Food impresses at sleek, stylish Samantha's | Rock Candy

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Food impresses at sleek, stylish Samantha's

Posted By on Wed, Feb 11, 2015 at 1:15 PM

click to enlarge BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson

I tried to get into Samantha's Tap Room and Wood Grill last Friday night, and the place was packed. Like, two hour wait time packed. So as happy as I was that the new Main St. restaurant was having a great night, I just couldn't wait that long to get some supper. I went back last night, and while there were quite a few people around, there was no wait for a table — just the way I like it. 

And honestly, if I didn't know that Samantha's has only been open a short time, I never would have thought it of the place. Service is smooth, the kitchen and bar are quick and the food is delicious. I guess those busy weekend nights have tempered the staff into a tough brigade. 

The space, of course, is beautiful. The wife and I sat in the interior dining section, where the bench seating is comfortable and the tables are an appropriate distance apart (I don't want to see any more of my server than I have to when he or she is at the next table). It's a warm, classy space that still manages to avoid being stuffy. 

We started off our meal with the Parmesan Salsa at the recommendation of our server who sold it with the promise that there's nothing else like it in town. She was right — the concoction of Parmesan, olive oil, herbs and red pepper was a new thing for us, but we ate it up heartily. Fans of good, nutty Parmesan will love this, and I predict that this will be the appetizer that experienced Samantha's diners order for their newbie friends. Those newbies won't be disappointed.

The entrees were even better. My Cuban sandwich was perfect: thin sliced ham and smoked pork, melted Swiss, pickles, mustard and pressed bread. I love a good Cuban, and so far this one and the one at Apple Blossom Brewing are tops for me in the state. Jess ordered the grilled pork chops, and friends, when Samantha's says they grill with mesquite, they mean it — these pork chops were thin, succulent and had a delightful smoky flavor that really impressed us. Pork chops in restaurants tend to be boring and dry — these were neither. A side order of cheese grits was nice, but those pork chops were a star attraction.

Overall, this is a joint that will attract people because of its looks and location, but it's the food that will keep them coming back. As for me and mine, we're already making return plans.

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