Samba a Taste of the Big City
Thursday night we had the pleasure of dinner at one of the central city’s newest nightspots, Samba Brazilian Grill. This upscale and exciting new restaurant is located in the old Woman’s Club Building (formerly Avol’s Bookstore) at 240 W. Gilman St.
The decor is very upscale and the room is beautiful. The dining room for the grill is on the 2nd floor of the building in what use to be the gymnasium. It’s a vibrant large space with a small stage and a large open grilling kitchen.
When we entered the restaurant, we were greeted by 3 hosts who offered to take our coats (a nice touch in Madison’s winters). Our service was somewhat spotty from our general server. Our cocktail and wine order took until halfway through our salad bar visit. The meat service, however, was incredibly on the spot.
How this restaurant works is that you start with a massive salad bar. Once you’ve started to fill up with the great dishes there, you turn a small wooden cylinder that sits in the center of your table over. One end of this pillar is painted red the other is painted green. When you turn the green side up, the meats start to arrive delivered by authentically dressed “gauchos”. The gaucho then carves whichever meat variety they brought to you tableside. On Thursday there were 9 different meats from beef to pork to lamb. A particular favorite was the parmesan encrusted pork. Our table asked for a second round of this great flavor!
You are in control of the meats. What I mean by this is that the gauchos are very attentive to the tables. You let them know you’re ready for another round of meats by turning the cylinder on your table from red to green and vice versa. After the first full round of all the meats, our server did return to our table and asked if there were any meats we wanted to try for a second time. We shared with her which we would like again and boom, the gauchos were back with these.
All in all a wonderful evening. We topped it off with a serving of their specialty dessert, the Samba S’More. Add to the 2 bottles of great red wine and live music by a wonderful sounding combo and it was an evening to remember.