I've been a fan of Cheb for some time now, but actually live a lot closer to Samarkand and had never been there until last night. I decided to go after reading Sietsema's review. The menu at Sam is much smaller than Cheb, and they didn't have the grilled lamb fat, which I've come to crave. However, the beef shashliki (kabobs) had small cubes of grilled beef fat between and separating the chunks of skirt steak on the skewer. It was quite tasty. I was less impressed with the lamb rib shashliki. I had the bread (not the parabolic matzah bread, but the other risen bread) which was excellent. The pickled vegetable platter did not come with the cauliflower or olives that Sietsema wrote about, which was a disappointment. Also, the shredded cabbage was merely saurkraut, rather than the shredded cabbage salad with carrots that Cheb serves. To drink, I wound up having Diet Coke, because they don't sell the pear-flavored Dushes (soda) that Cheb sells. They were also out of the taragon flavored soda.
While it was in many ways similar to Cheb, I don't think Sam is as good. I'll walk the extra couple of blocks in the future. I like the larger space at Cheb and I like the fact that the grill at Cheb is out in front where you can see it.