First Bite: Sam’s
The new Louis store at Fan Pier may have finally cracked the formula for a house restaurant.
I can’t think of a nicer placeÂ to spend a late-summer evening than the patio at Samâ€™s, the glass-walled restaurant in the newly relocated Louis store. Perched on a wide green lawn, turned to the sweep of sea from Rowes Wharf to the Harbor Islands, itâ€™s the answer to a question Bostonians and tourists have been asking for years: Why arenâ€™t there more decent restaurants with a water view?
The minimalist space looks like a bistro as imagined by Dwell magazine â€” and nothing detracts from the view. But little touches (fresh garden flowers, vintage linen napkins, and a blackboard entryway chalked with guest graffiti) make the experience feel personal. And at Samâ€™s, that personality is Esti Parsons, a former partner in Radius, Via Matta, and Great Bay. She glides around the room tracking every table, the perpetual hostess of the townâ€™s coolest dinner party.
Oh right, dinner! The kitchen, run by Via Matta alum Ken Rogers, offers an important distinction in these days of whole-hog feasts and burger excess: It takes vegetables seriously. The family-style veggies served with most entrĂ©es are generally fantastic, particularly the buttery giant lima beans. And the menuâ€™s strongest category may be the salads: beet with lemony house-made ricotta, peppery niĂ§oise, greens with poached egg and crispy bacon. If Samâ€™s purpose is, in part, to appeal to Louisâ€™s base of Ladies Who Lunch, the salads prove that this team â€” unlike those behind failed house restaurants like Boston Public â€” has figured out how to reach its audience.
Seafood, too, is mostly great: spot-on mussels and fries, a perfectly poached seafood platter. But other entrĂ©es seem half conceived. Steak frites disappoint, the tough meat sliced with the grain rather than against it, and a Hawaii-inspired tuna sandwich looks and tastes tired, the small portion of fish lost in a giant bun. Spinach, caramelized onion, and pine nut crĂŞpes are a puzzlement â€” surely some sort of creamy filling would tie it all together.
But Samâ€™s deserves a little time. While the cuisine is still finding its way, it seems itâ€™ll soon be worthy of its four-star setting.
60 Northern Ave., Boston, 617-295-0191, samsatlouis.com.
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/2010/08/first-bite-sams/