Ashland, Sept. 4, 2009—YES: THIRD DAY RUNNING at New Sammy's. Why not? Why would you spend a week in a town boasting one of the finest restaurants you know without eating there as often as possible?
I had a salmon paté, then a rib steak with vegetables. Sounds simple enough. Everything was direct, clean, complex.
"She's a cook, not a chef," Gaye said, revealing the genius of Charlene. Sure, there's an assistant, maybe two now, in the kitchen: but Charlene's role is not primarily to manage an equipe, a team of phenomenal cooks whose separate and individual passions and intelligences might stand as much in the way of a successful meal as in its service. Charlene primarily mediates between what she knows of cooking, which is considerable, and the ingredients she deals with, which she knows intimately.
The paté was beautifully textured, smoky and fishy, clean and focussed. The steak — some kind of perfect balance between marbled fat and lean texture, and fine flavor. I think there's only one other restaurant I know in this country up to this mark.
Vin blanc, Coteaux Varois "Chateau Miraval", 2007; vin rouge d'Anjou