The first SUSHISAMBA (@SUSHISAMBA) opened up in New York in 1999. Fast forward 15 years and SUSHISAMBA is now a chain with locations in major cities including Chicago, Las Vegas and London. During my trip to Miami, I was invited to check out their newest addition, located in Coral Gables.
Found inside the Westin hotel, this SUSHISAMBA is open every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It features a large bar, a dining room and sushi bar where you can catch the action.
If you’ve never heard of SUSHISAMBA before, their menu is a fusion of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisines. I’m always a little skeptical when it comes to Asian fusion so I wasn’t quite sure I’d enjoy the food here. If you’re looking for traditional sushi, you dertainly won’t find it here. But if you keep an open mind, you’ll be in for a great surprise!
The extensive menu consists of several sections: aperitivos, small plates, raw, rolls, large plates, wood oven, robata, Japanese wagyu and Nigiri & Sashmi. You get the idea. It’s a big menu. There’s something for everyone!
We started off with a few items from the “small plates” section of the menu. The first item to arrive was the Crispy Taquitos – served with spicy aji panca sauce and fresh lime ($6 each). These little flavour bombs got our taste buds dancing and the shell provided a nice crunch. After this first bite, all my worries about the whole fusion concept melted away. I couldn’t wait for what else was to come.
Up next was the Green Bean Tempura – with black truffle aioli ($8). Even though I felt they could’ve been a touch crispier, they were still ridiculously addictive. But I have to say, that black truffle aioli really stole the show. Really, really delicious!
Also from the “small plates” section of the menu was the Tuna Tataki – with white asparagus, fresh heart of palm, avocado, tatsoi, crispy garlic & citrus soy ($15). They were portioned out into one-biters and the combination of the melt-in-your-mouth tuna with the asparagus worked nicely. Overall, it was a solid dish but wasn’t quite as memorable as some of the other dishes we tried.
Since the menu has a section dedicated to ceviches, we knew we had to try one. Our server recommended the New Classic Ceviche – market fish and sweet potato confit ($15). Today’s version was made with cobia white fish. It was an enjoyable ceviche which was wonderfully seasoned. I particularly liked the addition of the bites of sweet potato confit.
Another section of SUSHISAMBA’s menu is dedicated to robata, items which are cooked over a traditional Japanese charcoal grill and served as Peruvian skewers. Our server told us that the Sea Bass Anticuchos – with miso & Peruvian corn ($16) is one of their most popular dishes. At one point, it was only served for dinner but they had so many people asking for it at lunch that they added it to their lunch menu. I completely understand the hype.
The perfectly cooked chunks of bass were wonderfully smooth and were brushed with just the right amount of miso glaze. I also loved the Peruvian corn which sat underneath the skewers. What makes Peruvian corn different is their enormous kernals. It definitely gives each bite a little bit more pop!
Another skewer we tried was the Ribeye Anticuchos – aji panca & Peruvian corn ($13). The meat was tender and the seasoning was spot on but after eating the sea bass, I don’t think any of the other robata items would be able to top it.
You can’t come to the SUSHISAMBA in Coral Gables without ordering the SAMBA Coral Gables Roll – steamed lobster, avocado, red jalapeno, spicy jalapeno rice cracker, sweet chili, key lime mayo & tobiko ($19), this location’s signature roll.
It’s definitely not a traditional roll by any means but it was damn tasty. It’s one of those party-in-your-mouth kinda dishes. But if I had one criticism, I felt the lobster was a little overpowered by all the other components of the roll, including the generous amount of sauce that topped it.
The other roll we ordered was the Sao Paulo – scallop, masago, red onion, tuna, salmon, shrimp, yellowtail, avocado, truffle, hacho miso soy& chive oil ($18) which is one of SUSHISAMBA’s signature rolls. It was another tasty roll with a bit of decadence from the truffle topping.
Like the rest of the menu, it’s clearly evident that SUSHISAMBA’s desserts are inspired by the fusion of various cuisines. You’ll find the likes of mochis, tropical tapioca and Peruvian doughnuts.
It was a little overwhelming since so many of the desserts sounded amazing but we finally decided on the SAMBA Split – dulce de leche ice cream, caramelized baby bananas, coconut flan, coconut mochi, caramel popcorn & fresh berries ($14) which had a bit of everything. It was like a grown-up ice cream split! I loved each and every component of the dish – they were all so fun, playful, and most importantly, delicious.
Just as we thought we were finished dinner, we were brought another dessert, the Yuzu Cheesecake – with a sugar sphere, graham cracker crumble, baked meringue, shiso ice cream, fresh strawberries & orange candy zest ($12). They definitely get points for presentation. The plate was beautifully presented and given how light and refreshing the dessert was, I felt it was the perfect way to end the meal.
Like I said, I’m always a little skeptical about Asian fusion restaurants but SUSHISAMBA far exceeded my expectations. There wasn’t a dish we didn’t enjoy – a memorable dinner from start to finish!
*This was a complimentary meal. The opinions in the post, as always, are my own.*