Dinner at Sam’s Table: Homebuilt with Garden View

Montclair, NJ – Sam’s Table, a private supper club based in Montclair, is dedicated to sharing a unique and personal culinary vision. It’s a pop-up so the exact location may change from one event to the next, which is part of the fun! Montclair native chef Sam Stymest and Union City native Kasandra Beltran came up with the concept early in the pandemic, when work had slowed but ideas were still trickling.

A pop-up dinner was recently held in a secluded garden on a quiet side street. Guests were greeted warmly and shown to an outdoor table where they were comfortably seated apart from others. Despite the space, the evening had the feel of being at an intimate catered dinner at a friend’s house.

Guests were served an ambitious 8-course tasting menu with a nod to Father’s Day and June 16 – light, seasonal and plant-based, with a meat moment and an enchanting dessert finale. The bread and butter service featured two composite butters, one made simply from fresh strawberries and the other from brown butter, honey, lemon, thyme and black pepper, both perfectly spread on fresh brioche and crusty country bread. Next, thinly slice tender raw scallops and toss with fresh buttermilk and dill oil, with crunch through diced cucumber and rye crackers. This was followed by a culinary delight of green apple sorbet in a Chardonnay soup with pineapple foam. Then the vegetable stars were served. First, pea “Chawanmushi”, inspired by the Japanese egg custard dish and full of delicious new flavor combinations. Next came a charred summer squash with a burnt citrus sauce and white onion puree.

The meat course consisted of a piece of dry aged rib eye with lard aioli, fondant potatoes, broccolini and onion gastrique. Delicious! And believe it or not, we weren’t full at that point. Not for a long time. The chefs seemed to know instinctively that they had to make sure we had room for dessert. And oh my, what a dessert: a brownie with chocolate cream, blackberry sauce, blackberry foam and blackberry sorbet. Silence fell over the group as we all dove in. As a parting gift, everyone was sent home with a delicious mini red velvet cake.

Executive Chef Sam Stymest and Pastry Chef Kasandra Beltran.

These guys know what they’re doing—chef Sam Stymest and pastry chef Kasandra Beltran met while they were students in Hudson County Community College’s prestigious Culinary Arts program. Internships and post graduate work led him to work for some time in New York food temples like Daniel, Jean George, Craft as well as Cape Cod restaurants and even worked as a chef in China! They stayed in touch throughout their education and travels until the right time came to get back together to start their new business. Montclair has a new culinary treat in store for connoisseurs.

Sam’s Table: To be the first to know about the next pop-up, email SamStymestsTable@gmail.com or follow them on Instagram at @samstable2020.

Mary Connolly is also known as “Marie Fromage”. Follow her on Instagram @MarieFromage

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