With fusion restaurants emerging everywhere, it's no surprise we can delight in Latin-Asian fare without leaving the city. At first thought, combining plates from Japan, Brazil and Peru may sound a bit like walking through a mall food court and picking up a side of Panda House for your Taco Bell, but the textures and flavors at SushiSamba are bound to peak your curiosity and treat your taste buds.
The impressive menu of small plates feature items like the seasonal field green salad, with ginger-white soy dressing, shaved carrot, daikon and crispy taro, and the empanada, with shiitake mushrooms, manchego and cabrales cheeses and walnut-corn salsa. Sushi rolls include El Topo, which mixes salmon, jalapeno, melted mozzarella and crispy onion, and the Pacific with king crab, avocado, Asian pear and wasabi-avocado crema. If you want something a bit more filling, opt for the miso-marinated Chilean sea bass or the organic chicken teriyaki off the entree menu.
Though bright, the decor doesn't overwhelm with red and yellow walls and ornate lighting hovering above. A haven for chic Chicagoans, it's a perfect place to people watch. And since you'll be getting ogled, too, be sure to look good with a drink in hand as you wait for a table. Whether you end up sitting outside on the rooftop lounge or at one of the raised dining areas indoors, order a mojito or one of SushiSamba's many signature drinks like the Lemon Samurai (Stoli Citros vodka, muddled lemon, sugar, apple liqueur, peach and guava juices).
Suprisingly, SushiSamba also features a Sunday brunch, filled with items like Asian pear pancakes, assorted sandwiches and churros with caramel sauce. Items can be ordered a la carte, or you can pay $15 per person ($8 for kids) and pick four items served family-style.
Less shocking is that it hosts Favela Wednesdays, an evening of live Brazilian music from the five-piece SARGASSO Band beginning at 8 p.m.
Reviewed By: Janis Mabalay