Brazilian Challenge Day 194: Sushi Samba

Sticking with the food & beverage theme, Day 194 of my plight to be more Brazilian, we had dinner at Sushi Samba.

Sushi is big in Sao Paulo. There is a traditional restaurant service called “rodizio” which you’ll find at nearly every sushi outlet in the city and is an all-you-can eat table service for a per person price. Awesomeness! There is a huge Japanese population in the city and I’ve even been told that Sao Paulo is second only behind Toyko for its quantity of Japanese (though I’m certain if the is a miss quote, one of you will let me know…).  So I was happy to partake in the popular Sao Paulo food for my challenge.

Though slightly outdated, the lounge look of Sushi Samba’s fun, funky decor pulls together the theme of its cuisine: Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian.

Of course, we all started the experience with caipirinhas. I went for the traditional and it was pretty good, what one might expect.

We got lucky with our menu selections because we had a knowledgeable server named Casey who also has good taste. I usually ask the server for recommendations when restaurant dining, and am often surprised as they stumbled about for an answer. But Casey knew his stuff. He started us out with two small plates, a Wagyu Gyoza with kabocha purée and Crispy Yellowtail Taquitos – both delicious.

When we were ready to move on to the rolls, he recommended the special of the day, entitled Zuke Sake, which involved big eye tuna, marinated salmon with tomato and cilantro, surprisingly delicious. He also suggested two Samba Rolls off the menu, the Unagi Tamago and the Celebration roll, both creatively delicious (the Celebration rolls was our favorite). We finished with one more selection from Casey, a small plate of Sweet Corn Kakiage, and a Samba Roll of our own selection, the Samba Rio Roll. The kakiage was delicious, however, Casey had given a lukewarm review of the Samba Rio, and he was right. Though aesthetically pleasing, it just didn’t have the punch of the other dishes.

Overall the atmosphere and food made for a good Brazilian (Japanese and Peruvian) experience. Sushi Samba is located near Wells and Grand Avenue. If you are in town and decide to go, definitely ask for Casey.

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18 Responses to Brazilian Challenge Day 194: Sushi Samba

  1. Karina says:

    I’ve been to a very good Japanese restaurant in Liberdade, Sushi Isao. It’s an ‘all you can eat’, not far from the subway (Linha Azul – Estação Liberdade). When you look at the building you’re not sure if it’s going to be a nice experience, but it is. We’ve been to the one located at the second floor. I highly recommend it. And I also recommend to get there hungry :).

    Here: http://www.sushiisao.com.br

  2. Geraldine says:

    Love Sushi samba! I’ve had it in NYC and Miami. Great experience everywhere.

  3. Stephanie says:

    All of you lucky folks who are visiting the U.S. right now and posting pics of sushi there are KILLING ME! Que saudades. Looks soooo good. I don’t know about Sao Paulo but sushi in Rio is pretty boring. Not complaining but I do miss the variety and creativity of U.S. version sushi.

    • Sao Paulo sushi is pretty darn good. Come visit!

    • anna says:

      I love japanese restaurants in brazil!!!
      try “sushi leblon” in rio

      • Stephanie says:

        I’ve been going to Sushi Leblon for almost 9 years. It’s one of the better ones, but it’s still pretty boring (and expensive!). At least you can sit at the sushi bar and the have some seasonal stuff, but I miss the crazy rolls and pacific fish you get in the states. It’s pretty simple here, which is good, but simple. What I miss most about the states is that you can “friend” a sushi chef, buy him drinks, etc, and he pays it back to you in great food and service. Here, it’s not allowed to do that. I’ve tried, at Sushi Leblon.

        • I didn’t know you could “friend” a sushi chef! Seriously!! All those years…
          Yes, Sushi Leblon has good quality fish, but not such a creative menu. I do love the U.S. version of rolls at the good places.

      • I do to. It’s rare you get bad quality fish. I’ve been to Sushi Leblon a number of times and it is good.

    • Sao Paulo is pretty good for the sushi rodizio. Do you have it in Rio? I can’t remember going to one there.

  4. Stephanie says:

    I just remembered, this restaurant Sushi Samba, which is located in several cities now, though I’ve never been, but I did read about Sushi Samba in an Anthony Bourdain book. He went to Brazil with the owners/chef of this restaurant to find authentic Brazilian elements to add to their menu several years back. Love the food stories. = )

  5. Samia says:

    I went to Sushi Samba once. A friend learned about it and decided it was a good place for a Brazilian (me) to visit. I liked it. Had a few caipirinhas too, but there are some rather weird food combinations there. I had something that was half churrasco/half sushi, don’t remember any of the names. The food was good overall, weird for my Brazilian palate, but good. I don’t know what exactly I was expecting the place, and the food, to be like, only that it was different from what I expected.

    • That’s funny. Well, they combine Brazilian, Peruvian and Japanese cuisine. In Brazil, you wouldn’t see that too often it. I usually only experience straight Brazilian or straight Japanese cuisine, so I can imagine it would be strange.

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