Sunday, July 11, 2010


Samba labels itself as Brazilian. I don't know if that's true or not, but whatever it is, it's unique among restaurants to which I've been. The first thing that strikes you on the upstairs dining room is its enormity. The upstairs itself has a ceiling tall enough to accommodate a mezzanine. There is also a stage for Jazz performances during dinner.

All these structural elements compliment the theater of the meal itself. You begin with the cold "salad bar." I say "salad bar" because most salad bars are uninspiring collections of, well, things to make salads. At Samba, the salad bar is a magical place. It's placed around a large four sided column with a huge floral centerpiece on top. The magic comes from the variety and quality of food, with different themes on each side. I've on the cold salad side, I had sweet potato salad and calamari salad, both flavorful and delicious. I also noted the balsamic goat cheese, pickled beets, fresh sauteed vegetables (the asparagus looked especially good).

After the salad bar comes the reason all go to Samba: the Rodizio course. Essentially, waiters (dressed ridiculously... do they dress like jungle guides in restaurants in Brazil?) circulate around the room with roasted meats and pineapple taken directly off spits. They cut small chunks of the meat directly onto your plate. And the meat, well, it's delicious. Always cooked perfectly, often a little crispy and spiced on the outside and amazingly juicy in the middle. My favorites are the flank steak and the chorizo, and the cinnamon pineapple is good as well. You can start and stop the flow of meat at your whim using a simple table indicator. I must admit I felt like a king with this thing.

Bring me more meat!

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