Sunday, August 26, 2012

Samar Bengali BBQ Dinner

Jon Thompson is the current chef at Stephan Pyles' Samar and will be moving over to Stampede 66 when it opens later this year. Perhaps as part of their research of Stampede's upcoming modern Texas menu, they offered a Bengali BBQ dinner at Samar, and I got a seat a last minute seat at the bar. I'm a couple months late in describing the meal, but it was an inventive menu for the most part.

The first course was potato salad, fried chicken, shrimp, greens and cornbread, only in a much different version than you'd expect. On the plate were simple fried strips of moist chicken and well spiced shrimp along with mustard greens done like a spinach saag. Potato salad was made up of chilled potatoes and chick peas mixed with mint chutney and a cornbread version of naan was flecked with jalapeno. Pickled mango was served in the second course in place of the standard dill spears or chips. All items were inventive and proof that having more barbecue side items with an ethnic twist would be just fine by me.

The second course was all about the meat. A goat meat chili slider was well spiced and with a dollop of yogurt was the best sloppy joe I've ever had. Lamb ribs had good spice and a sweet glaze that countered the meat's gaminess well. They had only been baked without any smoke, and the meat needed a bit longer to tenderize, but the flavor itself was great. A few slices of buffalo brisket exhibited the challenge of doing honest barbecue in a fine dining setting. To be at their best, meats need to be smoked fresh and sliced to order, but getting as much accomplished in the prep kitchen helps things move more swiftly on the line. These briskets had been pre-smoked and I watched as half briskets were warmed through on a skillet over a gas burner. The texture had noticeably suffered as had the moisture level, and only the heavy masala sauce saved it. They're going to have to tweak that brisket recipe if it ever shows up down the street at Stampede 66, but I still had a great meal that challenged some of my preconceptions about the boundaries of barbecue fusion.

- BBQ Snob

1 comment:

Gene said...

I love Indian food, I love BBQ - two great tastes that go together? After reading your review and taking in those pictures, I'm inclined to think so! That slider looks really good to me!


Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.