Restaurant: Sam’s by the Beach [1, 2, 3]
Location: 108 W. Channel Rd.(PCH), Santa Monica, CA90402. 310-230-9100
Date: May 14, Sept 4, & Oct 30, 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.
An amuse of tuna tartar on endive.
I’d never heard of this “lesser” Bordeaux, but Sam opened this half-bottle and it was very nice. Characteristic Saint-Emilionsmooth. The 8 or so years gave it just enough age to settle the tanins.
“Roasted Beet Salad, mixed with onions and tomato in Aged balsamic dressing, served with Feta Cheese croquet.”
This salad was a special, heirloom tomatoes and sashimi grade salmon with a bit of greens, orange, and a mustard vinaigrette.
Another special salad, this time with Santa Barbara shrimp (with roe), corn, and a lovely vinaigrette.
Sam’s grandmom’s butternut squash soup. Vegan with some olives. A lovely bit of fall flavor.
A special today, boar lasagne. The sauce is a tangy tomato cream sauce. This was a really good lasagne. The boar meat was tastier than ground beef.
“Vegetarian Crepes. Homemade Crepes filled with Swiss chard, wild mushrooms and zucchini served in tomato coulis.” This is a very nice vegetarian option, and surprisingly hearty. The sauce is bread dippingly yummy.
Sam’s has a pizza oven and a variety of pizzas served mostly on Sundays. This is the margarita.
And the Shawarma pizza, which given my penchant for homemade interesting pizzas, I found very interesting. The sauce is a bit more like a harissa, and the pizza is covered with shawarma and pine-nuts.
And served with a tangy yoghurt dip. Good stuff.
Medditeranian seafood soup. But it comes with the traditional toastes and garlic aioli.
The soup itself. Lots of different seafood and a fantastic tomato garlic broth.
With the toasts. They sog up nicely and make for gooey garlicky goodness.
“Grilled Wild Salmon. Served with braised Swiss chard, Pine Nuts, and roasted Sunchoke, with fresh oregano sauce.”
Special rack of Lamb in a dijon mustard vinaigrette. The lamb was tender. The sauce has a fantastic vinegary tone, bright with the mustard, but not overpowering. I had to sop it up with bread afterward. Served with various vegetables and ratatouille.
Green apple sorbet, with a true apple mouthfeel (even a bit mealy, like real apples).
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…).
My personal favorite, the bread pudding. Topped with a creme anglais, it is warm, rich, and soft, with a chocolate botom.
A few freebee biscotti for dessert.
The room (or technically, half the room).
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