Venue Review: Sammy's
The Charlotte Observer
Servers at Sammy's Neighborhood Pub in Belmont need strong arms: The place packs large quantities of food onto its plates. Fortunately quantity kept up with quality as we were happy with everything (fried pickles; turkey Reuben; fish and chips) we tried. Also, the prices were such that, if I'm in the Belmont area, I'd definitely think about popping into Sammy's again.
I'd never been to Sammy's before, but this neighborhood haunt felt like one of my favorite articles of clothing - worn but comfortable. From our gently marred wood table, we looked out the oversized windows at kids crunching through the leaves in the park. When we tired of that, we counted the cars on the freight train as it rumbled by.
We asked our server for recommendations and she took our question as an invitation to pull up a chair and rattle off her menu favorites and the daily specials. Had this happened at another restaurant, this somewhat intrusive action might have bothered me. But here it felt friendly, not forced.
Sammy's is named for Sammy Balatsias, who once owned a deli on Pecan Street in Charlotte. So it figures a bang-up Reuben would be found at his latest creation. It's up to you whether the Reuben is made with the traditional corned beef or with turkey.
We opted for the turkey, where folds and folds of the tender meat along with shreds of sauerkraut, creamy Thousand Island dressing and rye bread made for a massive sandwich. What space on the plate that wasn't occupied by the two hunks of Reuben was filled by slender, crisp fries.
Had we known the entrees were going to be as large as they were, we might have skipped the fried pickle appetizer. The thick pickle spears were encased inside a dill-flecked crisp crust. If you order these, let them cool off a few minutes, otherwise you're in for a serious burn.
Three delicately breaded pieces of flounder were the mainstay of the fish and chips. Joining them were a handful of torpedo-shaped sweet hushpuppies and a large ramekin of creamy coleslaw. And of course there were more fries.
Try as I did, I couldn't finish the fish and chips and ended up boxing up the leftovers. Anytime you can get an additional meal out of your dining experience, that always makes the final bill (ours was $30.62) more palatable. Money aside, there's a lot at Sammy's that made our palates happy.