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May 21, 2010 10:02 AM

Check Please...Sam's Grill

Last night on Check Please, two diners complained that the fish at Sam's Grill was "bland". Admittedly, they were two relatively young people who obviosulu preferred spicy Indian and Filipino food, It occurred to me, are we getting so used to overseasoned food that a rex sole at Tadich or Sam's is "bland". when grilled and served with only melted butter? Has the public come to expect all food to be highly seasoned? I can understand the diner's complaint about the naked boiled potato, but that has become almost a SF tradition in old-time SF restaraunts. It seems to be becoming a contest between plain food and spicey food. Odd that spicy places come and go, but Chez Panisse and Manresa are hanging in there.

Manresa Restaurant
320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

Chez Panisse
1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

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  1. I saw that episode last night and thought the same thing.
    Some people just don't "get" simple.
    It made we want to run to Sam's and get the rex sole. Grilled without an eggy batter (looking at you Scoma's) and fresh and delicious?! Yes please!
    Funny you mentioned CP, I said out loud to myself, "you just don't get people don't always get CP, some people don't get simple...".

    1. I'll watch Check Please if I'm flipping through the channels but never really thought it was for me given this kind of oddness. Like the guy who went to Shanghai Dumpling King but didn't try the XLBs. He wasn't the lead reviewer on it but WTF?

      Any way, spices and seasonings are easier to "get" and appreciate. Subtly, quality ingredients and technique...not so much. Good call on the age however. For me I know the subtly thing didn't come into full play until I could afford to go to places like CP on a frequent enough basis to get it. OTOH, inexpensive ethnic cuisine is very accessible in the Bay Area.

      1. I noticed that neither of the younger reviewers ordered plain, grilled fish - they both ordered slightly more complicated (and non-grilled) preparations (and one of them ordered steak!?!) that very well may have been mediocre. I think the three reviewers actually seemed to confirm what a lot of CHers have said about both Tadich's and Sam's - get whatever the freshest fish is that day, cooked as simply as possible, don't bother with anything else (except cioppino?)

        1 Reply
        1. re: daveena

          Actually, their sweetbreads are pretty spectacular as well; they offer three different preparations and they are HUGE and tender. The mock-turtle soup is a worthy homage to days-of-yore as well...