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report on Sam's Restaurant

  • n

Finally went to Sam's this evening, on Court St in Cobble Hill. The place was empty. Ordered the hot antipasto to share, which consisted of unrecognizable pieces of eggplant in various shapes, way too much cheese, and several rubbery, overcooked pieces of seafood. All submerged in a bland, tasteless red sauce. I then got veal with peppers and mushrooms, which came drowned in sauce, and the veal was overcooked and tough as leather. The peppers were so overcooked and soft I could hardly pick them up with my fork. A slight variation on the red sauce - maybe some butter and a little cream, but also bland and tasteless. Bread was warmed, but only to cover up its stale-ness. My friend's shrimp arregannata (sic) was an oily overcooked pile of breadcrumbs with some rubbery pink things floating around (shrimp, so they said).

I had heard the pizza is good, but after 3 DiFara visits last week, my heart wasn't in it. I'll try the pizza there at some point, but the other food - never again.

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  1. Wow. That's pretty bad. Sounds worse than usual. I've eaten there a couple of times and found the food mostly unremarkable, but not disasterous. My first time, however, I had spaghetti with garlic and oil and it was suprisingly good -- whole pieces of roasted garlic. The next time I ordered it, though, there was way too much oil and the garlic was bland.

    I did recently go back after hearing Arthur Schwartz talk about the pizza (he panned the rest of the food too). It is good, but I have the feeling it could not compare to DiFara's.

    Did you ever make it to Ferdinando's?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Nomi Lubin
      Nina Wugmeister

      Didn't make it to Ferdinando's yet - they close at 6 during the week. But one of these days...

    2. j
      Josh Lichtman

      Sams makes good old fashioned restaurant style thin crust pizza. Some of the best in Brownstone Brooklyn. I think I might even prefer it to Lentos which somehow is just not is tasty or satisfying. I've never even seen anyone eat the food at Sam's so its unchartered territory.

      1. Nina, this is funny, Kathryn and I almost went there on Sunday (we've been talking about it for months). And I've been scheming to take a picture of DiFara's Pizza (preferably with Alexander in the background). Great minds thinking alike? I guess I have to work on my execution, so you don't always beat me to it ...

        3 Replies
        1. re: guglhupf
          Nina Wugmeister

          Who's Alexander?

          1. re: Nina Wugmeister

            What do you mean? Remember the baby at DiFara that wouldn't let Kathryn and me eat our artichoke pie because we wouldn't give him any? That's Alexander, of course.

            1. re: guglhupf
              Nina Wugmeister

              Oh, duh. Sorry.

        2. n
          Nina Wugmeister

          Oh yeah, I forgot to say that the ricotta cheesecake was a dried out, tasteless, coarse, gritty blob. And with no noticable lemon flavor whatsoever!

          2 Replies
          1. re: Nina Wugmeister

            Yeah, yeah, yeah. But the pizza's good.

            1. re: Katerina

              THe pizza is very good. I don't think I had ever seen anyone try any of the menu items. Bad ordering on your part.

          2. The pizza is exceptional. The waiter Lou, was born upstairs in the restaurant and his elderly father still makes the pizza (he started out as the dishwasher and bought the restaurant in the 50's) Never order the entrees or pasta or appetizers or wine for that matter! Order the sauteed lemon escarole (tastes like deep fried) and a garlic anchovy pizza or a plain pie with extra sauce. You can dip the crust in the escarole oil...mmmmmmmmmm........and hide a decent bottle o red under the table.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Nutritious Jane

              I absolutely agree that you shouldnt order anything other than the pizza there, but I'm not all that excited about the pizza either. It's good. But they can be such a pain in the butt with their attitude... I've lived in the neighborhood for 25 years and just cant bring myself to go because Lou, especially, can be so annoying.

              By the way, thanks for dredging up the 4 year old posts from Nina. I miss her on the boards, even though we're still friends (had dinner at Ali's last night with CH and other foodboard friends).

              1. re: Steve R

                Agreed about the attitude, I especially love the sign on the door that reads "Bathroom first, $2"

            2. I love Sam's pizza.

              While I occasionally enjoy the throwback atmosphere and Louie's attitude, I usually opt for my pizza to go. A nalgene of wine, a Sam's pizza, and a bench in Cobble Hill Park is one my favorite dinner experiences.

              1. Poor Lou has a bitchy wife from Staten Island and I think she's always throwing him out---and a baby girl to boot. He's better than his mild-mannered cousin whose b.o. reminds me of being in an Italian/Brooklyn twilight zone.

                1. I'm glad to find some favorable chatter about Sam's. I was wondering why it got no love (and barely a mention) from the Brooklyn pizza community. DiFara it isn't, but I'd say it beats all other brownstone pizza joints on quality as long as you throw in value as well (read: cheaper than Franny's). Absolutely avoid all other menu items (apart from the escarole -- or 'schka-roll as it's known in these parts) and focus on the pies. Had a sausage/anchovy pie the other day and it was really terrific. As for Lou, he's a pretty nice guy if you don't give him attitude. But God help you if let your kids run around the place. You will feel the mighty wrath of Lou then.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: HankyT

                    As I said, Sam's aint bad for pizza but Lou cant be grouchy with or without help from outside attitude. For the neighborhood, Lucalli's (spelling is incorrect) on Henry seems to get a lot of raves and I love Savoia. Casserta Vecchia's pizza is also at least as good as Sam's as well.

                    1. re: HankyT

                      Lucali's beats Sam's by a mile.

                    2. Haven't been to Lucali's yet. Savoia is fine I guess but I still like Sam's more. Almost went to Casterta until we saw that Sam's was open on last Tuesday, which he usually isn't. I've always gotten along fine with Lou, for what it's worth.

                      1. I have no problem with Lou but I consider the pizza, while pretty decent not to be in same league as Lucali's or Savoia. I dont really like Caserta either.

                        1. I've eaten there twice so far and thought it was pretty great both times. The meatballs aren't so great but the plain or with garlic is pretty great..the best in the hood I think (haven't been to lucali's yet) check out this gothamist post from today: http://www.gothamist.com/archives/200...

                          those are my photos.. I had a good time there chatting with Lou although he really was a bit over the top about..fun though