Samar’s creators paid huge attention to design. The following video is a tour of the restaurant with Stephan Pyles. (Pardon the sound; the place was packed.)
We sent Andrew Chalk to cover the semi-soft opening of Samar by Stephan Pyles. Here is his report. You want chandeliers? Stephan Pyles bought some chandeliers for Samar. Go Andrew:
Samar by Stephan Pyles held its invite-only preview party on Saturday and, judging by the turnout, reservations to this new eatery are going to be hard to get. (The official opening day is still TBD but planned for “early October.”)
Saturday, close to 1,000 of Stephan’s closest friends piled into the restaurant, the patio, and a specially rented spillover area. Despite the crowd, the staff coped with the rush like a well-oiled machine. Even the periodic guest-dropping-a-glass-in-a-crowded-bar problem was immediately met with a staffer who cordoned off the area while another cleaned it clean up. The kitchen and wait staff dispatched appetizers with that frictionless regularity which makes you wonder if the servers aren’t on roller skates.
The centerpiece of any restaurant is the food. Pyles installed Vijay Sadhu, formerly of Bukhara Grille and Clay Pit, as head chef because he wanted Indian cuisine to be one of the inspirations at Samar.The other influences on the menu come from Spain and the area loosely defined as the Eastern Mediterranean (mainly Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey). Here is chef Sadhu describing some of the appetizers.
Chef Sadhu showed the crowd his ambitious stuff—all of the food was prepared perfectly. As he showed at his earlier positions, Vijay Sadhu is an expert and combining flavors and bringing them out in his dishes. Here is a short list of what was served: Red Lentiles Kofte (Turkish), Kebbeh with Golden beets tzatziki sauce, Chicken kebab stuffed with spiced gound lamb served with Spice tomato jam and crispy okra, Saffron Paneer tikka with spiced vermicelli and cumin scented asparagus, Chocolate Samosa with rose jam, and Papadam cones stuffed with Mung sprouts
Guests were offered either a specially created martini that apparently involved pomegranate juice (and had a fruity approachability that made it deceptively easy to imbibe) or one of a number of respectable wines.This food, by the way, is wine-friendly.
Outside, the patio was put to good use. Belly dancers entertained the crowd that, coincidentally, became progressively less and less reserved.
Hookah pipes were available to complete one’s sense transportation from the corner of Ross and Olive to some exotic country.