Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sushi, South American Style at SushiSamba in Las Vegas

The 1 Ounce Roll (with Kobe Beef, Farofa Dust, Edible Gold)
The 1 Ounce Roll Costs $40
The Amazonian (A Totally Vegetarian Treat)
The Yamato Combines Tuna with Foie Gras
Osetra Caviar Sits on Top of the Yamato

Back to SushiSamba, Las Vegas

At SushiSamba.
Is addicting.

Perhaps it’s because of my weak will, my pathological proclivity for consuming all that tastes, smells, and looks good, that drew me back to its only west coast location, strolling past the glitzy Shoppes at the Palazzo and toward the ornate entrance of this colorfully cultural dining establishment that blends Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisines.

It’s a feast for the senses in here, an oasis in the desert that offers a respite from the rush of Las Vegas Boulevard out there; it’s indulgent, delicious, and the service is impeccable…what more could I ask for?

Except there is always a surprise here at SushiSamba, some menu update or a chef’s special, such as the week-old inception of the “1 Ounce Roll,” an eight-piece creation that costs $40 but comes with an ounce of seared Kobe beef on atop a roll with avocado and red onions.

The little orbs speckled with real gold, you learn, are an imitation roe made of some jelly-like substance, but this is okay, because it is merely there to decorate the Kobe beef which, as its juicy rich flavor bursts in your mouth, you know is real. You learn of farofa dust, a finely ground version of that popular South American meat seasoning, which enhances this roll while offering a wild variant for the all-too-common tempura flakes, which has a similar look and color. There are charred green strands that make you inquire—Oh, well I would’ve never thought of toasting shiso!—and red tendrils of dried chili that contribute to this bizarre and boldly imaginative statement of a dish. And then, my favorite: pour on the truffle oil…and more of it, please! I ask for an extra saucer of more, more, more white truffle oil, for the ultimate gastronomic delight.

Later that evening, with an almost insatiable desire to rhapsodize about this restaurant, I returned to explore other wonders I had not yet tried on the menu—such as the very South American-sounding Amazonia. Cloaked in leafy dark green Swiss chard, this roll turns out to be a vegetarian one all the way, with two kinds of pickled radishes, Portobello mushrooms, avocado and cucumber. The “wasabi-onion soy” sauce is not overpowering; it’s salty-sweet, with a hint of wasabi flavor.

The gilded flakes of edible gold make their shiny appearance again in the Yamato, a $19 three-piece ensemble that pairs tuna with unctuous foie gras on sushi rice and shiso leaf. A cherry soy reduction sends you swooning as you bite into the sour-sweet notes (there’s just enough Osetra caviar on top of each piece, which provide a salty contrast).

My waiter noted (as I swooned) that even he didn’t like foie gras before trying this dish. And now I, too, am a believer.

Outside the entrance, the hustle and bustle from the adjacent casino and shops can be heard, as the masses feed their own addictions.

SushiSamba Strip
The Palazzo
3327 Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas