and surprisingly hearty. The sauce is bread dippingly yummy.
“Lamb Chorizo Risotto, Carnaroli rice prepared with lamb sausage, fresh spinach, feta cheese, in meyer lemon broth.” This isn’t your typical Italian Risotto either, but it’s spectacular, and much lighter. There is a lovely tang from the lemon, and the sharp goat cheese, and the sausage is to die for.
The dessert menu.
His creme brulee is straight up traditional, and it’s the second best I’ve ever had in the world (there was this one in Avignon…). The meat of it is thick, creamy, and all vanilla.
A new dessert (at least for us). This take on the flowerless chocolate cake is moist, dense, and chocolately — as it should be.
Sam is also starting a new thing for Sunday nights, pizza night! He has a pizza oven. We’ll have to come back and try these, see how they compare to my Ultimate Pizza. I’m particularly eager to try the Shawarma.