Such a strange place Sam's Restaurant is (238 Court St., at Baltic St., 718-596-3458). A group of my friends decided they wanted to try it, as I was the only one who had ever been and they wanted to see for themselves what it was all about. The old, original signage on the windows beckons, and you have to take a few steps down in order to enter into a place caught in a time warp. It feels like nothing has been changed in decades, from the red and white checkered plastic tablecloths, to the ancient photos on the wall (one was an 8 1/2 x 11 of a cat?). The dining area is one big space that feels like an old rec room, a place where church functions were held and you ran around as a kid with your friends, high on sugar while the adults drank and smoked and laughed three feet above your heads. The lighting is weird - both too bright and a bit dark, but the radio is tuned to the best of the 60's, 70's, 80's AND 90's and surely something will come on that makes you happy (Journey anyone?).
There's a back room that never seems to be used, and a huge upstairs space that isn't open either (although you have to go up there to use the ladies room). It seems like it'd be a cool spot to host a party or a reception, although I don't think it's available for that. There is a full bar though and lots of old classic cocktails listed on the menu. But let's get on to the food, shall we?
We started out with a salad - the Combination Salad to be precise. Iceberg lettuce, a few pink wedges of tomato, plus marinated mushrooms, roasted red pepper and a couple of olives from the can. Delicious. Well, not the olives, but everything else. Two bottles of red wine vinegar and oil are placed on the table for dressing. Beautiful simplicity. Nothing beats the crisp crunch of iceberg lettuce with the tangy tartness of red wine vinegar.
A friend ordered a Gin Lime Rickey, something to order again if only for it's pink frothiness.
But the highlights of our trip were the pizzas. They were excellent. Covered in cheese and sauce and whatever extra toppings you choose, the crust is thin, yet substantial; it holds its own and doesn't get soggy in the center. I hate that. The sauce is savory, not sweet, and the ingredients taste fresh.
We got one with Ricotta & Sausage which had slices of decent Italian sausage and loads of creamy ricotta. It was decadent and delicious and every bit was eaten - even the lost bits of ricotta were wiped up with scraps of crust.
We also ordered a pie with Pepperoni & Garlic. This was my favorite of the two. Mounds of fresh crushed garlic nestled in with abundant slices of slightly spicy pepperoni. SO GOOD!
There were six of us and this was just the right amount of food. Nothing was left over and everyone was happy. No slices though, and if you order a pie by phone, you can't eat it in the restaurant (although, I don't think that's so weird). They also sell Rock Salt for your icy sidewalks!