Kusho

Paris’ Le Fooding returned this year to MoMA PS1 for a face off between San Fran & NYC. We got tickets to Friday night’s ‘Le Grand Yummy.’ Full roster here. Missed out on Laurence Jossel’s (Nopa) wood-grilled pork ribeye (smelled ridiculously good though). But, we did get to taste James Syhabout’s (Commis) !delicious! scallops with smoked stone fruit emulsion and licorice herbs. Even with the insane lines – there was a great vibe.

Every recipe begins with a single ingredient. It’s through the coming together of each ingredient, that we find a whole.   We’re really excited to present ingredient, a blog about discovering, tasting, making and re-making. It’s our way of exploring the ‘building blocks’ of our palate – and our concept’s palette: the culture and flavor of Japan, Brazil and Peru. After 12 incredible years in the industry, this is our time to introduce a fresh taste. Here, you’re not going to find any corporate jargon or sugar-coating. That means when we’re receiving our morning fish orders, creating a new dish, eating some awesome NYC street food, and buying heirloom tomatoes at the farmer’s market – you’ll be right there with us. Of course, that also means you’ll be subjected to our recipe mishaps, break-dancing sushi chefs and daily shenanigans. These are all the ingredients that bring SUSHISAMBA together.   Every taste has a history – and each taste tell its own story. Consider this our word of mouth.   – the  SUSHISAMBA culinary team

Mere and I attended the 17th Annual New York Mutual Trading Japanese Food and Restaurant Show at the Met Pavilion. This year’s theme was “Innovative Japanese Cuisine: Delicious Cuisine with a Healthy Impact.” Watched a knife presention by Tsukiji Masamoto – one of Japan’s most well-known knife masters. We’re on the search for the perfect cups for tea so spent a good amount of time in the dishware section.

Today we joined our photographer friend Alan Batt, aka ‘Battman’ to celebrate the launch of his two beautiful, new books ‘Pasta’ and ‘Pudding.’ Dan and I each contributed a pasta recipe. Proceeds from the books sold during The Great Gathering of Chefs benefited Action Against Hunger, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the search to end world hunger.

Myrciaria Dubia is the nerd term. It’s better known as camu camu and we’re trying to hunt it down through our vendor in Brazil. Click this link for the full ‘wiki’ version. read & eat.

yen to dollar

When Timon and I visited Mistura 2010 in Peru last month we were really interested in arapaima (paiche). It’s one of the oldest and largest freshwater fishes in the world (they average around 7 feet). Unfortunately, their popularity for local consumption has wiped out a lot of the population and they are now listed on CITES as a threatened species. But the good news is that there’s been a lot of recent effort invested into understanding this species – and growing their populations through farming. This will not only help to replenish the Amazon – but it will give us all the chance to experience the taste and delicacy of paiche. One of our vendors, CleanFish will be sending samples soon. Stay tuned… Photo: A Peruvian fisherman carries a massive South American paiche to a market in Iquitos, Peru.                 Taken by Alex Webb/Magnum Photos (1993). We found it at http://news.bbc.co.uk. Next time we’ll take a picture of Mere carrying one.

ScallopCrudo1Ingredient

On Friday, Koji represented our team at Chef Morimoto’s ‘Sushi and Karaoke Soiree’ as part of New York’s Wine and Food Festival. He served Scallop Crudo with crisp green apples, white truffle oil and black truffle shavings – and – Tuna Seviche with serrano and coconut. We were all pretty bummed that he refused the mic when the karaoke kicked off. His Jay Z remake would have been sweet. Here’s a shot of Morimoto and a Tunasaurus…. And the live eels that were next to our table… When the water warmed up one of those guys got fiesty and leaped out of the bowl and onto the floor. Nothing like a little lively commotion.

Dan reports from rio: Monday night robata. 41 items on pick up at once. Slow pokes need not apply….

Today, we received some beautiful Lantern Scallops from Samanco Bay, Peru through our friends at CleanFish. Maybe it was this weekend’s incredible sunshine, but I was feeling nostalgic for summer – and inspired. The result: Lantern Bay Scallops shiro shoyu, white grape, french radish, dill, truffle oil, sal de guérande

some evening inspiration

before: featuring Dan; filming by Eric after:

This week I made a quick trip out to SUSHISAMBA strip in Las Vegas to regroup with the team and now Mere and I are heading up to Napa for the ‘Worlds of Flavor’ – the 13th annual conference on Japanese cuisine presented by the Culinary Institute of America. The program is three days full of seminars, cooking demonstrations and kitchen workshops from some amazing talent – 60 chefs and industry experts. It’s one of the largest professional conferences ever held that is dedicated to the flavor and food culture of Japan. We’re excited because not only will we have the chance to discover some new ingredients and techniques to bring to the menu – but we’ll meet some new friends. Here you can find more details on the conference:

A look inside the beautiful kitchens at the CIA’s Greystone campus. We did a walk through for lunch – some fresh stir-fried rice and tempura. Our Kitchen Workshops will be held in here tomorrow…

Thomas Keller presented alongside Yoshihiro Murata and Takashi Yagihashi in a seminar called “Leveraging Flavor in the Japanese and American Kitchen: Umami, Dashi and Seasonal Produce.” Even early in the conference we’ve seen the importance of umami in Japanese cuisine – one of the five flavor profiles (salty, sweet, bitter, sour, umami). It’s that layer or persistent flavor that we find in dashi, konbu, miso and many other dried or fermented Japanese ingredients. It’s what makes our mouths water. In addition to his explanation of balance in these flavor profiles, Keller also noted the Western use of of Japanese tradition in bringing together a total culinary ‘experience.’ American seasonal ‘tasting menus’ – like at Keller’s French Laundry take from the concept of kaiseki – a tradition that originated in Kyoto in the 16th century. As noted by Linda Furiya in the San Francisco Gate, “Today, it is considered an art form that observes the harmony between food and nature, and takes the diner on an odyssey of flavors, textures and colors.”* With this approach in mind, Keller acknowledged, “The more we have of something, the less we enjoy it.” I couldn’t agree more. *Additional information on kaiseki from The Art of Kaiseki by Linda Furiya

Meanwhile, down at SUSHISAMBA dromo in Miami, Juliana was working an amazing omakase addition: Pork Feet stuffed with linguiça, garlic and parsley and served with fingerling potatoes, apple purée, peanut vinaigrette, turnips and bacon demi. Here are some photos of her process… It’s a lot of work but the proof of the labor is in the flavor. All you Miamians better take advantage!

Mere and I parted ways again to sit in on separate lectures. Mine, “Morimoto: Creating Signature Flavors for American Menus,” was presented by Masaharu Morimoto and moderated by TK TK Chandra Ram. Here, Morimoto prepared whole miso-marinated suckling pig and melon tempura. In almost all of my encounters with Morimoto he’s been quite the comedian… It was nice a nice way to change things up for the audience – but I think it’s especially great that his personality comes through so well. He is a serious chef – but he doesn’t take the fun out of the process.

We’re in the process of revisiting and reformatting the entire SUSHISAMBA recipe collection. It’s a lot of work but it’s been good to revisit the building blocks of our signature recipes. Yesterday I was thinking a lot more about dashi which is key for our miso soup – but an all-around vital ‘base’ Japanese cooking. There are two types: Ichiban dashi – which is stronger and most appropriate for soups and sauces. Then, there’s Niban dashi – which is a more subtle flavor. Because we’re using dashi daily for our miso soup – we use the Ichiban style: DASHI Ingredients: yield: 2 liters water, soft / filtered         2 liters konbu                                  2 pieces bonito flakes                      30 grs Method: Add konbu to pot of water and bring to 140F for 40 minutes to exact the flavors and umami out of the kelp. Remove the kelp from the pot and add the bonito flakes. Bring the water to 170F and allow bonito flakes to sink to the bottom of the pot. Pass through a chinois with cheesecloth. Chef’s Notes: Pass the broth through the cheesecloth SLOWLY to prevent cloudiness in the broth. Note: The vegetarian substitution for dashi is to use shiitake mushrooms instead of bonito flakes.

Less than one year ago the team behind SUSHISAMBA opened a brand-new concept, Sugarcane raw bar grill, in Midtown Miami. It’s been really exciting to watch the transformation – from all of our initial tastings to the rigorous opening schedule – leading up to tonight when the great Chef and my friend, Timon Balloo was given the honor of cooking at The James Beard House. The Team: Timon, Koji, Michelle, Beto and I The Ingredients: The Menu: beginning: Bacon-Wrapped Dates with Linguiça, Manchego, and Mustard Emulsion Peruvian Lantern Scallop Crudo with Apples and Yuzu Laughing Bird Shrimp with Jackfruit and Cilantro Beef Tongue Crostini with Red Dragon Cheese and Quail Eggs middle: Key West Spiny Lobster Chowder with Fingerling Potatoes, Dried Tomatoes, and Crème Fraîche Za’atar-Dusted Yellowfin Tuna with Florida Eggplant Baba Ghanoush and Housemade Yogurt Lake Meadow Naturals Duck Breast with Swiss Chard and Marcona Almond Picada Robata Galbi Short Ribs with Crispy Rice, Fried Egg, and Jus finale: Homestead Tangerine Ice with Banana Cream and Flor de Caña Rum Nutella Parfait with Candied Hazelnuts and Nougatine Ice Cream

from SUSHISAMBA rio: ‘Sometimes the simplest tasks are the most satisfying…’ – Dan

It’s official – the flights are booked! Koji, Mere and I are headed to Japan (Tokyo > Kyoto > Osaka) for some serious ingredient research. Stay tuned… The Tokyo Subway Map (above) is from www.picturetokyo.com.

This morning a beautiful, bright red Golden Eye Snapper (Japanese = Kinmedai) arrived from our friends at True World Foods. Mukai, our Executive Sushi Chef at park, ordered it for a special tonight. Golden Eye Snappers live around the southern coast of Japan and come into season in the color months. They are deep sea fish, in fact, the water pressure may be one of the reasons for their remarkably large and extruded eyes. Most importantly, they’re known for their high fat content and tender meat… a good choice for just about any type of preparation – but tonight Mukai will use this Kinmedai for sashimi and sushi.

=  kilograms of fish that go through Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market each year. And, over 400 different varieties of seafood are available in the market on a daily basis. Pretty crazy, right? These stats were given to us by Professor Theodore Bestor (Anthropology and Japanese studies at Harvard University) – who presented alongside Yousuke Imada (Chef/Owner of Kyubey in Tokyo and Osaka) and Shigeo Araki (Chef/Owner of Uosaburo, two-Michelin-star) during “The World of Sashimi and Sushi” seminar at the Worlds of Flavor conference last weekend. We’re going to check out the Tsukiji market and tuna auctions while we’re in Tokyo next week! Check back for pictures/details soon…

Today, SUSHISAMBA rio’s Chef Eric Jorgensen moved from the Windy City to the Big City to join us on team SS7!! *Photo from the Chicago-New York Electric Airline Railroad, John Eagan. Original site here.

