Samba Sinks Competition With "Battleship" Sushi & New Happy Hour

Gunkan Sushi 2.jpg
Lesley Elliott
Sushi Samba's new "battleship" sushi with foie gras, house-cured salmon, fresh scallops and Wagyu beef.
We previously tweeted with Executive Chef Michael Bloise of Sushi Samba Dromo about his departure from American Noodle Bar, but when we sat down with him to try out Samba's newest menu items, called Gunkan sushi (which translates to "battleship" in Japanese), we just had to ask what it was like to be back at a big restaurant on the beach after proclaiming himself a MiMo devotee.

He says that "he wasn't planning on being back on the beach, but Lincoln Road is where the action is." Apparently, he hasn't worked in a "kitchen of this magnitude before." In terms of output, he cites about 1,000 covers on an average Saturday night. They produce everything from scratch, but he does note that it is easier to procure special items when working for such a large organization. Oh, and he's never done Japanese before. Biggest experiment failure to date? Seaweed marshmallows. Although we usually cheer the combo of salty and sweet, we can see that not working out so well.

So, it turns out that Gunkan sushi is pretty new to the world of Japanese cuisine, Executive Sushi Chef Shoyo Iida told us that it's only been around for about 60 years, whereas classic nigiri has been around for 250 years. Battleship style sushi has a deep cup, perfect for filling with both cooked and raw goodies. A chunk of seared foie gras ($12) has a thin slice of Japanese nashi pear and a light painting of eel sauce, and a salmon version ($10) is cured in sweet soy for 24 hours, chopped up and stuffed with ikura. Marinated in garlic, ginger and soy, a thin slice of Wagyu beef ($11) gets crunchy potato sticks and a creamy quail egg, while a spicy scallop and tobiko mix ($10) is topped with a skinny slice of jalapeno (each is two per order and it would be impossible to choose a favorite).

And in case it's not on your radar, the newest incarnation of "SAMBAHOUR" approaches happy hour on a global scale, with a rotating monthly program focusing on a particular country's cuisine influence. October's menu takes you on a trip to Peru, with small plates and cocktails costing $6 each. A bay scallop ceviche is packed with sweet potato and Peruvian corn, the "Inca Roll" has panko-crusted shrimp, cashews and aji panca (that's Peruvian red pepper), which also tops the fried crispy oysters.

And speaking of oysters, east and west coast imports are priced at only a dollar; whatever is the freshest is what they'll have on hand -- from Kumamoto's to Malpeques. Wash it all down with a Peruvian pilsner with freshly squeezed lime juice, or a classic pisco sour made the traditional way with egg whites and bitters.

Chef Bloise says it gives him the opportunity to try out new things that may, or may not, make it to the menu, which they change up about 2-3 times per year. Next month features the flavors of Japan, and in case you missed last month's Brazilian based offerings, it was so popular they are considering a repeat.

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Location Info

Sushi Samba

600 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, FL

Category: Restaurant

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