My Meal Cost: $8.90. Health Rating A. Yelp 3.5 stars
After expensive pizza and ho hum franchise chain burger I was looking forward to a locally owned/operated place with good honest food. When I started this blog several folks recommended Samos, especially for their pastrami and onion rings. I was also warned that this was the spot where a man was recently (now a couple of months ago) shot in the parking lot. The parking lot is probably the scariest part of this place, it's run down, dirty and a bit secluded.
I arrived just prior to noon and the place was completely empty. The workers appeared to be doing their opening cleanup. But then by 12:15 no one had shown up except me. Around that time two young boys (I'd guess middle school age--isn't Monday a school day? Hmmmm). Then just before I left a father and daughter came in. And then someone came through the drive-thru. They have a VERY loud speaker system--no wimpy headsets here--which blast through the small dining room. Well, at least there are no TVs on the wall to be interrupted.
I decided to go with the recommendations and ordered the pastrami special ($7.99), which usually includes a pastrami sandwich, fries and a 16 oz. drink (served from behind the counter, no self-serve). Because I was told that I HAD to have the onion rings, I asked that they be substituted for the fries and was informed that it would involve an extra charge (seems to have been about 50 cents). The meal was brought to my table and included a large pastrami sandwich on a soft roll and about 2.5 inches of meat, my drink (diet coke), the onion rings, and about 8 large battered and fried zucchini spears, along with some ketchup and a fairly large carton of a mayonnaise which I assume was for dipping. Since I like little yellow peppers on my pastrami, I asked for some and they were very nice in bringing me some.
Unfortunately, the food, while flavorful, was a bit disappointing. The zucchini, a delightful surprise, was quiet good. The onion rings were obviously hand cut and battered, not formed and frozen, but it seems as if the cooking oil may have been too hot. The rings came out dark brown, not particularly oily which would have indicated overcooking, and the flavor was just slightly off. In fairness I did eat all of them.
The pastrami was plentiful and flavorful, if a bit fatty. However, the meat had a decent bit of sinew in it. Taking a bite, a string came out which on inspection looked like a piece of rubberband which might have fallen into the meat container and ended up in my sandwich. However, a few bites latter I got another one and on further inspection realized that it was a vein or vessel (so natural meat, nothing to fear). In looking through the meat I noted that there was actually a lot of this material which was mostly cut into very small pieces that you wouldn't really notice. I don't recall ever having something like this at The Hat or Bravo Burger. Again, the sandwich was flavorful.
The interior has a counter for ordering with a lot of hand-drawn signage about specials, along with the ubiquitous menu board. They also have a wide array of burgers, Mexican dishes, and drinks other than the usual fountain sodas. The dining area has booths which can seat 4 and is nice and clean. No TVs or other distractions.