At the CIA Japan Flavors of Culture conference a few weeks ago, Larry Kushi, Sc.D. (Associate Director for etiology and prevention research at Kaiser Permanenete), Yoshihiro Murata (Chef and Owner of Kikunoi Honten, a three-Michelin star kaiseki restaurant in Kyoto), and Yukio Hattori, M.D. (President and Chairman of  Ecole de Cuisine et Nutrition Hattori) presented “Balance, Long Life and the Japanese Diet: Ideas for American Menus.” Here are some of the traditional Japanese eating guidelines that we took away: hara hachi bu = eat until you’re 80% full yoku kamu = chew your food well shizen ni kansha suru = appreciate nature mainichi san ju hinmoku = eat 30 different varieties of food each day This ‘Spinning Top’ represents the Japanese guidelines for health and diet – it’s always balanced and in motion. As you’ll notice – there’s a lot more vegetables and grains and a lot less dairy and sweets.

hour difference between maturity; should be picked young before the gills show: From “Japanese Flavors, American Menus: How and What We Want to Eat Now,” presented by Hiro Sone, Douglas Keane and Nick Balla at the Japan: Flavors of Culture conference at CIA. ingredients to research: hojiso, karasumi

uni = ocean flavor

I had some extra time tonight to upload more of the great content we captured during our time at the CIA’s World of Flavor conference. This video is of Chef Shirou Komaki (Chef/Owner of Sushiman, an Osaka-based restaurant specializing in Osaka-style sushi; with a 350-year history) in a presentation titled “Traditions of Sushi and Sashimi: Discovering Regional Styles from Tokyo to Osaka.” Chef Komaki shows us haku sushi/oshizushi – or – ‘box sushi’… Incredible demo – and a funny chef… We had a chance to talk to him (via translator) during the walk-around ‘Flavor Discovery Tasting’ lunch.

from rio: Lee, the newest member of SUSHISAMBA rio’s culinary team in Chicago, experimented with ika (calamari) on the robata. The result: King Crab and Aji Amarillo stuffed Ika, grilled on the robata and glazed with tonkastu. start: finish:

hello, tokyo

tokyowearehere

Japan, meet SUSHISAMBA! We just arrived on Delta flight 173, Tokyo-Narita, and the inspiration is already kicking in. Koji, Mere and I grabbed our bags and booked it onto the first bus to Shinjuku (新宿区). We decided to stay in this area because it’s home of Shinjuku Station (our primary transportation hub) – and it’s a great midpoint for some of the other districts we plan to visit.

We were all starving when we finally got to the hotel – and, with most businesses closed for the holiday (today was a ‘transfer holiday,’ or furikae kyūjitsu, in honor of Thanksgiving Day: Kinrō Kansha no Hi) – we decided to take a walk into the busy part of Shinjuku to explore some of the local favorites. Here’s a shot of Koji outside one of the many kushiyaki restaurants we passed: Don’t forget to look up once in awhile…

Thanks to Japan’s focus on seasonality and locality – there are a lot of incredible ingredients and cooking techniques that we’re not always able to take advantage of in the states. At our first dinner – a nondescript and non-english speaking (so glad Koji is here!) yakitori in Shinjuku – we enjoyed a ‘chicken tasting’ – with birds from Nagoya, Akita, and Kagoshima. Here, the menu shows you what the chicken looks like and offers insight into it’s origin: Some of the dishes included: chicken cartilage (pictured), rump, innards and neck (pictured): But it was the raw chicken – minced and tossed with leek and ponzu – that really paid tribute to the freshness and quality of the meat:

not even Tsukiji has a catch like this… photo from Don Quijote, Shinjuku

There’s always been a really strong culinary connection between France and Japan and we’re seeing it everywhere from Tokyo’s sidewalks and street carts to the menus and cookbooks. When Beard Papa opened in NYC on Broadway near Astor (you could smell the pâte a choux for a least a three block radius) – it was a pretty great example of this ‘coming-together’ as a full concept – from the packaging to the product. (They ended up relocating to the UWS – for anyone who wants to check it out…) In Tokyo we’ve seen several stores like Beard Papa (which originated in Osaka). Here’s a shot from our stop at Tai Putit – where the choux is shaped into delicate little fish puffs piped with chestnut, red bean, caramel, vanilla and milk chocolate cream:

Many of the department stores here include whole floor ‘markets’ dedicated to specialty foods. At Mitsukoshi we discovered Sun Fruits, Atelier du Soliel – a company known for its prized fruits. Cantaloupes like this (a cultivated variety of muskmelon -the fruit that flavors midori) range anywhere between $50-$100 because of the intensive care that goes into their growth – from temperature and light distribution to regulated trimming and watering. The result is a perfect shape, skin-texture, smell and, of course, taste. Koji’s pick: I really like the concept of premium fruits as gifts… another way to pay tribute to seasonality and the value of a specific moment in time.

We stopped into LOTUS for cappuccinos after lunch. Really great, laid back vibe; cool design. There were a few items for sale in the front – fireworks, art. ‘rare mango cheesecake’ and a strawberry short cake.

Last month we posted about myrciaria dubia – better known as camu camu – the incredible Amazonian cranberry/cherry-like fruit and amazing antioxidant. I’ve been in touch with some of our vendors to see if anyone is able to source it fresh – but it’s been really hard to come by. To reinforce our interest… we just spotted it here in Tokyo as a flavor/vitamin additive to tea: As soon as I get any leads I’ll let you know…

Koji, Mere and I have been walking the city on the search of menu layouts, cool design and inspiration – (not to mention to keep our appetites up). I filmed our own version of the Shibuya Crossing – but I think this YouTube video is a much better take. Total chaos – in sync: The intersection – right in front of the Shibuya Station, Hachikō exit lets pedestrians cross in all directions. Here’s a shot of Koji and I taken from inside a surrounding building: Shibuya on a plate = [insert your response].

On our visit to Kyoto was took the train to Kitayama for a look around the more historic area. Malebranche, one of Kyoto’s best known pastry shops, was born here in 1982. Koji took this awesome shot of a tree they’d constructed out of Okoicha Langue de Chat – beautiful biscuits made of chocolate and Shirakawa tea. Malebranche is another great example of how japanese flavors/packaging aesthetics come together with the more western idea of sweets.

Even in a country with one of the lowest rates of beef consumption – there is evidence of the burger craze. We dropped into pakutchi in Shibuya for a taste… menu パクッチバーガー Pakutchibaga パクッチチキンバーガー Pakutchichikinbaga タワーバーガー Tower Burger Here’s our pakutchibaga… It’s not as often that taste demands your awareness of each component of the burger (beyond the beef). Here, I was surprised that even the lettuce – so fresh! – contributed so much to the flavor/texture. What’s great is that you could deconstruct a pakutchi burger and enjoy each ingredient separately. Not sure how many burgers stand up to that challenge back in the states… Here’s a full ‘brand’ shot (including the Tower Burger) from GourNavi:

The Chiri-Men Craft Museum Kyoto, – Koji bought sushi sets. possibility for online?

Hacci table honey series, 1912 acacia honey / flower bouquet / tochi honey / orange / lavendar / manuka / http://hacci1912.com

hojichia, mojichia, green tea = most popular teas in japan

In Japan there’s a sense of sensitivity and simplicity in food and service that you can’t find anywhere else. Our experiences bring back many of the more ‘philosophical’ approaches to cooking that I’d encountered during my time at elBulli – Ferran Adrià has always been incredibly inspired by Japanese cuisine. Check out this quick clip from an interview with Ferran and Dorothy Hamilton (CEO of The International Culinary Center): <object width=”640″ height=”385″><param name=”movie” value=”http://www.youtube.com/v/zL_Qoz6Ytug?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US”></param><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true”></param><param name=”allowscriptaccess” value=”always”></param><embed src=”http://www.youtube.com/v/zL_Qoz6Ytug?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true” width=”640″ height=”385″></embed></object>

Cow Diagrams from America, Brazil and Japan: America: Image from Hubpages.com Brazil: Japan:

To satisfy your afternoon craving: Baby Octopus Lollipops stuffed with Quail Egg at Nishiki Market (aka Kyoto’s Kitchen); Kyoto, Japan

At the Nishiki Food Market in Kyoto we discovered one of the largest yuzu fruits we’d ever seen. They’re typically the size of of a lemon/lime but this one was more like a grapefruit. Yuzu is an East Asian citrus fruit with a tart, fresh flavor. Once I start posting some of the photos from our dinners in Tokyo and Kyoto you’ll see it used frequently as a garnish. At SUSHISAMBA we use it to make ponzu and yuzu vinegar sauces.

koji:

After our dinners in Kyoto we’d walk the streets that parallel the Kamo River (Kamogawa). Many of the bars require you to climb stairs or head down long passageways so that you end up sitting right alongside the river – or looking over it. It’s a great way to experience the city. Like restaurants, the bars are small and intimate. Koji often found himself in conversation with neighboring tables… Mere and I are still working on our Japanese.

most popular = hojichia, mojichia, green

1) Ginmai Jingu served in freezing cold bamboo – (odemaee?) 2) Spinach, Maetake, Yuzu Gelee 3) Sunomonom Canee – Crab Cucumber, Mountain Potato, Fu, Sweet Potato Puree, Caramel thing = bora ovaries 4) Fu Glueten, Karasuni, Kabora, Ginko Nuts 5) Chu-toro, kari, Nubori 6) Fernando (cut fish) = Buri, Koji – Merbaru (whole fish) also in the market shot, Mere – Spanish Mackerel and Sanchez 7) Abeemo Engage 8) Rice with honshimeji and cod

Tempura: Small, beautiful bar – just 8 seats more cuts the chopsticks – the fancier and more expensive 1) Yuba and mitzuna (spinach from Kyoto) served warm (photo named) 2) Cup/Plate – Tofu, Sea Eel, Nambanzuke, Mentaiko wrapped in Yuva 3) Oysters – Hokkaido with lemon from Kommondo City, Meeakay Meika 4) Ponzu Mustard – Duck Tataki 5) Zenu Powder Noodles, udon, salt, crushed sesame, served cold – drink warm dashi afterwards (ask Fernando if this was ‘deconstructed?’ 6) Sweet potato and shittake mushroom chicken and spinach 7) Rice is always the last course; Okawari = more rice, please!

Yakiniku restaurants are basically Japanese-style BBQ in that they serve raw ingredients like meats, offal and seafood for diners to grill themselves at the table. Back in the day the process was done over wood charcoal but many yakiniku restaurants have converted to ventilated gas systems to avoid the smoke/hazards. 1) Liver, Stomach, Meat – Sashimi Style 2) Beef Tongue and Tail, cooked over gas 3) Pork Shoulder and Chives 4) Shrimp and Scallop to cook over gas 5) Wagyu to cook over gas 6) Heart to cook over gas 7) Wholemo/homo – all beef

We’re back in NYC now and I’m looking through the pictures from our Japan trip – there’s so much to share! Some of the dinners (most of them 5-7 courses) included interesting ingredients and cooking techniques that can be broken down into some great sub-topics. We ate gyūtan (grilled beef tongue; gyu = cow / tan = tongue) at a yakiniku restaurant in Kyoto. According to our reading, gyūtan as a dish was born in Sendai (there’s an entire restaurant street dedicated to it there) and has since gained popularity across Japan. For this dinner it arrived thinly sliced with salt, pepper and oil to season and cook. So good.

