Cha Cha Cha
Samba Room | By Ronda M. Parag
Once again the Latin sounds of salsa from Central and South Americas have taken over the South Howard restaurant, Samba Room. Opened in mid-August, the renovated space is now Samba Room and delivers a fun and festive dining experience.
Owners of Soho Hospitality Group — Gordon Davis, Kevin Enderle and Michael Bleser — are behind the re-incarnated restaurant concept and have made numerous changes and upgrades to the building. The outside patio has more than doubled, the nostalgic valance from the original Samba Room has been re-installed on the atrium, while the bar area has been expanded and the stage moved into the corner. The freshly painted walls are adorned with original and colorful artwork by cuban artists. "We've paid great attention to detail," says Bleser. "From the music to the food - you can't find this experience anywhere else." Bleser adds that Gordon Davis grew up in the wine business, is well traveled and has a discerning palate. "We searched the country for an executive chef and we found her right here in Tampa," Bleser says. "She is incredible."
A Tampa local, Felicia Anzardo graduated from Jefferson High School and completed her chef training at Johnson and Wales University. She began her career as a pastry chef and spent the last 10 years at Roy's. "We have a great team," says Anzardo with a smile. "We have some well-chiseled men on the line and they have fine culinary skills."
The menu is expansive and offers a variety of cold and hot tapas and larger plates too, including Pargo Frito (spanish name for Snapper). It's a crispy fish served with coconut white rice topped with a tomato and ginger broth. The green beans topped with pine nuts and a vanilla, brown butter are a favorite of Blesers. He jokes that he is going to serve them at his next holiday meal. The shrimp and scallop ceviche topped with black squid ink foam has been a popular menu item as well. The Fig Panzanella is a delicious salad with heirloom tomatoes, fig, shaved Idiazabal (sheep milk) cheese topped with a white, balsamic truffle dressing. All the pastries are made in-house with Tres Leche being Chef Anzardo's favorite. M
1502 S. Howard Ave., Tampa, FL
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