Sushi Samba, Miami Beach
When I was younger, I was nothing short of obsessed with Sushi Samba. I can’t remember if I was in fourth or fifth grade when my friends Gabby and Sophia had their birthday dinner at the Sushi Samba in NYC. As a sushi-loving kid, it was heaven. Even that young, I realized how unique it was to have a sushi restaurant with such a varied and delicious menu that was this Brazilian-Peruvian-Japanese fusion place. And the colors, the atmosphere, not to mention the incredible food- and the company, my friends, made this night one of the best of my childhood (really sad to think I barely remember it now).
I once had dreams of hitting all the Sushi Sambas in the world- it’s not a chain, but they did have a few restaurants in different places. 2 in NYC, a restaurant in Miami, another in Las Vegas, one in Chicago, one in the Bahamas, and one in London (I’ve recently found out that Chicago and the Bahamas locations have closed, but they’re opening one in Amsterdam and another one in London!). After I went vegan (and as I’ve mentioned before, sushi was the hardest and last thing I decided to remove from my diet and I’m so happy now that I did), I figured I could go back and get a vegetable roll or something. Little did I know, ALL Sushi Samba branches have vegan menus, though I’m hard pressed to say that any are as impressive as Miami!
When I visited family in Delray Beach in Florida, I looked up and realized Miami wasn’t the closest thing in the world to Delray. Still, I knew I had to go. I had went to that Sushi Samba back in 2010, when I was a freshman in high school, and seven years later I was finally going back! It’s funny though, I remember loving it because it was Sushi Samba but honestly not being too impressed with the food (definitely thinking NYC was better) back when I ate fish. This time though, I was happier than you could imagine.
It’s weird though, I can’t remember everything that I got, and don’t know why I didn’t take a picture (good thing I’m going back), but the Eggplant Anticuchos were probably one of the most amazing dishes I’ve ever had (served with mustard miso and Peruvian corn). What I cannot forget is how amazing the chef was and how willing to work with me he was to take out oil from everything that could possibly be made without it. I think there is a chance this is the way it is at most fancier-chef restaurants (as Sushi Samba is not a chain, there isn’t a regular menu and vegan menu that exists as the same for all locations; instead, each location’s chef creates their own). In this case, Chef Cesar Vega was making everything fresh and skilled enough to know you don’t need oil in anything (vs. somewhere like Veggie Grill that doesn’t hire fancy chefs, but hires cooks who get recipes they are just told to batch make and they don’t know how to leave out oil).
I don’t know why I didn’t take a picture of my delicious food, but I am going back there so I will definitely take a picture of everything I get!
I’ve heard pretty amazing things about vegan Miami, but when I’m in Florida it’s mostly family time. Since Miami isn’t close, I never really have a chance to do too much there, but in the future (likely far, far in the future) I will be able to go there and really check out the vegan scene everyone keeps talking about!