At a Japanese ryokan, one of the highlights is dining on “kaiseki” (a traditional, multi-course dinner). Indeed, many Japanese think of a ryokan as a place to dine on “kaiseki” rather than as a type of accommodation. One Kyoto ryokan owner told me that over 70% of his income was from his diners while the rest came from overnight guests. What exactly is kaiseki? The term “kaiseki” means hot stone in a kimono fold, and it is believed that Zen priests would tuck hot stones wrapped in towels next to their stomach to cure their hunger pangs during their morning and afternoon prayers (the term “kai” means a fold in a kimono and “seki” means stone). In this way it was believed that only a small amount of kaiseki would be enough to take away your hunger. Originally, kaiseki was a simple, vegetarian meal served during the traditional tea ceremony. It was thought the tea would taste better if the guests were not so hungry. Today kaiseki is no longer a strictly vegetarian meal but may also include both meat and fish. Courtesy of TW, Tuscon, Arizona, USA One kaiseki dinner can consist of anywhere from 6 to 15 different kinds of food. For example: “shiizakana” (appetizers served with Japanese sake) “mukouzuke” (sashimi – slices of raw fish) “kuchitori” (a small side dish) “suimono” (a soup) “nimono” (simmered vegetables) “aemono” (food dressed with sauce) “kounomono” (Japanese pickles) “hassun” (food from the mountains and the sea) “sunomono” (food marinated in vinegar) “yakimono” (grilled fish) “mushimono” (steamed food) “nabemono” (Japanese hot pot) rice miso soup dessert The kind of food served will change according to the different months, seasons and what is freshly available at the local market. It is also depends on the area. For example, a kaiseki served in February in Kyushu would be different than a kaiseki served February in northern Honshu. Courtesy of J-PD, Geneva, SwitzerlandIt is said that kaiseki is a meal at one with nature. In fact, guests will often find such things from nature as flowers and leaves adorning the food. The ingredients are natural, of high quality and chosen according to the season. Most important of all, the ingredients are all freshly served. (Please note: this is why it is so important guests check in on time at a ryokan. Check-in time is before 17:30 (5:30) so the chefs have time to properly prepare the kaiseki meal. However, if guests check in late then the kaiseki is ruined since the ingredients are no longer fresh). Throughout the meal, each course is served immediately after it is prepared so as to maintain the freshness of the ingredients. The design and the display of the food is a reflection of shapes found within nature. For example, the food represents such things as forests, mountains, islands, flowers, and leaves. The food and the tableware also contrast in color, texture, flavor, consistency, and shape just as in nature. The kaiseki menu changes throughout the year, and the cycle of change begins in November when the year’s first tea is ready for grinding. This year is divided into 12 months, and both the food and the tableware reflect the changing months and seasons.Courtesy of WS, Epping, NSW, Australia

Japan Flavors of Culture Small Bites: Modern Takes on Regional Japanese Flavors Moderated by Hiroko Shimbo and Presented by Masahiro Kurisu and Douglas Keane

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Alphabet Avenue #075.251.0069

1 Kinkakuji-cho, Kita-ku, Kyoto “Kinkaku Golden Pavilion is a popular name for one of the main buildings of this temple, which is properly called Rokuon-ji Temple. In the 1220s it was the comfortable villa of Kintsune Saionji. Yoshimitsu, the 3rd Shogun of Ashikaga, abdicated the throne in 1394. After three years, he began to build Kitayamaden and he made a special effort to make it a breaktaking site. He indulged in his peaceful life in this serene setting. After his death, Kitayamaden was made into a Zen temple in accordance with his will. All the buildings of those days came to ruin except Kinkaku. The garden, however, remains as it was in former days and can be enjoyed as it was hundreds of years ago. Tokuon-ji Temple was inscribed as World Cultural Heritage in 1994. Pond = Kyoko-chi (mirror pond)

On Saturday the annual Santacon “Santa Claus Convention” descended on the West Village outside of SUSHISAMBA 7. Melissa (GM, SS7) and Mere took some shots of the action: nyc = santa city santa samba: scrooge in a tree: Happy Holidays!!

sweet Green Dragon apples at SS strip: The Green Dragon variety originated in Japan and is now available through an orchard in Oregon. You can pick up hints of pineapple and pear in the taste – so it’s great for desserts. Jill is going to send some pictures once she puts her special together…

Just the other day Thrillist.com shared an awesome website – “The Japan Goods Finder.” It’s an sick source for new products – culinary, design, etc. and it even auto-translates the sites so you don’t have to visit them individually through google’s translation. Among the list: Mitsukoshi Department Store where we found amazing food products. Check it out here: http://www.japangoodsfinder.com/

Dan at SSrio gave us the word on his latest tuna special: “We recently received some fresh yuzu and kaffir lime leaves. Searching for the best outlet for this aromatic citrus, we decided on a light cure for the tuna. The citrus is mixed with sugar and salt and packed on the fish to settle for a few hours. The finished product has a delicious, meaty texture – fragrant with the yuzu and lime. We finished the dish with wasabi avocado crema and white soy marinated yuzu zest.”

Every morning in Tokyo and Kyoto, Koji, Mere and I took part in a canned kanji ritual in the lobby of our hotel. In Japan, ready-to-drink canned coffee is available in just about every lobby – and street corner: The vending machines themselves are pretty high tech… hot and cold distribution; liquid into a cup distribution, etc. The hot canned coffee always came out at the perfect temperature. According to some of our guide readings – and even Japanese Wikipedia – the big canned coffee fad kicked off in the early 1970s and was really booming by the early 80s. In addition to some names we hadn’t seen before (Pokka, Dydo) – a lot of the big Japanese beverage companies (Suntory, Kirin, Coca-Cola, Nescafe, Asahi) have their own brands/labels in the canned coffee market, too.

azuki – small bean that grows on an annual vine cultivated widely throughout East Asia/Himalayas. 2nd most popular legume in Japan – favorite dessert flavoring. versatile ingredient. low in fat/high in protein, iron, soluble fiber. paste or full bean

http://akibaco.jugem.jp/ PICASSO 075-525-6050

http://r.gnavi.co.jp/k419101 075-541-6077 Twitter @monsen_kyoto KYOTO

Pass the Baton is a store we found in Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo filled with lots of random treasures – antiques, vintage clothes, stuff made from recycled goods. The concept/ mission statement is all about ‘personal culture,’ – and bringing new life into an object. Very cool. Check out the blog too.

http://www.nakajin.net/

Remember the Green Dragon Apples that Jill sent a photo of last week? This is the awesome dessert she created for SUSHISAMBA strip: Ginger Apple Dragon gingerbread cake, green dragon apple, smoked white chocolate

Koji’s gunkan at SUSHISAMBA 7 in NYC…. snow crab / anchovy salad / foie gras

From Dan at SS rio in Chicago: Asian Pears! “These giant (about the size of a grapefruit) pears spend there entire life wrapped in a paper bag. From bud to full-grown fruit they are protected from insects, dirt, and debris. The result is a ‘perfect’ pear – free of blemishes and bruises. They have a crisp texture and are incredibly juicy. For dessert, we poach the pears in sake and mirin perfumed with kafir, star anise, cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla, and honey. They are finished with toasted coconut, vanilla ice cream, micro shiso, and a syrup made from a reduction of the poaching liquor.”

Tonight’s finish to a Merry Christmas at SUSHISAMBA rio in Chicago and 7 and park in New York City. Created by Michelle: Spiced Pionono asian pear jam, coquito ice cream, kaffir lime

Felicidades a todos from the SS Culinary Team!  We’re celebrating Révellion at all locations tonight – hope to see you… Awesome photo of Rio de Janeiro’s Réveillon NYE party on Copacabana Beach, via The Independent.

Here’s The Telegraph’s coverage of the 342kg Bluefin Tuna that was recently sold at a record-breaking £250,000 at Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, Japan. So crazy… At SUSHISAMBA we’ve created a NO BLUE campaign to protect Bluefin Tuna and help to raise awareness about the species’ endangered status – but it’s important that we continue understand the ecological and economical impact of the global seafood market. I still have a bunch of other great videos and photos to share from our trip to Tsukiji this past November…. To start, here’s a shot of some of the fresh tuna for sale post morning auction:

Camellia sinensis = a plant species that produces white, green, oolong, pu-erh and black tea. Even though all teas come from the leaves/leaf buds of this same plant – the oxidation process imparts specific attributes that make each style of tea look/taste so different. This photo is from Tea Forte, an amazing tea company who we’ll be working with very soon…

Here’s a feast for your eyes – Chef Seiji Yamamoto’s kaiseki at RYUGIN in Roppongi, Tokyo from our Culinary Team trip to Japan this past November. Automn Menu, November 25th, 2010 Chef Yamamoto’s Specialite – Premium Monkfish Liver from Hokkaido with Special Miso Sauce Matsuba Crab from Sanin in Hot Starch Sauce Premium Dashi Soup with Tilefish Grilled on Charcoal and Deep-Fried Egg Tofu Sashimi Dish with Seabream from Tokushima and Smoked Bonito with Seaweed Automn Color in a Plate with Seaperch, Fig, Chestnuts and Ginko Nuts in Ryu Gin Style Fresh Sea Urchins and Yuba with Cold Egg Custard Wagyu Beef Cheek in White Miso Soup with Flavored Vegetables Simmered Rice with Cooked Kuroge Wagyu Beef served alongside Miso Soup with Shiba Shrimp Broth -196 Degree Celsisus Candy Apple with 99 Degree Celsius Apple Jam Hot Parfait RyuGin Style, Vol 11 “Yuzu” Mattcha Afterwards Seiji and the culinary team came outside to meet us. He and Koji was both born in the same town – Kagawa, Japan.  So they had a nice exchange of memories… great way to end the dinner.

Ishigaki Cow and Ishigaki Pigs (Aguu) Cattles in the Yimaru Farms are raised in a large and stress-free field, under natural sunlight. Compared to the normal farms where cattles are brought to maturity in two years, Ishigaki cows are nurtured over three years before maturity. Ishigaki cows are in the pink of health because they are fed with grass enriched by minerals brought from the sea breeze and calcium made from the natural corals. The tasty meat is the result of the special care and love showered on these cows. The meat is also rich in proteins. The Ishigaki pigs are fed with not only chlorella but also Stevia which enhance the immune system of the pig and reduces disesases outbreaks. Therefore, Ishigaki pigs are not administred with antibotics http://www.leaveanest.com http://en.leaveanest.com

Ok – this one’s been around for awhile but Mere thought it would be worth re-visiting for some daily inspiration: Props to Arcade Fire – they’re always up to something awesome… Click the image to check it out:

whoa, nelly. rio’s setting records… Photo (and Execution) props to Dan:

After a solid day at SS dromo in Miami, Koji hits the pavement:

Photo: Matcha from Ryukin restaurant in Tokyo. The very bright green color is indicative of this tea’s high quality; pre-oxidation. I posted every dish from our dinner at Ryukin in Japan – but I wanted to revisit Matcha. We launched a new coffee and tea program at our Park Avenue location today (I’ll share more on that soon)- so we’ve been spending a lot more time on tea research. The tradition of the Japanese tea ceremony comes from the making of Matcha (as first demonstrated by monks from the Zen monasteries). Last fall we visited Kyoto, which is remains one of the most well-known regions for matcha production. While we didn’t partake in the traditional – and very extensive – tea ceremonies, we did get a sense of some of the more modern takes on tea service. One of our stops was Iyemonsalon.

Peiche

“Two of the biggest influences on the eating habits of the Japan were Korea and China. Rice was introduced to Japan during the Yaoi period, 400 B.C., as migrating tribes from Korea settle din Japan. Korea’s rice growing techniques were passed on and within a hundred years rice became a major staple of Japanese cooking. Soybeans and wheat were introduced to Japan. Sushi

From Dan at SSrio in Chicago…. “A demo of hyrdocolloids and the proper way to make a fluid gel for my sous chef led to Friday’s special: Chu-Toro Tataki with aged soy marinated cucumber, yuzu pudding, garlic and chive.”

