Where Sushi Just Sambas Into Your Mouth
Sushisamba holds a place dear in my heart mostly because it reminds me of Stephen Starr’s delicious asian fusion hub Pod on UPenn’s campus in Philadelphia. The same golden glow permeates their modern dining rooms; throbbing latin electronica pulses as you eat your dressed up South American-Japanese fusion dishes; the crowd is well-dressed and indulging in the see-and-be-seen vibe.
Unfortunately, Sushi Samba seems to have drifted from hotspot to tourist haven, ushering the weekend suburban crowd and international set through its doors in droves. However, the upbeat scene continues to warm my heart.
The food is a more flamboyant take on Nobu Matsuhisa’s South American-Japanese fusion concept. Where Nobu is subdued, Sushi Samba is colorful, in-your-face, and elaborate. Sushi Samba focuses more aggressively on the South American side of the mash-up, serving food in candy-colored dishes, mixing up a mean mojito, and even offering a churrasco. I adore their Samba rolls – complicated and innovative sushi rolls served with tantalizing dips. The Green Envy roll, with salmon, tuna, and asparagus in a wasabi pea crust, is particularly good. Another highlight? The coconut rice. It is sticky, sweet, and savory all in one.
The service at Sushi Samba is fairly hit-or-miss though. If the server thinks you’re not a big spender (i.e. not ordering cocktails), he or she might focus on other potentially more lucrative tables. However, in no case is the service flat-out terrible.
Sushi Samba is a great place to go with a large group, despite its high prices, because it can not only accommodate the large groups but it is also used to accommodating them well. The fun and feisty atmosphere would get birthday parties, reunions, post-work cocktails, and bachelorette parties ready and rarin’ to go. Additionally, the large outdoor deck on the second level is ideal for corporate events.