Japanese + Brazilian + Peruvian cuisine =
Originally uploaded by lools.
It's Restaurant Week 2005 in Manhattan which means that you can eat fancy three course lunches and dinners at participating restaurants for a fraction of the usual price. This is a great way to sample the gourmet cuisine in restaurants that are otherwise somewhat intimidating.
At lunch yesterday, my colleague suggested we sample the fare at SushiSamba located at Park Avenue and 19th. As you enter through the glass door, which is a mosaic of colored glass rectangles, you immediately feel the wonderfully energetic vibe of this exotic fusion restaurant. The bright orange walls are inviting and cheerful. The central sushi bar and the highly skillful art of the sushi chefs are a source of constant fascination for diners seated at the sushi bar and the tables in the front room.
We were fortunate to be seated at the newly opened Sugarcane Lounge, the back dining area that turns into a trendy lounge at night. You feel like you're inside a tunnel with the ceilings all light up in bright colours. The bar has LCD screens of various sizes embedded in the wall all flashing various Japanese visuals. A red lightbox illuminates a line drawing of Che Guevara. The music varies between samba, meringue and Latin trance from Brazil and Peru. The bar is fully stocked with a great range of sakes as well as all the other regular spirits. Sugarcane lounge offers an exotic ambience which I'm sure is happening at night.
My miso soup with tofu and cilantro turned out to be the most flavourful miso soup I've ever tasted. It lacked the usual fishy flavours that I'd rather avoid but was instead full of different tangy and lemony notes that really pleased my palate. And the tofu pieces were tender and delicious. For the main course I ordered a plate of vegetarian sushi rolls. I was served a combination of avocado and cucumber rolls on a transparent, square glass plate with the freshest wasabi and ginger. The cucumber roll was as crisp and fresh as I wanted and the avocado roll just melted in my mouth. I thoroughly relished the freshness of the sushi rolls. Dessert was green tea given that I'm watching my waistline after indulging in Bombay. What a wonderful welcome back to Manhattan luncheon!
245 Park Ave S
New York, NY
Cross Street: 19th St
Phone: (212) 475-9377