Screen shot 2011-01-19 at 11.09.00 AM

Water Sculpture from Shinichi Maruyama on Vimeo. Yesterday I came across an article on Japanese artist Shinichi Maruyama (currently living in NYC). He works with water and ink (interesting light/dark contrast) to create these ‘sculptures’ suspended in mid-air.  He calls them “Kusho” (writing in the sky)… it’s an interesting link to Japanese calligraphy. From his artist statement: photo by Bruce Silverstein

Check out those mussels! Eric ordered some Honey Mussels from Cecila at Mikuni Wild Harvest last week. They’re called Honey Mussels because of their honey-colored shell – but they also have a sweet taste and tender texture. They’re farm-raised in British Columbia and you can’t find them anywhere else in the world. Eric steamed them and served them in a Xingu beer and aji panca broth at SUSHISAMBA park.

Notes from Japan Trip: Hana Opened wiht a sip of sake out of bamboo/process of unfolding – gift Look up Kinome 1. Suzduko (Ikura) – what Kyoto ppl say. Tomburi with Scallop (green dish) 2. Shrimp Abishingo 3. Sashimi Small Cuts – toro, madai, buri, ika – yellow kikonahana, flower – wasabi orashi 4. Kabura (giant radish) 5.Misuri (green sauce) ginko nuts served tableside for sharing, served in a sugita, sugitaiyaki, salmon minofry – looks like minomushi/misurai – salmon cooked through a smoker – tastes of wood flavor Organic Hobaiyaki – cooked over dried hobaiyaki Yuba Unkake – thick curd soup 7. Ova Scallops – Miso Hobiayaki – ledo Konyaki makde from potato starch, red things on Koji’s chopsticks

One of our first posts on ingredient was about paiche – the giant Amazonian fish that I tasted at Malabar on our research trip to Peru this past fall. We recently worked with Cleanfish to bring paiche to NYC Restaurant Week (both SS park and SS 7) – and NYT picked it up today! (Click here to check out the article). We’re serving it pan-seared with a miso-jalapeño glaze – mizuna and blood orange:

From Dan and Shige at the sushi bar – SS rio: “Shige San brings some heat when our guests say, ‘You decide…'” left to right: Hamachi Sashimi, Kampachi Sashimi, Tuna Nigiri with wasabi stem relish and negi, Hotate Nigiri with Kobe Tataki and chimichurri ponzu

Food adventures in Los Angeles. //     // // // LA Food Blogs Apples & Onions Daily Dish Eat Drink & Be Merry Eat: LA Eating LA Eater LA Eat Sip Chew Food GPS gas•tron•o•my Indine: 09 LA & OC Foodventures Mikey Hates Everything NakedSushi Oishii Eats Rants and Craves SinoSoul Squid Ink Starchy Marie Teenage Glutster Tuna Toast Two Hungry Pandas Yutjangsah Eating Elsewhere 101 Cookbooks Bitten Coconut & Lime Orangette Serious Eats The Girl Who Ate Everything The Kitchen « bitter greens for the bitter cold | Main | shin-shōga (young ginger) » March 30, 2007 kuro-mitsu Kuro means black and mitsu means honey, so for the longest time I thought kuro-mitsu was just a dark type of honey, perhaps buckwheat, and I wondered why I could never find it in the honey section of the supermarket. In actuality, kuro-mitsu is a syrup made from black sugar (kuro-zato), the famously healthy dark brown sugar produced in Okinawa, and sold next to the other sugars on the shelves. While mass-produced brown sugar in the U.S. is often made by simply coating refined white sugar with molasses, black sugar is unrefined, resulting in chunky, sticky granules with a pronounced molasses flavor. Kuro-mitsu is thinner and milder than molasses, making it an ideal substitute for honey, whether spread on toast, drizzled over yogurt or stirred into tea. Kuro-zato is known for its throat-soothing qualities, so I use it in my favorite sick-day tea: I boil sliced ginger in water for five minutes, let it sit for ten minutes, reheat, and pour the resulting liquid over the juice of one lemon and one tablespoon of kuro-mitsu. It’s spicy, sweet and citrusy and always makes me feel better. Kuro-mitsu over yogurt. But there’s no need to stay virtuous in your kuro-mitsu use. The dish that inspired me to buy my own bottle of kuro-mitsu, in fact, was a strange and wonderful dessert named, alluringly, Honeycube, the special of the day at a cafe in Nagoya. (Just try saying it: Honeycube. Don’t you want to eat it even though you have no idea what it is?) Honeycube turned out to be a plate piled high with the most unlikely ingredients: cubes of just-toasted white bread scattered over a heaping portion of vanilla soft-serve ice cream, then topped with a drizzle of kuro-mitsu and a dusting of cinnamon. Oh, and there was a scoop of fresh whipped cream in there somewhere, too. Surprisingly, Honeycube as a dessert lived up to Honeycube as a name. The cinnamon-scented crunch of the warm toasted bread with the cool softness of the ice cream was something like eating an ice-cream-stuffed churro and led to the realization that kuro-mitsu and ice cream go together like peanut butter and chocolate. Or strawberries and cream. Or kinako and fresh mochi. Whatever — something synergistically delicious anyway. This realization is why, while out for post-dinner drinks at an izakaya last week, when I heard the waiter say the only dessert they had was ice cream topped with kuro-mitsu and kinako, my reaction was one of such deep and sudden enthusiasm the man scooted back about a foot in surprise and four of my friends ordered the same, having no idea what they were getting, but unable to resist my breathless excitement. It was like a Japanese hot fudge sundae. I ate every bite. One of our favorite discoveries in Japan b

Koji’s favorite remix of Hinotori by Osamu Tezuka. In the US it’s known as Phoenix:

Tea Forte fully launched this week at our park avenue location! The company was founded by Peter Hewitt (RISD grad and MOMA designer) in 2003 and in 2006 Tea Master Richard Guzauskas (Chairman of the Specialty Tea Institute and among the Board of Directors of the Tea Association of America) joined the team. We’re huge fans of their packaging and mission – and, more importantly – the quality of their teas.

Sunday afternoon:

Today we’re running through the recipes on our Valentine’s Weekend Omakase (offered by all of our locations Sat-Mon). Here’s a few to tempt… Hokkaido Scallops Dumpling Soup with enoki, mitsuba and yuzu peeling Bigeye Tuna and Avocado Salad with fresh key lime, 1,000-year-vine olive oil, chive, and pink peruvian salt Yuzu-Kosho Poached Langoustines with celery root, shaved trumpet mushroom and scallion

A shot of the beautiful fresh uni we saw back in November 2010 on our trip to Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market. We continue to send our well wishes to our friends in Japan.

Koji’s gunkan threesome for Valentine’s Day: left to right: squid and oshinko / hamachi, jalapeño and wasabi tobiko / wagyu, quail egg yolk and potato paille

From Yuki at SSstrip: “With live items I like to keep things simple and utilize as much as I can from the main ingredient. Here I added just a bit of sake and soy.”

…1  – Dessert Launch! Today at SUSHISAMBA park we released 4 new desserts, including: Housemade Tofu Panna Cotta with lime crumble, mango and red shiso sorvete SUSHISAMBA Housemade Tofu Panna Cotta

Get ready, kids….. It’s day #2 of our dessert launch at SSpark! Café com Leite Parfait with (from the bottom up) bourbon mousse, coffee gelée, milk sorvete, chocolate pearls, caramel sauce, chocolate cigar and tuile

http://hacci1912.com/table/index.html

They’re hereeeee… Dessert #3 = KYOTO CREAM PUFFS! Michelle topped these pâte a choux with a crispy almond cookies and piped them full of (l to r) lucuma, hojicha and gianduja cream.

When Timon and I visited Peru last year for Mistura, we couldn’t help noticing the prevalence of lucuma. No wonder – it’s a plentiful, local fruit in Lima and it tastes really good (especially in ice cream). Since then, I’d been looking for a cool way to incorporate it into the menu and after some brainstorming with Michelle, we’d decided that the Kyoto Cream Puffs would be the perfect vehicle. If you haven’t stopped by for a taste yet – now’s the time… More on Lucuma: *It’s a subtropical fruit; native to the cool highlands/coastal valleys of the Andean Region [think: Peru, Ecuador, Chile…] *It’s got a dry/starchy flesh but a super unique flavor – very similar to maple syrup. *On my search for more information I came across a really great blog: Peru Food. Check it out – they’ve got a good summary and some ideas for lucuma use in desserts.

One of the most important coffee markets in the world, Japan imports more than 930 million pounds of it each year — more than France, less than Italy. It’s not a fad. There are coffee shops in Japan that date to at least the 1940s and traditions that reach back even further; it’s a culture that prizes brewed coffee over espresso (although that’s changing) and clarity over body. Coffee is as Japanese as baseball and beer. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/13/magazine/13Food-t-000.html?_r=3&ref=dining

Happy Birthday, Fernando! BiG WiSheS! <3  your boh team.

Last but not least – our new White Chocolate Semifreddo with pistachio powder and wasabi-apple sorvete. The wasabi is true to taste – a nice cut to the sweet neutrality of the semifreddo. It’s been a best seller so far…

CarnavalFlan(2)

Last night Dan made a great special for SUSHISAMBA rio in Chicago. 2011 is going to be the year of the gunkan…. king crab, serrano, yuzu, aji amarillo, tobiko, cilantro:

A fresh start to spring… From Dan in Chicago: “We’ve been thinking a lot about how to lighten up gunkan for spring – so we formed kani gunkan… cucumber boats filled with king crab, aji amarillo and grape tomato seviche.”

Still not 100% sure what a G6 is… But this is a B3 (Big Bottle of Bub). Hello, Saturday… From Dan at SSrio in Chicago: “Now that’s what we call a BOTTLE of Veuve!”

We’ve been writing about a lot of great changes and fun new ideas lately – but I wanted to take a minute today to share how we’ve been coping with the aftermath of Japan’s disaster.  It’s a huge part of our restaurant – the food and the culture – but even more importantly, it’s home to many members of our culinary team – and their family and friends. You may have read that SUSHISAMBA had been raising funds through the creation of special maki rolls at each location. All of the proceeds, totaling $35,768, went directly to the Red Cross – in support of disaster relief in Japan. It was a tremendous effort by both our team and our loyal customers – and the results have really shown. Here’s a shot of the relief roll Yuki created for SUSHISAMBA strip: Spicy Tuna, Eel, Shiso Leaf, Kaiware, Radish, Kaiso Kira Kira

Of me working on food cost in the office… Ohhhh, Koji. You’re quite the artist.

In preparation for spring – and some BIG changes we have around the corner – we added 6 new dishes to our menu at SUSHISAMBA 7 in NYC… and 9 new ones at SSdromo in Miami. The response has been pretty exciting… Swing by and check them out when you have a chance so we can get your feedback. Here’s our Steamed Scallop Dumplings filled with scallop mousseline and served over a purée of celery root. The dish is topped with warm enoki, shaved zucchini and chives – then drizzled with a yuzu kosho butter.

Choi-San rocks his new glasses.

