Samba Grille’s executive chef David Guerrero recently hosted an 8-course dinner with wine pairings for writers, chefs, and yada to taste his personal twist on South American classics. Passes were also given for all to experience an after dinner showing at Bayou Place’s new Sundance Cinema, where the late-lamented Angelica used to be.
After having recently experienced table 4 joy at Culinary Institute LeNôtre’s Champagne & Chocolat Scholarship Gala, an eruption of imaginary fireworks exploded throughout the restaurant during our dimly lit dining room sashay.
At this table we call 4, sits one Zagat-writing-also-author, the grandest twittering lover-of-food guru, one of the friendliest food writers ever to arrive from up north, and one semi sorda scary well known food human having a demeanor worthy of frightening mortals into almost needing extra therapy.
Moving right along.
As chef Guerrero began to chat, silently sitting at the next table just so happened to be… chef Roberto Castre of Latin Bites. Table 5’s plethora of chef coat possession included talented pastry chef Chris Leung, Triniti chefs Ryan Hildebrand & chef de cuisine Jose Hernandez, as well as Restaurant Conat’s… Randy Rucker. Gasp.
Our first course is the ceviche duo, which includes Ecuadorian shrimp, ceviche, beer foam, aji tomato ketchup mixto, calamari, snapper, limo pepper, and sweet potato purée. A glass of Rosé Cava from Penedès paired well with this evening’s first gift.
The next course is a chicha morada cured scallop, rocoto emulsion, black potato, avocado, corvina, celery-ginger emulsion, fried quinoa, and chorros a la chalaca. The sommelier paired a 2008 Torrontes, a floral white wine from the Mendoza Valley of Argentina. Sassy.
Third course remorse was apparent as the slightly terrifying fears of pork belly bacon became fact. Having an option to eat only half of this dish produced full on bliss! Solterito salad is a Peruvian salad of sorts in an aji amarillo vinaigrette. A glass of 2010 Semillon from Argentina accompanied this plate of pig contaminate.
It’s hard not to hug a service industry worker each time they surprisingly stop by for a ten-second tableside bowl pour. Lobster and corn sango is the fourth course, a kind of bisque with butter poached lobster and grilled choclo, whcih is an oversized kernel of corn. Paired with this course is a 2010 Bodega Chacra pinot noir.
As random rookies sat thinking this dish tasted too much like fish, Randy Rucker raved, even declaring it… brilliant. The intermezzo consists of a tangy citrusy leche de tigre granita and some crispy fried sweet potatoes.
Be excited about the bread, people! Hurry.
Smoked paiche from the Amazon arrived with grilled yucca, escabeche, and aji butter. This dish with fish is paired with a 2006 Neyen Cabernet Sauvignon/Carmenere.
With every tasting menu moment, humans having hang ups must choose education rather than slipping into a fatigue filled fit of gagging nausea. This course has in its possession yet another pork product term which we must learn. After a full blown investigation, Google has confirmed this pig we call suckling, is that of a piglet having been fed on its own mom’s … milk. This suckling piglet is slaughtered between the ages of 2 & 6 weeks. Many Google humans maintain their claim of gelatinous glory to be fact, due in part to this early childhood suckling sacrifice.
Triple Baby Pig Sniffle.
Most piglets have not even had time to make other pig friends after only a few measly weeks on the farm. Odds of time at the trough or rolling around in mud with the ultimate soon-to-be-a-pork-product BFF are minimal. They don’t even have time to make small talk about what they will be transformed into after their untimely demise. Pork belly? Pork trotter? Pork powder? Pork foam? Only pig losers are made into bacon. Jeez.
Samba’s pastry chef has mastered his craft for creating. His first dessert of the evening is an avocado scented panna cotta with lime powder and passion fruit cremeux, which is paired with a Messias White Port from Portugal.
The final course is a delicious chocolate cake with aji amarillo mousse, mango “caviar,” and lucuma ice cream. Paired with dessert is a Pedro Ximenez sherry.
Chef David Guerrero’s passionate interpretation of South American cuisine shines brightly throughout his newly revamped menu for Samba. Downtown doesn’t have to be scary, people. Three visits last week proved to be a convincing experience during lunch & dinner. At Samba Grille, both front & back of the house are clearly capable of securing a downtown dining win.
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