I’ve been waiting to review Samos, Mt. Pleasant’s newest upscale Greek addition for almost a year now. I have been around since its inception so I have some inside scoop. First, let me say that it takes a lot of people more than one visit to get what is going on here. Samos offers Mezze style dining (small portions) of some classic Greek Mezze along with some new interpretations, and this can be off-putting to some diners. There are no massive greek salads here or gyro platters to speak of. The food is refined, and I think that the kitchen has become a lot more consistent and succesful over the past year.
What I love about this place in particular is that the menu takes some risks, like the charred octopus mezze (I dare you to find octopus in more than 1 other restaurant here) and the little whole fried fish mezze. These are both great dishes. I also think that Samos has really perfect Tzaziki–silky and rich, perfectly garlicky, with a nice hit of the appropriate fresh herbs. Other things on my favorites list and in this category are Samos’s other dips: The potato and garlic puree and the eggplant and walnut puree. These are versatile dips that could be packaged up just like hummus–maybe something to look forward to.
Another really succesful dish at Samos is the Shrimp, Feta, and Tomato bake that is served in a hot, personal sized cast iron skillet. I really like the presentation of this dish and find it very consistent. Best of all, this, along with all of the other mezze, are avaialable during happy hour for $5 ea. House wines and beers are $3. During happy hour, you can eat and drink really well, at a leisurley pace, for less than $25 for two.
The wine list at Samos is also really interesting and very good. The house white is a propietary blend of grapes that is complex, delicious, and most importantly, affordable. The rest of the list should keep any wine lover satiated.
Another big plus for Samos is the attention to detail that has been paid. The bread is warm and crusty, the olive oil is rich and green and tastes like olive oil should taste. The only major downside of Samos is the noise level, which can get pretty unbearable on a busy night. I’m not sure how much acoustic tiles could really help in this narrow space. Also, I would like to see some really good Greek Oregano, that most misunderstood and wonderful herb, in the spotlight more. I would also like it if the kitchen could source some wild Greek greens instead of using spinach for its greens. Regardless, Samos is very good and is the perfect place to enjoy some interesting food in a cool environment.
Happy Hour: around $15 a person
Dinner: around $40 ea with a drink or two