Pre-tasting warm up:

May marks the start of soft shell crab season! Victor began using them on sliders at SS7 – great as a lunch dish or small plate to share for dinner. We switched it up a bit – adding bibb lettuce, shiba zuke and yuzu kosho aioli for a kick:

Was flipping through our photo book today and remembering our time in Japan. This picture was taken from the sidewalk in Kyoto – looking up into the sky. The Japanese Maple Trees (momiji) are really spectacular in the fall. Wishing all of the best to our family and friends over there…

Last week Jill visited us in NYC to share some wonderful new desserts, including a Black Sesame Sponge Cake with sake-roasted peaches, tofu marscapone cream and market strawberries:

King Crab ~ Three Ways #1 broiled with aji amarillo #2 tempura with yuzu kosho emulsion #3 amazu seviche Summer in 3, 2, 1… (on the menu at SS dromo and SS park)

Last night Koji, Choi and Samantha represented SUSHISAMBA at Taste of Summer in Central Park. The benefit brought together 1,000 supporters to raise money for the Central Park Conservancy. We served Wagyu Sushi Nigiri with tamari soy, momiji oroshi and garlic chip:

This week I went on the seasonal ‘SUSHISAMBA Tour’ and visited SS dromo in Miami, SS rio in Chicago and SS strip in Las Vegas. When I arrived in Vegas Jill greeted me with some gorgeous golden raspberries and deep red strawberries. Always nice to have a surprise waiting… From Jill: “Props to Harry’s Berries of California (brought in through LA Specialty!). Every summer I look forward to their strawberries – and – the golden raspberries that are even sweeter than their red cousins. In the back of this photo you’ll see the velvet apricots. Their skin feels like velvet and it’s quite tart but they are bright and sweet on the inside.”

For our latest London tasting I made crispy oysters jalea: cornmeal-crusted fried oysters, onion, jalapeno, red pepper, lemon, aji panca We’ll be continuing to run it as a special from our Park Avenue location- hope you stop in for a taste.

From Guillermo at SS park this past week: Halibut a la Plancha with black quinoa salad, yuzu marmalade and micro radishes A beautiful, seasonal special.

recipe writing; old school:

As we’re developing some culinary education programs for our FOH staff it’s been interesting to revisit the inspiration behind some our signatures. The Yamato Roll (Big Eye Tuna, Sturgeon Caviar, Foie Gras, 24k Gold Leaf) was one of Koji’s awesome creations. He named it after a popular sci-fi anime series in Japan, where Yamato was an intergalactic space ship. The roll with it’s unique shape/balance – resembles this space ship. We did a little more research and learned that Yamato was the name of Japan’s largest and most powerful battleship in World War II. Even today it remains a poetic name for Japan and a symbol of heroism. The roll itself is another great example of the way SUSHISAMBA’s sushi departs from tradition and takes risks… Risks that taste awesome.

Today kicks off NYC Summer Restaurant Week and I’m excited about the line up at both locations. (We’ll feature a few more in ingredient this week) For SUSHISAMBA park’s RW Dinner menu we’re breaking out a Brazilian favorite – Bolinhos de Bacalhau – served with pallares bean purée and salsa verde. The recipe was passed from the Portuguese during colonization in Brazil in the 1500s. Bacalhau (salted cod) was important for these countries not only because it could be preserved over longer periods of time – but also because it was in-line with the requirements of the Catholic Church (which forbade eating meat during specific holy days). Today, Bolinhos de Bacalhau are still a well-loved dish in Brazil. I’d say – best paired with a caipirinha.

Today we booked our next big culinary adventure – to Brazil! From July 26-August 4, Koji, Mere, our new London Chef (who will be announced in the coming months… stay tuned) and I will head to Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Sao Paulo to revisit some of the country’s more traditional dishes and explore their newer tastes and executions. I’m especially excited to uncover new ingredients that we can bring to the table at our SUSHISAMBA restaurants this fall. Be sure to check back with us soon… we’ll be reporting daily from The Samba Country. We found this awesome photo by Laszlo Ilyes via http://roc2c.blogspot.com

get moving, people!

Thinking about this week’s dinner line up? Here’s a good one to try at home after your market visit tomorrow. It’s also on the menu at SUSHISAMBA 7 and park (NYC) and dromo (Miami). Ingredients for Four Servings heirloom tomatoes, 2, quartered / grape tomatoes, 1 cup, halved / cucumber, 1/2, peeled, batonettes / white grapes, 1 cup, halved / wakame, 1 cup /  ginger-soy vinaigrette, as preferred / maldon salt, to taste / micro celery / sesame seeds, 4 tbsp, toasted Method: Wash and prepare vegetables as indicated. Mix all ingredients together and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Garnish with micro celery.

And so begins another SUSHISAMBA tour! Almost every other month I have a chance to visit the Chefs at all of our locations and then some… The journey kicks off in Miami (this blog post is a sushi bar 10:21pm action shot). Here’s the full schedule… 7.18              NYC>MIAMI 7.19              MIAMI>CHICAGO 7.21              CHICAGO>VEGAS 7.23              VEGAS>NYC 7.25              NYC>RIO DE JANEIRO 7.29              RIO>SALVADOR 8.1                SALVADOR>SAO PAULO 8.4               SAO PAULO>BUENOS AIRES (for a quick visit with my family) 8.8               BA>NYC>BK, yo! Good thing I’m not afraid of flying…. Er….

CloudsAbovetheRockies

Rio, so long I waited to finally meet you! Today Koji, Mere and I arrived in Rio de Janeiro at 5:30am. It’s beautiful here…. perfect temperature, kind wind from the north and three freshly-muddled caipirinhas to quench our thirst after a stroll from Copacabana to the Ipanema Market…

There’s nothing better than waking up each morning to a tall glass of fresh Brazilian fruits. We’ve been trying new flavors at Apo’s across the street since we arrived…. everything from maracujá (passion fruit) and fruta do conde (‘sugar-apple’) to caju (cashew fruit) and, my personal favorite, cupuaçu. I’m not sure that I can compare the flavor of cupuaçu to anything, really – but if I had to give you a ‘taste’ in writing I’d say it’s like a juicy pear with a citrus kick at the finish. While we’ve been serving fresh passion fruit purée in our cocktails at SUSHISAMBA from the start, in Brazil maracujá is served with the whole seeds. They add a complex texture to juice and caipirinhas – velvet on the tongue and a gentle crunch after each sip. Mere and I are going to do some detective work once we’re back in the States to see if there new ways to import these awesome fruits – and add them to the samba table. Here’s a shot of Apo’s – which is a good example of a common fruit stand here in Rio – which also sells traditional Brazilian snacks.

For our first official dinner in Ipanema, Rio, Koji, Mere and I chose what we thought would be the most obvious orientation to Brazilian cuisine: churrasco. Porcão churrascuria (“Pig Pen” in English) was founded in Rio in 1975. Here, you pay up front for an all-you-can-eat buffet (consisting of salads, cheeses, cold meats, Brazilian vegetables and even sushi) as well as tableside meat service. During dinner, each person has a coaster to rest next to their place setting. When the coaster is green-side-up, it means you’re ready for more. When the coaster is red-side-up it means you’re down for the count. We’re not sure how well this system really worked, though…. no matter which side our coasters were on – we were always getting more meat on our plates! The line up: Roast Strip, Picanha, Sliced Sirloin (from Argentina!), Beef Steak and Saddle of Lamb (from Uruguay) and chorizo, chicken breast, sausages and short ribs….

In Rio we paid a visit to Academia da Cachaça in Leblon (Rua Conde Bernadotte 26) where they offer over 100 different types of cachacas by the bottle – and as a result – a wide variety of caipirinhas. Koji went with the Cocada Geladinha – a cocktail of fresh coconut, cachaca, coconut water and fig marmalade served in a wine glass – while Mere tried the Cachaca Cristalina, made with sweet lime, lemon, passion fruit and jabuticaba served in a small, straight water glass with a salt rim. [Side note: jabuticaba is pretty much the equal of the American grape – but with a deep plum/black skin and white/rose-colored flesh… we’ll post a photo of the fresh version from the market soon] I went with a ‘traditional’ caipirinha so that we  had a foundation for comparison and we paired everything with bar snacks like Bolinha de Carne and Bolinha de Queijo (fried meat and cheese balls), Bolinho de Mandioca (fried manioc and cheese rolls), Inhame Crocante (crispy yam chips). All of us remarked at the strength of cocktails in Brazil, where cachaca flows like water and nobody minds the sharp citrus burn down the back of their throats. While we sipped out drinks slowly – the locals at the table next to us had already finished their second round. It’ll take some getting used to – but we’re up for the challenge. Here’s a list of some of the Academia’s local cachaças: SC – Armazém Vieira SC – Warehouse Vieira GO – Atitude GO – Attitude RS – Casa Bucco RS – House Bucco CE – Chave de Ouro EC – Gold Key MG – Lua Cheia MG – Full Moon RJ – Magnífica RJ – Magnificent RJ – Santa Rosa RJ – Santa Rosa ES – Santa Terezinha ES – Santa Terezinha PB – Serra Limpa PB – Clear Mountain

Let the game begin….

Just received this great-looking special from SUSHISAMBA dromo in Miami: taylor bay scallops opened on the grill with fennel-yukon purée, shibazuke, kuromitsu jelly, puffed quinoa and cilantro

One of our favorite stops in Rio was Bar do Mineiro in Santa Teresa (R.R. Paschoal Carlos Magno, 99). From outside it’s a welcoming, well-lit haven on the hilly streets of Santa Teresa. Inside under intense fluorescent lights everything (the tables, people, old photograph portraits and posters, and the mosaics and knickknacks that line the white tiled walls) is honest and down to earth. Food-wise – Bar do Mineiro is a local favorite for its feijoada pastels and ginger caipirinhas. We also tried Trouxinha de Minas (from the list of Novidades da Casa) which were made with carne seca desfiada, mussarela e aipim  and served with molho de laranja apimentado. These were a spot on pairing with the strength of the caipirinhas – and great for sharing. Caipirinha Trio: Ginger, Passion Fruit, Traditional Trouxinha Feijoada Pastels

