Saturday, July 3, 2010

CHEF SAMI, NEW BERN'S BEST KEPT SECRET, NOW AT SEA GLASS CAFE

Sea Glass Cafe and Bakery is not new to New Bern.  The owner of Sea Glass bought Bear Town French Bakery from the previous owner and changed the name.  Business was so good, they outgrew the small building that housed them on S. Glenburnie Road and moved to their present location (the old Crabby Jack's) on Martin Luther King Blvd.  Breakfast and lunch are served daily and the bakery is part of the restaurant.  Fresh rolls, breads and pastries are the delight of their patrons.

What is new is their evening service which is headed up by Sami Ben Selma, the previous chef at La Fontana Restaurant.
The menu offerings, mostly Italian, are similar to what was available at La Fontana.  My husband, who is 100% Sicilian, was in heaven when La Fontana opened up in New Bern.  It was the first Italian restaurant, in the 17 years we've lived in New Bern, to get his endorsement -- and mine.  Finally, a chef who knows how to cook decent Italian food.  It doesn't hurt that Sami is also Sicilian and hasn't been in America for very long.  But then a fire shut La Fontana down, and we almost cried at our loss.  Chef Sami was out of a job.  Not to be deterred, he approached the owner of Sea Glass to let him open at night with a dinner service.  She agreed.  He has no funds to advertise, so it's just word of mouth.  And business is starting to pick up for him, mostly because customers are satisfied.  Once you taste his food, you'll understand why.

Here we are, ready to go in.
We started our meal with the bruschetta appetizer.  Lightly toasted Italian bread drizzled with olive oil is topped with sundried tomato and crab meat and accompanied by Chef Sami's special marinara sauce.  My husband always gets glassy eyed when he eats Sami's marinara sauce, because it's so similar to his family's.

Next up was a garden salad, which came with our reasonably priced entrees.  The house balsamic dressing is perfect with fresh greens and veggies.
We couldn't pass up a plate of Sami's special meatballs in tomato sauce.  They're just slightly spicy with red pepper flakes, but not enough to make your eyes water.  So good.
And the sauce -- well, let's just say it's the perfect destination for this nice basket of to-die-for warm honey-glazed rolls.
Break off a piece of roll and dip into that wonderful sauce.  No butter needed.  We could eat this all day.


OK, time for our entrees, though we are getting quite full about now.  First off, Guy's plate of mussels, which comes several ways (as appetizer or entree, with marinara or white wine).  Guy got the appetizer size in marinara sauce.  He was smart.  There was plenty here to fill him up -- 12 big mussels in that great sauce.  He was a happy camper.

Tom ordered the Springtime Linguine: Fresh pasta, shrimp, mushrooms, ham and pesto with parmesan cream sauce.   He couldn't eat it fast enough and kept repeating, "this is so good, this is so good."  

 
I had the Chicken Bella Vista.  Thinly sliced chicken breast with mushrooms, spinach, tomato concasse, sauteed with shallots and garlic in butter wine sauce.  All I can say is Yummo.  I'm not sure which is better, the delicious rolls or the wonderful homemade pasta.  I guess some of each is in order.


It's not that we didn't want dessert, we did.  There was just no more room.  We'll be going back next week to get more Italian food.  You can get your Italian fix Monday through Thursday, 3PM - 8PM,  Fridays and Saturdays  3PM - 9PM.  

New Bern's best kept secret -- Chef Sami.  If you love real Italian food, done right, he's your man. 
Update January 2011:  Chef Sami has opened his own restaurant, Bella Cucina, in New Bern. 

6 comments:

  1. Chef Sami was a doorman in Sicily, lived there for a long time but is not sicilian !
    He is TUNISIAN !

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  2. Hi Anonymous, Chef Sami told us that he is half Sicilian (on his mother's side). He said he grew up in Milan and learned Milanese cooking, then spent two years in Sicily learning to cook Sicilian. I didn't know he was Tunisian, but we will ask him about that next time we see him. Thanks for your comments.

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  3. He worked very hard as a waiter in Sicily for a long time,but I know for sure that none of his family is Sicilian, they still live in Tunisia.
    His first language was Arabic and french but I'm sure that after so many years in Italy his Italian has improved dramatically almost to perfection....

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    Replies
    1. HA LASCIATO MOGLIE E FIGLI A MILANO IN CERCA DI POSTI LONTANI DOVE METTERE NUOVE RADICI E IDENTITA'.IL SUO SCOPO PIU' IMPORTANTE E' FARE SOLDI TRUFFANDO BRAVE ED INGENUE PERSONE CHE CREDONO A TUTTE LE BUGIE CHE RACCONTA DI SE' E DELLA SUA FAMIGLIA.STRANO CHE CON LE SUE CAPACITA' E BRAVURE DECIDE DI SCAPPARE DA UN POSTO ALL'ALTRO NEL GIRO DI UN PAIO D'ANNI.....POVERE VITTIME SE SAPESTE CHI E' VERAMENTE SAMI BEN SELMA !!!!!!!

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  4. lol Sami's Arabic, you guys are so gullible.

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  5. Wow, you have such stunning photos! And these stuffed bell pepers – YUM! These have been on my bucket list for so long – thanks for pushing me to finally give it a try! Crazyask.com

    ReplyDelete

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