"Samba" South Amer. Steak joint - Madison, WI
Have NOT experienced at-table carving before, so my opinion may be naive.
I'll base my opinion on flavor and price.
This is a GEM!
The fixed price for "salad bar" and the all-you-care-to-sample meats is $33.
Should you wish to just have salad bar, it's $15. The selection and quality of just the salad bar exceeded our expectations. Far too many options to mention, but the "Curried Three Bean Salad" was a standout.
The "gauchos" brought around eight different meats, based on the Red/Green position of our "hourglass". All were acceptable, but we agreed that the flank steak (take some chimmicurra (sp?) from the salad bar) was the best. The leg of lamb was a close second.
It's a new location, so they're working out the kinks.
There was some lag in our service and a SIGNIFICANT issue getting coats back from coat check....Owners...This is Wisconsin and your coat closet/check system won't keep up with the winter...Needs improvement.
All in all, this is a DO for any carnivore in our midst.
Please make reservations.
Else, you'll be cooling your heels in the wonderful "Cabana Room" bar on the first floor. You'll have great beer selections (try Xingu, from the Amazon), but not have access to the carnivore's carnival on the second and third floors of the restaurant.
I liked Samba too. At $33, the rodizio is a great deal, and the $15 salad bar is better value still. The meat, though, is not as perfectly executed as you'd get in NYC -- so you've got to go with the expectation of getting a whole lot of _good_ meat, not a whole lot of _superb_ meat. But maybe things will get better as the staff gains more experience. I'd certainly go back.
I've had lunch at the Cabana Room twice, both times on Monday afternoons. Almost empty both times, but service was pretty slow all the same. I had one really first-rate sandwich (beef and cabrales) but one terrible one (lamb stew with pickled vegetables) -- I mean, so terrible I didn't finish it. So I'm not sure what I think of the place. The french fries and chimichurri are terrific, that's for sure.