So… we’re all back in NYC now but I’m going to continue sharing information from our Brazil trip. There’s SO much! In Salvador, Bahia we decided to hire the help of a local tour guide (a.k.a. guia de salvador) to better explore the city’s historic neighborhood, Pelourinho. Beyond photos of Salvador’s beautiful coastline and beaches – you’re most likely to see shots of the pastel-colored Colonial buildings and winding stone streets of Pelourinho: Despite the town’s charm, Pelourinho (‘pillory’ in English) is a painful reminder of its history/premier involvement in the slave trade. According to our friend, Wikipedia, “Salvador was the first colonial capital of Brazil…founded in 1549 by Portuguese settlers.” It was also the first slave market on the continent, with slaves arriving to work on the sugar plantations.[1] Nicknamed “Pelô” by residents, this area is in the older part of the upper city, or Cidade Alta, of Salvador. It ecompasses several blocks around the triangular Largo, and it is the location for music, dining and nightlife. In the 1990s, a major restoration effort resulted in making the area a highly desirable tourist attraction. Pelourinho has a place on the national historic register and was named a world cultural centery by UNESCO in 1985. Easily walkable, Pelo has something to see along every street, including churches, cafes, restaurants, shops and the pastel-hued buildings. Police patrol the area to ensure safety.[2] Salvador‘s Historic Center comprises the colonial city‘s primitive nucleus and its geographical expansion until the end of the 18th century. From Praça Municipal, open within the dense tropical forest by the first general-governor, Tomé de Souza, in 1549, to largo de Santo Antônio Além do Carmo, battle field where Brazilian and Dutch soldiers from Companhia das Índias Ocidentais fought in 1638, monuments of civil, religious and military architecture make up a scenery that reveals Salvador’s inhabitants art and way of living through the centuries. From Portas de Santa Luzia, which kept the southern boundary of the old city safe, with mud walls, to the thick walls of Fort Santo Antônio Além do Carmo, which guarded the north entrance, Salvador’s Historic Center is divided in three areas that can be visited all at once: from Praça Municipal to largo de São Francisco, Pelourinho, and from largo do Carmo to largo de Santo Antônio Além do Carmo. Building facades. Many ruined buildings from the Historic Center started to be recuperated in the last thirty years; however, from 1991 on, this work had great impulse with the revitalization of whole blocks of old houses, convents, and churches. That is why nowadays there are more than 800 buildings with restored frontispieces and interior, among which are the ones adapted to new functions due to the aim of revitalizing the area for cultural purposes. The area between Praça Municipal and largo de São Francisco chronologically starts from the place chosen by general-governor Tomé de Souza for the construction of the Colonial Government buildings, and in the places occupied by religious brotherhoods that came from Europe in 1549. Praça Municipal was opened because it offered better protection against attacks by natives and corsairs. The Governor‘s House, the City Hall, and other constructions were initially made of mud wall and covered with straw, but later re-built with stone, bricks, and lime. Nowadays, the visitors’ preferred historic buildings are Paço Municipal (completed in the end of the 17th century), Palácio Rio Branco (built where the Governor’s House was in 1919), and the Elevador Lacerda (Lacerda Elevator), amplified in the thirties. Towards the north are Santa Casa and Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Misericórdia (Nossa Senhora da Misericórdia Church). 17th-century colonial governmental building (Câmara) of Salvador. Igreja da Sé’s old foundations, put down in 1933, and Palácio Arquiepiscopal, Brazil‘s Prime Archbishop’s old house and place of work. It is important to point out that the old Sé, and other lour blocks from the colonial and imperial periods were put down in the beginning of the century for the construction of the city’s cable car stations. A little bit forward, in Terreiro de Jesus, one will find 17th to 19th century constructions. Catedral Basilica, former Igreja dos Jesuítas (Jesuits Church), and churches Ordem Terceira de São Domingos and São Pedro dos Clérigos stand out in Terreiro de Jesus, with its beautiful water fountain in the center. In the old Medical School Building, originally occupied by the Jesuit School, are museums Memorial da Medicina (Medicine Memorial), Arqueologia e Etnologia (Archeology and Ethnology), and Afro-Brasileiro (Afro-Brazilian). Largo do Cruzeiro de São Francisco (Cruzeiro de São Francisco Largo), practically an extension of Terreiro de Jesus, has an old cross in the center, and, on the back, the monumental religious set made up of São Franscisco Church and Convent, and Ordem Terceira de São Franscisco Church.

lunch above Modelo Market overlooking the Marinha do Brazil at a restaurant called Cardapio. There we had huge bottle of Skol served in Koozies – freezing cold! – these are always served in twos. took Elevator Lacerda to Modelo Market near Pielourino. .15 Reais Lunch = Casquinha de Siri (crabmeat served in shell-like dish), Camarão Frito (fried shrimp – heads off), Feijoada

site of first settlement of european newcomers to bahia. where we went to swim on our first day in salvador. watch the sunset. drink caipirinhas from cart on beach.

brazilian wish bracelets at Modelo Market

Offered the chance to attend a candomble on Saturday night in Salvador.

Breads: Pao de Queijo and Walnut Bread served with Cold Potato Purée & Garlic and Sour Cream with oil and herbs. Alex Atala (Milad Alexandre Mack Atala, born June 3, 1968 in São Paulo, Brazil), is a Brazilian chef who runs the prestigious restaurant D.O.M. in São Paulo. He’s known for transforming traditional Brazilian dishes, adopting French and Italian culinary techniques to native Brazilian ingredients. In April 2011, D.O.M. become the 7th best restaurant in the world, according to the prestigious S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants, published by Restaurant magazine. His establishment also holds the title of “Acqua Panna Best Restaurant In South America.” Atala was born in the neighborhood of Mooca in São Paulo, from a middle class family of Palestinian origin. His father, Milad Atala, was an employee at a rubber factory and his mother, Otavia Mack Da Silva, was his culinary role model. He always said he loved his mother’s cuisine. When he was 18, he went on a backpacking trip to Europe and first worked as a wall painter in Belgium. Following a friend’s suggestion, he enrolled himself in a catering college. After his graduation, he worked in restaurants in Belgium, France and Italy, where he has shaped his gastronomic skills besides learning to speak English, French and Italian. In 1999, he opened the restaurant D.O.M. Atala also hosts a television show on Brazilian TV channel GNT. The grand entrance to D.O.M. Fresh Breads to Start (Pao de Queijo) Butter from XX Fresh Spreads for the Bread Green Tomato Gelee Fresh Heart of Palm with Scallops and Coral Sauce A close-up of Jambu. Koji’s Mushroom Soup Oysters in a Pane with Marinated Tapioca Vegetables Baby Pork Ribs in Malbec and Bras Manioc Stinco (Lamb Shank) with Black Rice and Mint A close-up shot of the Stinco Aligot Brazil Nut Tart with Whiskey Ice Cream Curry, Chocolate, Salt, Rocket and Pepper

Hey, friends. I’m writing to you from Bela Vista, Sao Paulo now. This week has flown by: Rio > Salvador > Sao Paulo! In fact, I need to back track a little bit in order to share everything for you – so bear with me… This morning, after an early flight out from Salvador, we arrived in Sao Paulo

If you’re not drinking a caipirinha in Brazil – then you’re drinking cerveja. Brazil is the fourth largest beer market in the world. The country’s introduction to beer is said to have been made in the nineteenth century when the Germans were immigrating, which, by comparison to many other countries was a ‘late start’ for beer drinking…. but they’ve certainly made up for it since. A few things to know: There’s ‘cerveja’ – which means ‘beer’ but primarily refers to bottles or cans. Then, there’s ‘chopp’ which refers to draft beer. If you order beer as a group in a restaurant you’ll receive one large garrafa (1 liter) in a plastic koozie. If you order beer independently of everyone at your table, you’ll receive a single, 12oz bottle. Either way, beer is served bem gelada – very cold. And, either way, if you order one that means you’ll be getting TWO to the table. They always present a second garrafa on ice as a convenient upsell… just an arms-length away when you finish your first. It worked like a charm, every time. Most of Brazilian beer is pale lager, really light and have a sweeter aroma and taste. We tried Xingu, Brahma, Skol, Antarctica, and Kaiser. I’m personally a big fan of Brahma – which also happens to be a global favorite, ranking third. Next up – we’re hoping to try Bohemia Escuro which we’ve heard is a higher quality, darker variety.

He put a dime in the coconut [phone] and he rang ’em up… Pelourinho, Salvador

FerElBulli1

In Salvador we ate at a well-known, traditional Brazilian restaurant called Yemanjá. But before I take you there – here’s a little bit on the goddess it’s named after (from our conversations with the locals and a some extra online research)… Yemanjá is a famous goddess in Brazilian religions – both Candomblé and Umbanda. As the Goddess of the Ocean, she’s the patron deity of the fishermen. She’s honored across the country on different dates depending on location…. In Salvador, Bahia (where we visited early this week) – Yemanjá is celebrated with huge feasts every February 2nd and December 8th. On February 2nd – thousands of people awake in the morning to leave gifts of flowers, perfume, jewelry and make up at her shrine in Rio Vermelho (where we stayed). These offerings are then gathered and taken out to the sea by local fisherman. Throughout the day mediums, (maes and filhas de santa) chant and dance to call the spirit of Yemanjá.  At night, there’s a huge street party in her honor. The second tribute in Salvador, the Gift to Yemanja, occurs on December 8 in the Pedra Furada, Monte Serrat with similar festivities. Back in Rio, Yemanja is honored on New Year’s Eve (Révellion, which we also celebrate at Sushi Samba) when millions of people dress in white and gather along the beach to toss white flowers to the sea in her honor and then watch the fireworks. Some people even send her gifts out to see in tiny wooden boats to pay their respect with the hope that she will fulfill their wishes in the coming year. And, in Sao Paulo – she’s celebrated the first two weekends of December on the shores of Praia Grande. Since Sao Paulo City is land-locked, many people decorate their cars with her image and colors and drive miles to Praia Grande beach to cast their offerings out to sea. Since we weren’t able to see it for ourselves – here’s a beautiful photo-documentary of it by artist Baden Powell – taken this year:

On Saturday night in Salvador, we ate dinner at Yemanjá (Av. Octavio Mangabeira 4655, Jardim Armacao) for a traditional Bahaian taste. Caju (Cashew Fruit), Passion Fruit and Kiwi Caipirinhas to wet the palate. Casquinha de Siri – traditional Brazilian dish made with crab meat. We tried this dish a few times here in Salvador, Bahia (where the recipe is said to have originated) and noted that it’s always served in a crab shell-like porcelain dish. Camarão ao Molho de Maracuja (shrimp with passion fruit sauce) served with rice and raisins. Heavy and sweet; another traditional favorite. (Rice and farofa in the background for the Moqueca) Moqueca Mista made with Pescada Amarela (Brazilian yellow fish) served with white rice and a classic side of Pirão (essentially a fish ‘gravy’ made from fish broth and cassava flour).  The Moqueca broth was served bubbling and all of the ingredients were totally submerged with the exception of some floating red tomatoes. So far throughout our trip every Moqueca (and feijoada) we’ve tasted has been served in a beautiful, traditional ‘Panela do Barro’ (handmade clay pot). It’s a very rustic look and it perfectly suits these hearty dishes.

How fitting that today is Roberto Burle Marx’s birthday and we just had the chance to walk his famed Copacabana sidewalk? Read more about his awesome work here. So great to learn something new every day! High five, Google.

Just last week (July 30), el bulli served its last meal. I can’t help but think of the time I spent there… of the friends I made… and the knowledge I gained along the way. The restaurant is an important part of history now, and the fact that Ferran and his team are transforming it into a foundation to keep the revolution going – is something that I truly admire. His movement has been the most important since the Escoffier era and it will continue to inspire us… As a cook, I want to say thank you for all of the curiosity and creativity that was generated in that kitchen – and for letting us know that everything in cooking can -and should – be questioned, because you never know what’s possible… Salut!

“Em meus livros, a vida brazileira revive…”

7pm: MyNYBAR: Pedroso Alvarenga, 1285, Itaim Bibi, www.mynybar.com.br – Get famous mixologists name – possible incorporate into samba.

