"A South Beach Experience"
Written by South Beach Annie
Sushi Samba, as the name implies, is a fusion of Brazilian and Japanese cuisine. The décor is a lovely orange, green, and natural wood design reflective of the harmonious use of space from Japan, the joy of life from Brazil, and the trendiness of South Beach. As you walk in, the ambiance is filled with the sounds of Samba music and you will be welcomed in by the friendly, and quite gorgeous, we may add, host ready to seat you immediately.
I couldn’t refuse the waiter’s offer of the best cocktail of the house, Nina Fresa, composed of Svedka Vodka, muddled strawberry, orange liqueur, lime, and guava. However, you must try a Sambatini (the monthly inspiration) and enjoy the unparalleled creation. Beware of all the enticing choices and being seduced by your server to try them all! Edame is placed on the table for nibbling while you enjoy your cocktails and decide what to eat. My companion asked for a Tropicalia containing Pearl Coco Vodka, amaretto, muddled raspberries, and coconut rum. Yes, it is as good as it sounds!
We started our culinary delights with Kobe beef carpaccio with shitake mushrooms, cream garlic, panzu jelly, and truffle cream. It was followed by a sea bass with miso marinade with Peruvian corn, then a pork goyza (which I absolutely adore) and a Mokeka-seafood combo with dende (palm) oil. It was all placed in a Caja (bowl stack), adorned with a design by Miami-based Brazilian artist, Romero Britto, accompanied by a spicy aioli and black truffle oil for dipping.
You may also enjoy an array of sushi delights created in style before your eyes in a magnificent lit bar with various chefs entertaining your every request. Make sure you ask about the fresh catch, always a favorite. It is almost sinful to have anything traditional here; so, please, have the creation of the day! On the menu, you will find surprising twists like samba dromo roll maine lobster, mango, tomato, chive, crispy rice, soy paper, peanut curry, and bobo Brazil seared kobe beef. Top your meal off with a luscious dessert. I enjoyed a strawberry banana milkshake, brownies, and vanilla ice cream. My guest had mochi ice cream, gummi bears, and berries. Sound too fattening? The selections are almost bite-sized, so you don’t worry about having too much.
Sushi Samba is cool enough as it is; however, what makes it exceptional is the depth it has added to the dining experience. There is a real awareness in this business towards both nutrition and community. “During the day, we felt offering options that appealed to families would bring in a group that is underserved,” Sushi Samba co- owner Danielle Billera says. “There are so few places to go to that appeal to adults and at the same time they offer healthful alternatives for children.” Britto is collaborating with Sushi Samba to produce the brightly decorated Britto Bento boxes, placemats, and kids chopsticks that are available with the kids’ meals. He also designed the children’s menu in miniature size. For each Britto Bento box sold, Sushi Samba will donate 5 percent of the proceeds to the Britto Foundation, which funds art, cultural, and literacy programs for underprivileged youth in Brazil.
After dinner you can stay to watch the Sushi Samba transformation into a club ambiance with a DJ spinnin’ and the crowd rockin’. The dresses get shorter and trendier as the clientele becomes more European and the otherwise docile restaurant turns into a bar scene. There was great trepidation in the beginning because “We’re so much about flash and volume and sex appeal, some of the management just thought it wouldn’t work,” Public Relations Manager Cisowska says. “Now managers are saying, ‘Hey, this was a great idea.’” Go see for yourself. We’re sure you’ll agree.-DUO