For the V-Day weekend, I chose to go to Samar with my bf. I've been wanting to go there for a long time plus my sister had gotten me a giftcard there that was almost 2 years old! Geez...how time flies...
2100 Ross Ave.
Dallas, TX 75201
Samar is another restaurant by Stephan Pyles that incorporates Spainish, Mediterranean, and Indian influences in the menu. They serve mostly tapas(shareable plates). The decor of the restauarant definitely gave the same feeling of those regions. It was slightly dark for my preferences but I guess it sets the mood for a more intimate setting.
At one point during dinner, they had a belly dancer come through the dining area. It was pretty cool. But they turned up the music during that part and it was a bit too loud.
Our waiter was pretty nice and attentive. He presented the specials for the day and let us look over the menu.
We got a bunch of things to try...
Foie Gras Brulee (Pedro Ximenez Quince and crispy Jamon Serrano) $9~
It was like a foie gras parfait. haha. I like the presentation and we were given these long skinny spoons to dig into the glass. I was a little confused because it didn't come with any sort of bread or anything for us to spread the foie gras on. Without some sort of carb, it was wayyy too heavy. It was like eating foie gras lard/butter or something. It was just way too rich.
Luckily we ordered some naan on the side and was able to eat them together. But as a dish by itself, they need to serve it with some bread. The first few bites were interesting and I definitely liked the crispy jamon/bacon on top. But the more we ate the richer it got. It was like putting a stick of butter in your mouth towards the end of it. We did not finish that tiny glass... Blechh.
Rosemary Garlic Naan $4~
Lots of rosemary flavor, not enough garlic. But it was warm and pillowy. I love naan!
Duck Confit Tangine (with Medjool dates, figs, and tri-color couscous) $9~
This was not what I expected. Usually I see duck confit with the bone in. But this way we didn't have to mess with it. It was really good. It was one of my bf's favorite dishes. The duck had great flavor and was super tender. The couscous was also cooked well and the mellow flavor was a great contrast after having the rich foie gras. I even put some of the foie gras with the couscous, that wasn't bad either!
The Shorba of the Day (butternut squash with cashew) $4~
This was the soup of the day. I was sold at "butternut squash". haha. One of my favorite things. It was interesting. It had sweet undertones from the squash but was still savory from all the spices. I loved the texture. It was rich, thick, and velvety, just how butternut squash soup should be. I don't like it when it's too watery. The more I had the more I liked. It was very different from your typical butternut squash soup because of the spices.
Chickpea Masala (with roasted root vegetables and minted ricotta) $8~
This was highly recommended in online reviews so I really wanted to try it. This was definitely my favorite dish of the night. It just had great flavor... I can't pinpoint any of the specific flavors, it just all worked together. Plus the different textures with the chickpea and roasted vegetables were very pleasant. I can eat it all day!
Fish Curry of the Day (with seasonal vegetables and saffron scented Basmati rice) $18~
The fish of the day was Merluza, a Mediterranean fish. The fish was fantastic. It was flaky and delicate, yet had a sturdy feel to it as well. The curry sauce paired it really well. I felt the rice was just a tad overcooked. But I personally prefer really al dente rice and pasta. This became my bf's favorite dish of the night. Mine was still the chickpeas but this was a close second.
We ended the night with dessert of course. :P
Caramelized Apple Empanada (with cinnamon ice cream) $4~
The waiter said this was one of their top sellers. I loved the cinnamon ice cream. It was richer than normal ice cream, I thought. The empanada was good, but it was quite small and you can't fully enjoy the filling. It could've been crisper on the outside too.
Saffron-Coconut Rice Pudding (cardamom) $4~
I realized that I liked the "idea" of rice pudding, but not the actual thing. It was like eating porridge in a sweeter sauce. I'm not a fan of porridge. haha. I felt it wasn't sweet enough, but then again, I didn't want it to be too sweet. There was too much of the rice flavor I guess. Something was just not great about it. We definitely could've done without it.
We ended up spending a bit more than the giftcard value. haha. But I'm glad we got to try many different things. We were very full after. I think for the 2 of us we could've done without the foie gras and rice pudding.... The service was pretty good. The waiter answered all my questions and the water glasses were always refilled. He did give me the wrong price for the fish dish though (which contributed to the higher bill than we estimated)... We had several people come by and ask us how we're doing, so that was nice.
Overall, I enjoyed the food. If you are not a fan of spices, this is not the place for you. They definitely do not hold back in that aspect.
Quality of Food:
~~ CHOMP CHOMP ~~