One afternoon in Salvador, Koji, Mere, SS London Chef (sorry, can’t spoil the surprise) and I made a journey up to Ribeira on the northern coast of the city for the sole purpose of sorbet. But these weren’t just any kind of sorbet. Sorveteria da Ribeira is well-known throughout Salvador as ‘the’ place to go for sorbet – as

Graffiti in Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro:

BMW and the Guggenheim united in a clever partnership (August 3 – October 16) as the “BMW Guggenheim Lab” – a “mobile laboratory traveling around the world to inspire innovative ideas for urban life.” I learned about the Lab through a razor, a shiny knife – an incredible culinary/performance art group that I read about a few months ago in the NYT for the the multi-course meal they served on the L train. The way they’ve been able to bring food (as education, art and cuisine) into social, political, environmental topics is pretty awesome. Last night at the ‘Lab’ on East Houston Street, they presented “Edible Water: a study of hydrocolloids and water scarcity and potability around the world.” They shared stats on the world’s access to water, ie: In the U.S., each person has access to (and uses) approximately 600 liters per day… while in some rural areas of countries, like Kenya, people must walk 4-6 hours per day just to gather a few liters of polluted water. They went on to discuss the use of agar, sodium alginate and xanthan gum as thickening agents for water/liquids (to either a gel or sol) in the cooking process. Education on these two separate topics was bridged a razor, a shiny knife’s ‘culinary metaphor’ for the inaccessibility of water in more remote places of the world: Population with sustained access to an improved water source + ‘culinary expression’ based on hydrocolloids. Density = Inaccessibility due to Sourcing/Pollutants. US 100%  (no additives in sample) Peru 83%  (xanthan gum .2%) Fiji 47% (agar .5%) photo compares Peru and Fiji… so dense you can flip the cups over…: Ethopia   22% (agar 2%) Somalia  urban 63%, rural 10% (sodium alginate .8% and calcium chloride .5%) photo: They shared some great resources for learning more about the global water situation, including: OXFAM, The Water Project, UN WATER, UNICEF-WASH, Global Water Challenge, Water Charity, Water.org, and charity:water. To contribute to these efforts, SUSHISAMBA participates in UNICEF’s Tap Project annually.

One night in Rio we climbed the winding roads of Santa Teresa to Térèze Restaurant (inside Santa Teresa Hotel, Relais & Chateaux)(Rua Almirante Alexandrino, 660). Thankfully, our guide and friend in Rio, Gionia Belmonte, was able to get us a reservation on short notice, despite the restaurant’s local – and international – popularity. (More on Gionia and Rio CVB later…amazing people!). Chef Damien Montecer (from Gordon Ramsay, Alain Ducasse and Garcia & Rodriguez)  is known by many for his Franco-Brazilian style cooking. Of the more stand-out dishes: Pupunhas: slow cooked fresh palm heart with crunchy cured cheese and sugarcane dressing Moquecca Risotta: grilled tiger prawns flamed with Magnificia cachaça, colored peppers in palm oil, ginger, coconut and coriander risotto Rio-London-Paris: cooked dulce de leche roll, crumble, served with a peach sorbet

On our way from the airport into Salvador, Bahia we drove through a magnificent tunnel of bamboo…

In the U.S. we have Black, Pink and Halle Berry. In Brazil, they have YogoBerry:

Setting look familiar? MJ shows Salvador some love….

There are lots of cute girls in Rio.

dinner + live music

  Here are a few photos of the Catedral Metropolitana do Rio de Janeiro (Metropolitan Cathedral) where Gionia took us on our trip to Brazil this past summer. The church was built through the 1960s-1970s in honor of São Sebastião, the patron saint of Rio. Outside it reminded us of some sort of conical space craft… a ‘modern art’ style of cathedral. Inside, its massive stained glass windows bring a magical warmth and color to the space. It’s a must-see when you’re in Rio!  

Michael sent a great shot of the paiche he’s using for Miami Spice at SUSHISAMBA dromo: His dish is an Amazone Paiche Escabeche with local corn truffle crema, crispy sweet potato and snow peas. Looking for more on paiche? Check out our other posts by clicking here.

I took a photo journey back through our Brazil albums from this summer – there’s still so much to share with you! Here are a few shots of the acarajé we tried straight from a Baiana vendor in the streets of Pelourinho, Salvador. Acarajé is an example of the African influence on Brazilian cuisine. It’s made from dende oil-fried black-eyed peas and then stuffed with vatapá – a spicy shrimp/palm oil paste and caruru – a medley of vegetables and spicy sauce. Like many of the dishes in Brazil – we found it pretty heavy and decided to split 2 between the 4 of us.

Here’s a great weekend watch…Dan Barber lectures on how to keep fish on our menus:

8:03am, airport in Salvador. There’s nothing like a Bob’s Picanha 160G at for breakfast. Not to mention the complimentary sundae. Just ask Koji… Bob’s Burgers is Brazil’s #2 favorite fast food chain (behind McDonald’s).

There’s nothing like a bowl of sweet, warm roscas on a rainy Sunday… We just started serving them at both SUSHISAMBAs in NYC…. Michelle rolls them in citrus sugar and serves them warm with a side of white goma (sesame) and lucuma (peruvian stone fruit that tastes like maple syrup) sauces.

Luciano Pavarotti and Caetano Veloso sing Manhã de Carnaval, “Carnaval Morning” – one of the Bossa Nova movement’s most important songs…

Today my friend Carlos Naselli from Patagonic Beef dropped by with some great new olive oils for us to try from northern Argentina and Uruguay. The new Executive Chefs of our Las Vegas and London locations joined in…

A sneak preview just for our blog readers (we <3 you guys). Here’s a few top-contending dishes from our last pre-London tasting: Cured Scottish Salmon with aioli negro, green apple and avocado oil.

A sneak preview just for our blog readers! Here’s a few top-contending dishes from our last pre-London tasting. These ones move on to the finals… Cured Scottish Salmon with aioli negro, green apple and avocado oil. Queen Scallop Ceviche with sweet potatoes, peruvian corn and red jalapeño Ika Seviche with grapefruit, palmito and gooseberries Pickled Mackerel with aji amarillo, kabocha, pumpkin seeds and celery

We officially launched a gunkan section on Chicago’s menu! I’ve been interested in gunkan-maki since Timon’s and my visit to Peru last year. Gunkan, which mean ‘battleship’ in Japanese because of the way they look, are a Japanese tradition (usually filled with uni and ikura), but they’re being made in Peru in interesting new ways. Building from this concept, we’re taking our own approach – combining unique, fresh ingredients for awesome flavor. Wagyu with quail egg yolk, potato paille and sea salt   Foie Gras with nashi pear and eel sauce Salmon with ikura and cilantro Scallop with tobiko and jalapeño

SS has long focused on the idea of food and beverage pairings. The right wine/sake/cocktail paired with the right dish can bring out flavors that might otherwise be missed. We have an awesome Beverage Team and count on them for scouting out new sakes, vinos and liquors that can expand our offerings and our education. There’s so much to taste! Recently in NYC, Cody swung by the Martin Scott Grand Tasting, The Wines of Japan portfolio tasting, and an exclusive Chablis Tasting at the David Bouley Test Kitchen in Tribeca. Here are a few of his picks… Click the bottles/logo for more details. How about a shochu with a green tea ice cream finish?  

Reporting live from the Korean Market in Miami.

Lee’s latest special at SSrio in Chicago: Robata Gulf Prawns and Scallops served with white and green asparagus tips,  shiro miso, ginger and shichimi togarashi. From Lee: “We have been getting some beautiful u-8 head-on Texas Gulf shrimp, and U-10 Dayboat scallops from New Bedford, thought I would incorporate them with the asparagus and some local grape tomatoes.  The Shiro miso is a sweet white miso that works to really highlight the freshness of the seafood.”

A few weekends ago we attended Ferran Adria’s book signing for his latest: The Family Meal. I’ve been interested in this book since I first learned about it… remembering the perfectly timed, 20 minute meals together in the dining room of El Bulli. It was something the team took seriously in principle – but the food itself was very down to earth. Like the food you’d eat at home, with family. It’s an idea I instill here at Sushisamba, too. Photography: Jeff Carvalho/Selectism.com At the signing Ferran shared his thoughts on knowledge, cooking, learning, Spain and the culinary world through Spanish eyes. He commented on the world’s fascination with the idea of sharing – constantly, informally and as much as possible (read: Twitter generation). It’s a global way of being that has influenced cuisine and instigated the dawn of a new culinary style: the gastropub. For The Family Meal Ferran and his team began re-thinking the idea of staff eating. They didn’t want to serve frozen items – they wanted nourishing food that everyone could enjoy. Ferran noted that while he loved offal and tripe – these weren’t ingredients that everyone would be excited about. Together they began thinking of family meal ‘menus’ in the same way you’d plan a collection of recipes and organized dishes for restaurant guests. In this way, family meals became both thoughtful and more efficient. The cook book is truly the family meal – meals for home – because the recipes are practical, cost-conscious and supportive of more ‘universal’ tastes. As Ferran summed it up, “It’s a social book.”    

El bulli- first restaurant that separated creativity from production. They wanted a workshop to be able to create dishes without feeding. This is a bit more transcendent and pretentious… A way to better understand. A restaurant 1718 concept dates back to. For thousands of years chefs have been trying to define what they do through restaurants. When we’re talking about the highest level of creativity (pretentious) it requires concentration. You have to be mentally and physically prepared. For a four hour tasting u must have some sense of control – with focus and alcohol. At el bulli he felt they reached their limit in what they felt a restaurnat represented- felt they needwd a new scenario to push the limits. What is the limit of cuisine? At the highest level of pretentious? A cook has to cook. Artists can do things w food but not cooking- that’s totally different. So we need a new scenario. Its harder and harder to create in all disciplines. Avant guard cuisine- keep talent in mind. trying new things. What’s the next step? We might push the levels so much that we may become too much like perfomance. In a tasting a chef is not just feeding u- he’s establishing a dialogue with you. About life and food…  

“In Brazil, skirt steak is common component of churrasco – served with sweet plantains and chimichurri. For this dish I wanted to incorporate our Peruvian roots so, instead of plantains I created a purple potato croquette and zucchini fritters. And, rather than a heavier chimichurri I created a bibb lettuce based salsa verde…. It’s always exciting to create something new- on the platform of tradition.”  – Guillermo, SSPark

Guillermo ran a beautiful special at SSPark recently: Coho Salmon Tiradito with avocado, orange segments, tomburi, jalapeño and citrus shiro sauce. Most Coho Salmon (also known as Silver Salmon or Blueback) in the United States come from the North Pacific Coast – where they are most abundant. We got this one in from Alaska!      

 #1 Miso mustard marinated duck brest, with mushrooms and truffle quinoto and chesse crocant. – Guillermo, Park  

 

“This week we got some beautiful, Big-Eye Tuna and I wanted to play with some alternative presentations of sashimi. The tuna is rubbed with red yuzu kosho and rolled around cucumber julienne – then topped with bright tobiko and crisp garlic. The sauce is an emulsification of white soy, sesame oil and garlic-steeped milk.” – Lee, SS rio in Chicago

On Halloween, Cheech & Chong took over the kitchen at SSdromo in Miami. We would’ve told you sooner except we weren’t sure how things were going to go over… But, as it turned out, they’re pretty awesome chefs. And, to everyone’s surprise, they know how to use more than one kind of herb.    

You are now entering… the hon-shimeji forest. In fact, hon-shimeji (or white beech mushrooms cultivated with the patented methods of hon-shimeji) grow in little ‘bouquets’ to protect each other. But we liked the idea of a hon-shimeji forest.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! <3, the chefs of SUSHISAMBA (Here are a few shots of our Mojo-Roasted Turkey…. Time to get your gobble on!) Miami’s presentation… NYC’s presentation….

