180 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables
A three-course Miami Spice lunch might sound daunting, especially if you’re heading back to an afternoon full of work. But when I met up with a couple girlfriends at Coral Gables’ SUSHISAMBA for a mid-week Ladies Lunch last week, we discovered the menu, while teeming with delectable options, offered dishes that were somewhat light and packed with insatiable flavors.
SUSHISAMBA not only dishes out a fusion of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian fare, but its light and airy ambiance — including covered patio seating — served as a relaxing reprieve from the workweek rush. At the start of the meal we encountered a couple of service speed bumps: we had to flag down our server to put in our order, and then the kitchen mixed up one of our appetizers. But those missteps were quickly resolved and wholly redeemed when the restaurant manager presented an extra appetizer on the house. (It happened to be our favorite dish of the day, but I’ll get to that in a bit.)
My dining partners opted to begin their meal with tsukune, plump Japanese chicken meatballs doused in a tangy tare sauce. Then we all fell in love with my robata grilled hass avocado, which was sprinkled with shichimi torgarashi and drizzled with tofu crema. One person even described it “among the best things I’ve ever eaten.” (We scored big with that complimentary mix-up!)
We unanimously ordered the chef’s sushi plate for our entrée: an assortment of nigiri served with the Viva Samba roll (shrimp, avocado, asparagus, mango, salmon, Fresno pepper, micro cilantro, tempura flake). We all agreed the sushi was super fresh and couldn’t get enough of the spicy honey truffle sauce atop the roll.
To spice things up a bit more, we each ordered a different dessert: one chocolate banana cake, one mochi (soft Japanese ice cream-filled rice cake), and one order of the grilled robata peaches. I’ll admit that it was my first time with mochi, and I wasn’t a fan of the fondant-esque texture and longed for more flavor and sweetness from the dessert. The peaches were considered forgettable, but with one bite of the chocolate banana cake, what with its vanilla rum ice cream and maple butter drizzle, two of us suffered from a bad case of order envy.
Miami Spice lasts until September 30 — for more info and to view menus go here.