I've been trying to write this post for over two months. Holidays and weekly major accolades for Samar by Stephan Pyles have conspired to steal my thunder. No matter. Here then, finally, is a look at many of Samar's delicious small plates "inspired" by the cuisines of Spain, the Eastern Mediterranean and India.
^Stephan Pyles (L) and Exec. Chef Vijay Sadhu (R).
^L - Fabes con Almejas - Asturian Beans and Clam Stew w/ Chorizo Foam. ^R - Arroz Negro con Calamares Fritos - Black Rice w/ Fried Squid and Preserved Lemon Aioli.
^ Patatas Y Chorizo con Huevo Organico - Potatoes and Chorizo w/ Fried Motley Farm Organic Egg and Hudson Valley Foie Gras. (Shown here before and after.)
^ The now famous Tres Vasos, the de-facto Samar signature dish. It is a stunner. Very complex in texture and execution - an exceptional offering. (L) Spiced Shrimp w/ Pumpkin Flan and Orange. (C) Foie Gras Brûlée w/ Pedro Ximenez Figs and Crispy Jamon Serrano. (R) Ruby Red Grapefruit w/ Feta Foam and Lemongrass-Ginger Gelée.
Stephan explains, "Tres Vasos was inspired by a visit to a down and dirty but forward thinking tapas bar in San Sebastion last summer called A Fuego Negro. They served a variety of crazy multi-layered vasos with such ingredients as mussels in basil jelly with apple crema and pork cracklings. My combinations are tame by comparison yet have been construed by some in the local media as "over-wrought" and a "jumble of weird tastes and textures"."
Well, I dig it - I'm trying to get him to make me that mussels/apple/cracklins version one of these days.
From the Eastern Mediterranean:
^L - Haloumi bil Zahrat Laateen - Haloumi Stuffed Squash Blossoms w/ Green Olive-Pomegranate Salad. ^R - Kofte Addas Ahmar - Minted Crunchy Red Lentil Kofte w/ Rose Vinegar Pickled Pearl Onions.
^ Caramelizing oranges for Salata Hundba maa Shumar - Endive-Orange Salad w/ Fennel Pecan Labne and Sumac.
^L - Djaj Maklee bil Bahrat al Farisyieh - Persian Spiced Fried Chicken w/ Fenugreek Mashed Potatoes. ^R - Ajill Tagine maa Couscous - Veal Tagine w/ Medjool Dates and tri-color Almond Couscous.
^ L - Lentils in Chapati Cones. ^ R - the gorgeous Tandorri Gobi ka Phool - Saffron and Cumin infused tri-colored Cauliflower w/ crunchy Amchur Salad.
^ L - Murgh Makhani - Tandoori Chicken Butter Masala w/ Tomatoes and Fenugreek. ^ R - Meen Avail - South Indian Coconut Fish Curry w/ Jasmine Rice.
^ Vijay Sadhu and Stephan Pyles in their vibrant, energetic, popular space.
"Design-wise, I wanted to take advantage of the open spaces and views of the arts district while incorporating the exotic colors and textures of India and the Middle East. Most of the chandeliers and artifacts were purchased in the bazaar in Damascus," notes Pyles.
Sweets from All Over:
^ A selection of the killer desserts, including the Labine Pudding w/ Apricot Glaze and Candied Marcona Almonds; and the Turkish Coffee Pots de Crème.
^ L - Saffron-Coconut Rice Pudding and Cardamom. ^ R - Chocolate Samosa w/ Candied Rose Petal Sauce.
^ L - Caramelized Apple Empanada w/ Cinnamon Ice Cream. ^ R - Pistachio, Rose and Gum Mastic Ice Cream Cone (yumm).
^ Stephan finishes the beautiful and decadent Crema Catalana w/ Candied Motley Farm Ground Cherries.
We've been back a few times, and there have been additions to the menu since these photos were taken... I'll have to do an update - and post it this time!
^ The Hooka Patio during warmer days.