November 03, 2014

SushiSamba Coral Gables


SushiSamba, known for offering a unique fusion of Japanese, Brazilian, and Peruvian cuisine, is a surprising option when it comes to choosing a destination for brunch. Although SushiSamba has a couple of locations spread throughout the city, the addition of a weekend brunch menu has only been a recent occurrence for the Coral Gables location. Placed inside the Westin Colonnade Hotel, the interior of the restaurant is spacious and pleasing to the eye. The brand colors of orange and white overtake the scenery in a gentle and attractive way, with wood tables making for a comforting setting that helps you settle in. Even though SushiSamba is located off of the Mile, it is unpretentious, making for a good choice to stop for a Sunday brunch.

The new brunch menu includes your choice of a three course prix-fixe meal ($30.00) or a la carte. The prix-fixe meal is a good value, especially when taking into account that the prixe-fixe meal includes a sushi roll course. Out of the menu options that I sampled, I left most impressed with the Short Rib Eggs Benedict and the Churrasco Sandwich. The Short Rib Eggs Benedict gets the idea of the popular brunch dish and gives it a fusion twist by completely getting rid of the English muffin and instead replacing it with tender and succulent honey-soy braised short rib. The hearty portion was not shy on the seasoning, making for one of the most satisfying pieces of braised meat I’ve had in a while. The standard hollandaise is substituted with a Peruvian inspired sauce that includes aji Amarillo, bringing a mellow spiciness that offsets the richness of the indulgent ingredients.

As excellent as the Eggs Benedict were, the Churrasco Sandwich blew me away. The churrasco was cooked perfectly medium and sliced properly. Topped with roasted shiitake and an organic egg, biting into the sandwich created an umami-bomb that overwhelmed the palate with rich and unctuous flavors. The ingredient that took the sandwich over the top was the black truffle aioli, as it brought a sense of earthiness and richness that complimented the sandwich perfectly. For all you truffle oil addicts out there, this one is for you.

The next course allows you to pick half of a sushi roll, which is served alongside nigiri of Salmon, yellowtail, and Tuna. All the sushi rolls are inventive and use fresh ingredients, which helps showcase the skill of the sushi chefs in the kitchen. My favorite roll was the Ezo, containing soy-marinated salmon, asparagus, sesame, tempura flake, wasabi mayo, soy paper. The soy marinated salmon was salty and rich, which was a foil for the earthy and toasted flavor the asparagus and sesame. The wasabi mayo, which was served on the side, was a great way to add moisture to the already appetizing roll.

Brunch ends with varying flavors of mochi. During my visit, the available mochi was pumpkin and pistachio flavored. Imported from Hawaii, the mochi was easily the best iteration of the dessert I’ve had in Miami. The great food, along with the stellar attention given by the staff, made for a wonderful brunch. I would not hesitate to recommend SushiSamba for brunch when in the Gables.

 SushiSamba Coral Gables

180 Aragon Avenue in The Westin Colonnade Hotel 
Coral Gables, FL 33134

By food blogger, Santiago Cardona

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