Sushi Samba


Since restaurant week in NYC has apparently become restaurant month, I decided to pop into Sushi Samba for lunch as it was just a few steps from my workplace.  It is well known in Las Vegas for attracting all the stars of Entourage for its grand opening.  Too bad when I stopped in for lunch here, there were no famous stars, or perhaps I just didn’t recognize who they were.  But the entire restaurant was pretty empty; I suppose Monday’s are the worst for restaurants.  Nevertheless, the atmosphere was very nice and chic, with the sushi bar in the middle and Japanese samba-esque music playing ambiently in the background.  There was a back room that looked like it may be an opium den where I did not venture, instead I opted for the bar, where I unfortunately could not see the sushi chef performing his art because the glass was covered with condensation.  Still, I eagerly awaited my first taste of Japanese-Brazilian-Peruvian fusion sushi.  I had heard nothing but good things.

My meal started with the Yellowtail Tiradito, which was  four pieces of very fresh tasting yellowtail in a jalapeno and lemongrass sauce.  Exceptional.  I would love to have eaten an entire mountain of this stuff.  I attribute the flavor choices for the sauce to the South American influence, but the flavors just intertwined with the thinly sliced fish so perfectly that it danced upon my tongue with beautiful subtlety.

This made me anticipate the Samba Sushi Plate that much more.  This plate came with the typical tuna, red snapper, salmon, and yellowtail.  I watched carefully to see who prepared it behind the sushi bar.  It was clear that one of the two was a sushi chef in training.  Thankfully, my meal was prepared by the pro, or at least the one that was more pro of the two.  And it really showed once I got past the four everyday sushi pieces to the peruvian shrimp roll.  Soft rice on the outside, crunchy shrimp on the inside, a dabble of subtle yellow sauce on top (I think peruvian corn sauce?), and a simple piece of cilantro on top.  This roll pleased me greatly.  It appears that all those good things I hear about Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine were indeed true, at least from my point of view.  It took no time for me to clean up this plate, but I did my best to hold back and savor the delicious taste.

I finished off the meal with the Sorvete Trio, which was really just three flavors of sorbet.  I was not pleased to find that my pisco, shiso, pineapple sorbet had become a strawberry, mango, pineapple sorbet.  Typical fruity sorbet, good tasting but not what I wanted or expected.  They had already shorted me by not offering the unlimited samba iced tea which lunch was supposed to come with.  I didn’t speak about it, but then again, I don’t believe that it should be necessary for me to do so.

The place is indeed slightly pricey, but the sushi innovations here are quite delectable, and I liked it quite a lot.  Whether or not I revisit may depend on the service.  I don’t like not being offered my complimentary iced tea, and I don’t like being uninformed  about significant changes in my order, such as the sorbet flavors.  Poor performance by the server, and she was even so eager to tell me her name too.  But she was clearly an amateur, I suppose I will refrain from publicly denouncing her by name here.


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