It should be clear by now that I love sushi, and one of my all time favorite places to eat sushi is Sushi Samba in New York City. This restaurant is a Japanese Peruvian fusion and it is outstanding. There are two locations in Manhattan, one on 7th Avenue South which has super high energy and outdoor seating and the second on Park Avenue South which has a sultry lounge called Sugarcane attached to it. Whether you choose to eat at the 7th Avenue location or the Park Avenue location, you will always be guaranteed great food! There are also Sushi Samba locations in Miami, Chicago, Tel Aviv, and now Las Vegas.
This past weekend I was lucky enough to be in New York and convincing enough to persuade my friends to go to Sushi Samba with me on Saturday night. We started off with a round of cocktails, I had a caiparinha, Brazil's national drink made from cachaça, sugar and lime. Next up was an order sawagani, also known as Japanese river crabs. The little guys can be found swimming around most fresh water streams in Japan, and you can see them swimming around when you enter the 7th Avenue location. Once they enter the kitchen, though, they are flash fried, salted, and arranged single file on a long white plate. The crabs are extremely crunchy on the outside with a soft, velvety crab texture inside. This is definitely extreme eating - just pop them in your mouth whole, and crunch!
Following the river crabs was a sampler of four amazing seviches! A yellowtail sashimi seviche with ginger, garlic & soy, a lobster sashimi seviche with mango and lime, a tuna sashimi seviche with grapefruit juice, jalapeno & almond, and a king salmon sashimi seviche with guava, carrot & mojito splash. Each seviche was amazing and bursting with flavor. They were fresh, fruity, and simply delicious. If you go to Sushi Samba and only order one thing, order one of these!
While we were all drooling over the seviches, our platter of sushi arrived. We ordered three Samba rolls plus the Sushi and Sashimi deluxe platter which came with the Green Envy Roll. Picture from the left are the green envy roll with tuna, salmon, asparagus, aji amarillo-key lime mayo & wasabi pea crust, a special Samba roll with tempura rock shrimp, a Pacific roll with king crab, avocado, Asian pear, soy paper & wasabi-avocado crema, and a Rainbow Dragon Roll with freshwater eel, red bell pepper, cucumber, mango & avocado. The sushi and sashimi that came with deluxe platter included tuna, salmon and yellowtail sashimi plus unagi (eel), ebi (shrimp), hirame (fluke/halibut), and maguro (tuna) sushi. Each of the Samba rolls except the Rainbow Dragon came with a special dipping sauce and each were excellent. This was a seriously good platter of sushi, some of the best we've ever had.
After we devoured the platter we wanted to see what the sushi chefs at Sushi Samba were really made of, so we asked the chef in front of us, we were seated at the sushi bar, to make us something special. What he came up with was creative, visually appealing, and incredibly delicious! The chef took a a wooden form mold and started building something great. He put down some rice, topped it with unagi (freshwater eel), avocado, and red jalapeno, and then more rice on top. He them put a top onto the form and pressed down, creating something akin to a sushi sandwich. The picture of his creation is below, but it's a little blurry. He took his creation out of the form, cut it into triangles, topped it with a little eel sauce and orange tobiko, and set it down in front of us. It was so good and such an honor for us to have had the chef make this just for us!
Finally, we finished our meal with a dessert sampler which ended up being on the house; maybe because we gave the sushi chef the honor of creating something special? Anyway, this dessert sampler contained a flan like dessert, a dish of seasonal fresh fruit, berry sponge & yuzu sorbet, a soft Japanese rice cake filled with ice cream, and a warm chocolate banana cake with maple butter, banana chip & vanilla rum ice cream. The yuzu sorbet (back right) was sprinkled with Pop Rocks!! What a surprise that was!
I can't wait to get back to New York City so I can eat at Sushi Samba again. I have never had a bad meal there, in fact, every meal I have ever had at Sushi Samba has been amazing. The sushi is always fresh, the seviche is always creative and bursting with flavor, and the cocktails are always great.
The next time you find yourself in New York, or Miami, Chicago, Tel Aviv or Las Vegas, make it a point to go to Sushi Samba!