Win/Fail Fridays: Yay for Sam's, Nay for Met Back Bay

Welcome to Win/Fail Fridays, where executive editor Donna Garlough mouths off about her latest dining-out adventures.

This week’s WIN: Indian summer at Sam’s at Louis

I confess: While some of my colleagues have been in more recently, I hadn’t been back to Sam’s, the restaurant in the “new” Louis, since Franklin Café alum Asia Mei took over the kitchen. So I took Tuesday’s unseasonably warm temps as an excuse to head over to Fan Pier for what might be my last al fresco lunch of 2011. (It wasn’t; see below.) And from start to finish, it was an absolute delight. The patio was full of diners taking in the cool breezes and awesome harbor view; the house-made root veggie chips with caramelized onion dip were sweet and perfectly crisp. And the sandwiches? Holy porkfat, Batman. The “BLT” with arugula and tomato marmalade had a surprising orangey zing; the braised pork belly sandwich with pickled green tomatoes, arugula, and spicy aioli was crisp and rich, the spicy greens and tomatoes a perfect foil to the rich belly. After half a glass of rose, I’d entirely forgotten it was November. So thanks, Sam’s, for hosting summer’s last stand. Next week we’ll probably have a Nor’easter.

This week’s FAIL: Going forkless at Met Back Bay

This one hurts, because my lunch on the patio was otherwise so darn pleasant. (It was a good week for outdoor dining). But please: Don’t bring the food and disappear, so that I have to flag down a server to ask for silverware. Better yet, just make sure there’s silverware. Fortunately, my companion and I were both having salads, so nothing went cold. There was also nothing stopping us from plowing through the truffle fries with our hands. Lesson of the day: Always order fries?

Stay tuned for next week’s Win/Fail!