My cousin told us about Sushi Samba last time, a restaurant serving food inspired by Brazilian-Japanese fusions. Apparently we have something like this in London, though I’d never heard of it before and apparently the combination of flavours isn’t particularly common since many Japanese people moved to Brazil. We went along to the one located in Greenwich Village, a brightly lit room with a sushi bar located in the centre, radiating out to the tables lined up against the wall.
We sat at a table almost right next to the bar, a good vantage point for looking out at the rest of the restaurant. It wasn’t particularly busy for a weekday, and apparently they have a rooftop open in the summer, something that’s both ideal and no doubt completely packed out on warm summer weekends.
I started with two appetisers, unable to resist the temptation of the tempura rock shrimp. My last memory of rock shrimp was at Nobu, and at Morimoto, both served tempura-style, then covered in a sweet, slightly tangy and slightly spicy chilli sauce and since rock shrimp seem to only be farmed off the coast of Maine, so I thought that while I was in the states, I should enjoy it while I can. When it arrived, presentation was superb, and although the tempura batter more of a light flouring than it was a light batter, it still let the rock shrimp texture and flavour come through.
I also tried the lobster ceviche at the waitress’ recommendation and because I know that the market price for lobster is particularly reasonable at the moment with decreased demand and the normal farming levels. When it arrived, it almost looked like a whole lobster, with plenty of meat and fairly well dissected already that meant extracting all the flesh with chopsticks wasn’t too difficult. The sauce covering was light and spicy, giving enough heat and tanginess to highlight the sweet sublime flesh. Both dishes were pretty decent serves, particularly considering these were only appetisers, and I almost regretted ordering the two sushi rolls for the entree.
Fortunately I didn’t regret ordering the sushi rolls, the first a Samba 7 roll (crispy lobster, scallion, cucumber, celery, jalapeño with wasabi-chimichurri dipping sauce) and then the daily special roll (kobe beef plus several other ingredients). Both rolls provided some interesting contrast with a bite of the Samba 7 bringing texture, crunch and undertones of heat through the wasabi-chimichurri dipping sauce, with the daily special roll bringing some smokiness and delicately strong flavours from the kobe beef.
Out of the many more fancy restaurants I’d visited on this trip to New York, I think that Sushi Samba definitely served the best food, delighting in flavour, presentation and general value. It’s got great atmosphere and the service was fairly good throughout the night. The restrooms are a little bit confusing, almost maze-like downstairs, and yes, unfortunately, they also had a person helping you out with soap and towels.
Name: Sushi Samba
Located at: Various location. We went to 87 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10014
The Good: Interesting flavour combinations, quality presentation and great tasting food.
The Not So Good: A small reception might leave some of your party waiting in the cold. Confusing restrooms.