Aziz Azari and the Terrible Horrible Samba Room Dinner

Saturday, 11 October 2008, 13:34 | Category : Life
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Last night, my friend Fan (name changed to protect the semi-innocent… yeah, right) and I went down to Comedy Works in Denver. For those of you who don’t know what Comedy Works is – well, its exactly what it sounds like it is: a nice little semi-dive comedy club in LoDo. We decided that before heading to the club, we’d get dinner at the restuarant right next door: The Samba Room.

The Samba Room has a Latin-Cuban menu, chock full of things I don’t normally consider eating. But Fan said that the mohitos were great, and that the restaurant got great reviews. I guess we should have been a little suspicious when we were seated in a back corner upstairs, behind a pillar; we didn’t really look the part of most of the rest of the patrons, who were still in in their business casual slacks and sweaters. The server came by, took our drink orders, and disappeared. For 20 minutes. When he finally came back, with my mojito that tasted more like pure raspberry syrup than a mojito, we placed our dinner orders. Calimari to share, scallops for Fan, and pulled pork for me. When the calimari arrived, I was hopeful. Hopes that were soon to be dashed. The calimari was oily and chewy. So oily that it left little oil puddles on the plate from the 4-5 pieces that we ate.

Our server came back, asked how things were. Fan, in his perfectly honest way said “That’s not very good. Its much too oily,” and gestured toward the oil puddles. The server, amazingly, agreed, saying “Yeah, that’s not good. Do you want some more?” Yes, crazy server. We want more nasty oily calimari.

Fan: “Oh, no. But I don’t blame you.”

Server: “Of course, not, I didn’t cook it.”

And away went the nasty oily calimari. We waited, tried to chew on the sugar cane in our sugary mojitos. Mine was more like bamboo than sugar cane. There was no way to chew it.

Then came the entrees. Again, hope flaired; again, hopes were dashed. My plate was literally 2/3 full of canned black beans. in a semicircle around a scoop of rice that was reminscent of elementary school lunches. The pulled pork had a neat presentation, in a purple banana leaf. Unfortunately, the small amount of sauce was mostly on the leaf, not on the pork. And as I dug through the leaf to get to the meat, I had to sort out the fat globs and the bone. Yes. BONE in the shredded pork. Shouldn’t you check and make sure you’re not serving BONE as part of your shredded pork?

Beans Anyone?

Fan’s dinner… well, it wasn’t much better. In fact, it may have been worse. His scallops tasted like citrus urinal cakes. They were buried under these weird chip things, that basically tasted like double fried corn flakes. Oh, he also got some stringy mashed potatoes and some more of that tasty pork that I had. Blech.

Yummy, deep-fried cornflake noodles.

Yummy, deep-fried cornflake noodles.

Server: “How was everything?”

Fan: “Its… well, there. Can we get our check? We’ve got a show to get to.”

So, we get the check, and leave at least 1/3 of the weird, bad food. Everyone else in the restaurant seemed to be cleaning their plate. I swear one woman was about to pick up h

er plate and lick it clean. Apparently they don’t have tastebuds – they were all destroyed by the alcohol or something. Blech.

So we go next door to Comedy Works… about which I will write more later. But lets just say that The Samba Room gets a huge, giant thumb down.

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