We came here on a bright sunny afternoon, and the second we walked out on the rooftop, we were transported onto a small tropical island with fresh coconut and all kinds of fruity cocktails found near the Caribbean Ocean.
We had an interview with chef who works as a main chef at Sushi Samba, but is also a foodie. As a seafood lover, her favorite dish is called Moqueca Mista, which is made of shrimp, squid and sea bass with coconut milk, dende oil and chimichurri rice. It’s traditionally from Brazil. They add dende oil with tomato, onion and salt until it gets caramelized with a smoky flavor. Then they add crab, shrimp and lobster with coconut milk to create the unique flavor. Since the restaurant is a marriage of Brue, Brazil and Japanese cuisine, they have a lot special cultures that can be added to the cuisines, which makes it “samba style”. We also tried the chef’s sushi plate, some of which uses fried rice. According to her, this special kind of rice is used a lot in Brue and Brazil, that’s why they want to combine it into Japanese style cuisine and make it more flavorful. To come up with those creative ideas, chef was first surprised by this combination, but after a lot of reading and research, she finds that there is a huge Japanese culture in Brazil and a huge Brazil culture in Japan. There really are a lot of bonds between these different countries! Compared with other traditional Japanese or French restaurants, which have limited ingredients and ways to cook, at Sushi Samba there seems to be no limit to the adventure of cooking. But when it comes to the balance of the flavors of three different cooking styles, it always takes research and technique. For example, coconut milk works very well with dende oil, because coconut milk has a very creamy nutty flavor while the oil is very flavorful and it doesn’t overpower the coconut milk. When it comes to Japanese and Brazilian, you have to always be aware of where the balance is so they won’t overpower each other. “We want to make our dishes conceptual, but we don’t want to make conceptual dishes just because,” Chef said. Sushi Samba changes their menu every season. And every day they have two special dishes which enables them to play with the local flavor as well as items on the market. Their special is always based on local finds with an added twist: an added ingredient from Brue or Brazil. They may use scallops, tropical mango, or add salmon or some avocado together, so it first looks like Japanese, but you can also feel a little Spanish in there. The key is that they don’t try to overpower any dish but slowly integrate and combine the flavors. We were surprised by the amount of new ideas for dishes they come up with. told me that in fact, they have seven restaurants in New York, with each main chef of the restaurant having something different to offer, which makes their culture even more colorful.
There is a huge selection of drinks on the menu—it’s almost like a book! They have cocktails, wines and sake, but the one that I want to recommend most is the cocktail called “SHISO FINE”, which is tall and refreshing. This long drink is herbaceous and citrusy, made with vodka infused with shiso leaves, crème de peche and homemade Thai basil syrup. Lengthened with apple and lime and served long, over crushed ice with a bleed of crème de cassis.
Playful and fun is the key point of Sushi Samba’s ambience. When people come here, they want to provide them with a most enjoyable and interesting experience.
Go and enjoy a slice of a caramel summer!