Has anyone tried this place? Sammy's Gourmet Burgers & Beer in Springboro, in the old Encore restaurant space, near Dorothy Lane Market. It is a restaurant that combines American food with Mexican. This location is a branch of a place in Blue Ash. Reviews I have seen have been extremely mixed.
I've eaten there twice, and have been varying degrees of underwhelmed each time. The first time was easily the worst, especially if you take into account only what I ordered, and not what my wife ordered. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
On our first visit, we started off with an order of the Fiesta Fries, which are described thus: "our beer battered bottleneck fries covered in Mexican melting cheese, guacamole and salsa". What we actually got was an indifferently put together plate of some tasty (but surely frozen and packaged) steak fries drowned in the ubiquitous-to-seemingly-every-area-Mexican-joint white queso dip and the house salsa, with a dollop of guac that looked and tasted processed.
So, not a very auspicious beginning.
Moving on to dinner, the wife ordered the Hawaiian burger, cooked medium (and it came out as ordered), with fries. I will say right here that this burger is the single best item that either of us has eaten in either of our visits to this establishment. As a matter of fact, I filled my loving spouse with no small amount of enmity when I ate the leftover half of the burger later on that night, as she was saving it for her lunch the following day. Anyway. I
ordered the Fajitas de Cerdo, which are basically pork carnitas with fajita fixin's, and these were, without doubt, the toughest, driest, most flavorless pork carnitas I've ever eaten anywhere. I mean, come on
, it's pork
we're talking about here. You have to work pretty hard to make pork flavorless. But, this day at least, they certainly put in the time and effort to do so.
On our second visit, we both ordered burgers. The wife got the Tex-Mex burger, which was decent, if unremarkable, and I ordered what is referred to on the online menu as the Ragita burger, but what is referred to on the menu in the restaurant as the Rajita burger. It is described as being a burger with "Sammy's ragita chili sauce, Mexican melting cheese, ranchero cilantro dressing, lettuce and tomato". The wife ordered her burger medium, I ordered mine medium rare (which the waiter said they'd have no problem doing), and both burgers came out medium well. In addition, I detected zero sauce of any kind on my burger, and this time the "Mexican melting cheese" turned out to be plain ol' pepper jack. In addition, and per the recommendation of the Cincinnati Bites blogger, we both ordered the garlic fries on the side, and what we got were the same uninspired, if tasty, steak-fries-from-a-bag, absolutely swimming
in great pools of garlic butter. It was almost comical. Almost. I mean, there's likely no bigger fan of garlic than me, but this was like someone asked the cook who prepared these, while he was preparing them, what "overkill" meant, and he said, "Laddie buck, instead of telling you what 'overkill' means, I'll show
you!" The leftover fries we took home after filled the car with an intensely garlicky, at times fishy
odor. Needless to say, they landed right smack in the bin once we got home.
As for the service at this place, the first time we were served by a slow, bored, half-heartedly polite Anglo teen boy, complete with obligatory floppy hair and contempt for anyone over the age of 25. The second time, we had a very friendly Latino boy who worked his freaking ass off for us, and was rewarded accordingly with a very generous tip.
All in all, if I'm in the mood for Mexican, I'll either venture on down to Taqueria Mercado (arguably the gold standard of truly authentic Mexican food around here), Acapulco's just down the road, or if I want to stay up north, I'll either venture to Middletown's El Rancho Grande (where the food is pretty consistent, but the service, sadly, isn't), or up to El Toro, across from the Dayton Mall. Several years ago, I also would've included Cazadores in Franklin in this list, but as long as the unconscionably obnoxious Freddy runs the place, we continue to avoid it like the plague it most certainly is.
Anyway, hope this helped.
<message edited by Rabkin on Tue, 11/30/10 10:40 AM>