Michael launched Miami’s new menu last week – with an exciting response. Here’s a shot of his Braised Veal Osso Buco…. a 16oz center-cut, braised veal shank served with cauliflower purée and a smoked fuji apple-parsley salad dressed with apple cider vinegar. Ah, winter in Miami!

A little somethin’-somethin’ to kick off the evening affair at SUSHISAMBA dromo. Michael’s green apple tuna tartar with truffled tofu crema and American caviar. Now say that five times fast.   Green apple tuna tartar with truffled tofu crema and American caviar.

Famous Brazilian architect (and Sushi Samba’s favorite) Oscar Niemeyer turned 104 today! His modern, concrete-based works are known – and located – internationally (from the cities of Brazil to the Mondadori headquarters in Italy to the UN in NYC). Sushi Samba dromo in Miami is named after the Sambadromo (pictured above) in Rio de Janeiro. We pulled the shot above ‘O Rio de Antigamente’ blog. They have some other awesome vintage photos of Brasil to check out…

  From Guillermo at SSpark in NYC….Red Snapper a la Plancha with parsnip purée, charred asparagus, kuromitsu and yuzu- kosho butter with micro tortilla salad.    

A few weeks ago the Culinary and Beverage teams united for our first official ‘Cocktail Sessions.’ Drew (our Beverage Director) and I have been anxious to try out some more culinary-driven recipes and innovative styles of execution. We started things off with a housemade aji amarillo syrup for spice, cachaça for a Brazilian kick, some sweet mango – and fresh basil. I’ll start posting the recipes for you to try at home (give a shout if you have any questions!) Stay tuned for some shots from the second sessions…. Ingredients: .5 oz aji amarillo syrup 1.5 oz cachaca .5 oz fresh mango juice .5 oz fresh passion fruit juice .5 oz fresh lime juice 1 oz. prosecco 3 leaves, muddled fresh basil notes: next time around – reduce passion fruit, add more spice!

Koji’s secret ingredient? Extra spicy sun.

New York Restaurant week is onnnn (and you don’t want to miss it)! Here’s one of Victor’s dishes from SS7… Chupe de Camarones with fresh shrimp, tomato, poached egg, and toast    

Bocuse d’Or USA 2012 National Competition Program, The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York, January 28-29, 2012 Invited by Nespresso – our coffee partner – and sponsor of the competition   Chef Paul Bocuse created the Bocuse d’Or World Cuisine Contest in 1987 together with GL Events, in order to broaden the public’s understanding of the extraordinary dedication, hard work, practice and precision required to execute the very finest cuisine.   The Bocuse d’Or World Cuisine Contest is the most rigorous international culinary competition, held every two years in Lyon, France. Twenty-four countries out of sixty national selections, three continental selections in an eighteenth month period, are selected to compete, and each country’s team is comprised of one chef and one commis assistant. Each team is provided five and a half hours to create two elaborate platter presentations, one centered around seafood and one on meat, each accompanied by three original garnishes. THe platters are presented before twenty four judges, each of whom is amont the most esteemed chefs in his/her own country. The judges evaluate the overall harmony of flavors in the dish, the presentation of the platter, the techniques employed and the efficiency in which the teams work.   – Pulled from guide Sunday, Jan 29, 2012   William Bradley and James Haibach Danny Cerqueda and Marianne Elyse Warrick   Jeffrey Lizotte and Kevin Curley Richard Rosendale, The Greenbrier, Executive Chef, White Sulphur Springs, WV with Commis Corey Siegel, The Greenbrier, Jr Apprentice present: Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, Jerome Bocuse, Grant Achatz, Daniel Humm, Shaun Hergatt, George Mendes, Jacques Pepin

From Guillermo at SSpark: Since all of the chefs have been sharing ideas, I took inspiration from a recent London tasting. Chef [whose-name-can’t-be-revealed-yet] ‘deconstructed’ a feijoada, a classic Brazilian stew made from pork and beans. Here, I’ve taken his execution of pork tail (braised and then pan-seared for a ‘crust’ on the outside) and added some interesting texture to the dish with the creaminess of kabocha purée and the crunch of edamame. The black bean salad serves as a refreshing balance.          

A Salmon Confit special from Michael in Miami: “I wanted to utilize the salmon belly in a way that is shareable and different. I confit it in its own fat, sous vide. The belly is chopped and mixed with wasabi, lemon and lime zest, and chives. The combination is cooked sous vide for an hour and then seared a la plancha.”

Michael with Chefs Sean Brasel and E. Michael Reidt at Dinner in Paradise on March 11, 2012! (From www.paradisefarms.net): Dinner in Paradise at Paradise Farms features the finest chefs in Miami preparing a delicious five course meal made with local organic products and paired with fine wines. The magic and charm of our lush edible landscape coupled with the finest chefs in Miami creates a uniquely intimate dining experience under the stars. Each year, we donate proceeds to a local charity or organization philosophically in line with our vision of sustainable, healing, and healthy organic food. This year we are sponsoring Youth L.E.A.D., Slow Food Miami, and Troy Community Academy.     Jill picking flowers for the aperitivo presentation! From Mere: Michael, what’s the name of that flower so that we can include it on IngredientBlog? From Michael: That flower is called Zombie’s Claw and is indigenous to South Florida. I just made that up. Scholars maintain that we may never know the true name and origin of this majestic plant. Ok, I made that up too. I don’t know. Working on it… 10 minutes later… It’s a Butea, which means, Flame of the Forest.   Chef Michael looking dapper at work.  

Jill's Avocado Mousse at SSDromo

Jill recently launched some great new desserts at our Miami location, including this Avocado Mousse with crispy rice, black sesame sponge and candied citrus. As she describes it…. Brazilians, as well as in my Filipino culture, use avocado as a fruit. I wanted to pull this notion onto our dessert menu – with the Japanese influence of crispy rice and black sesame sponge. I use kumquats, which are in season right now, to give the dessert a kick. I love citrus in everything.    

Chef Herb’s rockin’ out to Cool Calm Pete…  

From the latest Peruvian Happy Hour menu… Jalea de Calamar with tomato, red onion and red pepper. Photo/Execution Props to Guillermo @SSPark:

  Edward Fruit Skewers Hands in the kitchen at SSdromo in Miami.

We’ve been excited for spring’s arrival, and with it,  all of the wonderful new products to work with! We received fresh rhubarb and I was inspired to create a Coconut Manjar Blanco with poached rhubarb, shiso coulis, raspberry meringue and a tart rhubarb sorbet. The flavors and colors are our welcoming party to spring…. – from Jill @ SS dromo in Miami We’ve been excited for spring to come, new products to work with. We got fresh rhubarb and got inspired with it. It’s coconut Manjar blanco, sous vide rhubarb, shiso coulis, raspberry meringue and tart rhubarb sorbet. The flavors and colors are our welcoming party to spring….

Alinea’s Chocolate Finale dessert is one fit for a table, literally. As a large sheet of grey silicone is draped over the diners’ table, servers gather around the table and place small bowl after small bowl of nougats, chocolates, sauces, herbs, and other sweet delicacies around the table. The servers step away as the chef walks out and approaches the table. The chef then begins to paint and create a dessert masterpiece right before the diners’ eyes. Tastes: chocolate, blueberry, caramel, honey, peanut. Photo Props to www.cookingforengineers.com!

Our very own “samurai”, Drew Peterson, the Corporate Beverage Director of SUSHISAMBA. The picture was taken in a small mountain town in Japan, where he was taking his sake-smarts to the next level (II) as part of a Master’s degree in sake certification (that can only be accomplished in Japan.) In addition to learning all about sake, Drew also discovered a lot about Japanese cuisine, especially in regards to the preparation of sashimi. Like Koji, Mere and I – he ventured through Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market – the largest fish market in the world. The Tsukiji fish market exports fish all over and always has a huge selection of fresh seafood. We’ll be working with Drew a lot more on the culinary side – including some exciting pairings to go with NYC’s upcoming Restaurant Week.  

“Perú Sabe: Cuisine as an Agent of Social Change” is an upcoming documentary featuring world-renowned chefs Ferran Adrià and Gastón Acurio who join together to show how new recipes and culinary education/human development is progressing in Perú through gastronomy. The documentary explores how food can bring people together from all around the world to create social change. As Gastón Acurio explains, “The power of cuisine is finally used not only to cheer up the people who eat the food, but mostly, to transform the lives of the people who surround it.” The documentary will be released in the Fall of 2012. Can’t wait.

Now say that 5 times fast… Photo/Execution Props to Guillermo @SSPark Inspired by the many amazing products that Peru has to offer, this brightly-colored, refreshing salmon special reflects the summery tastes it has to offer. The salmon is cooked a la plancha [grilled on a metal plate] and served over quinoa with asian pear and apple salad. To top it off: super fresh and raw, red and yellow beets, radishes, yuzu (an East Asian citrus fruit), and olive oil. A chicha morada (typical Peruvian beverage) reduction and lemon gel are added to the plate to round out all the flavors and complete the dish. 

The latest special from the kitchen of  SSPark….::tipped hat to Guille:: Grilled hanger steak with chimichurri frisée, fingerling potato salad, and cherry tomatoes – topped off with salsa criolla. The tomatoes add exciting texture and acid to the dish. The chimichurri friseé is a great ‘weight’ balance to the dish – but also a fun new pairing of chimichurri and steak, which, at Samba has been a longtime match made in heaven.  

I’m a big believer of using high quality ingredients, and can always count on great results when I am confident with what I put in to a dish. Whenever I can, I shop at the farmers market – Union Square in NYC has a great one. This time of year is my favorite to explore all that the farmers markets has to offer and try different ingredients, especially when I can be in the sun! If you’re a first-timer to the farmers market, here are a few helpful tips from the Union Square Farmers Market website. The Union Square Farmers Market (photo thanks to: daleschierholt.blogspot.com)

This little savory bite is one that will certainly ‘amuse’ your palate. A baked clam topped with dried miso, wasabi cream, and bacon is a winning flavor combination that will leave you wanting more than just one…. Created by Chef Michael Bloise in the Sushi Samba Dromo Kitchen!

  We’re here in London!! – counting down to the opening later this month. Mere forced me to post this photo (Koji took it). As you can see, SS London has some awesome views of The City – and the Gherkin building, our neighbor. We’re here in London – counting down to the opening later this month. Hope to post some shots of the kitchen later this week… Stay tuned.  

One of the newest additions to the SSP dessert menu are the ricotta fritters with fig jam and almond brittle ice cream. These warm, fluffy fritters pair well with the sweetness of the jam and the coolness of the ice cream. Already a crowd favorite, these little airy bites are sure to give you a taste of what summer is all about (in the Samba kitchen?) Compliments to Chef Michelle for an amazing dessert creation!

One of the newest additions to the SSPark dessert menu (compliments to Michelle) are these ricotta fritters with fig jam and almond brittle ice cream.

From Michelle at SSPark: Agave cake drizzled with agave syrup topped with a strawberry rhubarb compote with edible flowers, tofu crema, and garnished with rhubarb chips. Ah, summer.

In honor of restaurant week, I thought I’d show a little preview of what’s to come at SSPark. This is the Nikkei Tuna Tiradito with gooseberry, maize cancha, key lime ponzu, and crispy nori garnish. It’s like a fancy version of thinly-sliced tuna sashimi with a mild yet tangy soy-sauce.

If summer was a soup it would taste like… Gooseberries, red plums, kiwi, edible flowers, and balls of watermelon and cantaloupe – topped with lychee sorbet and garnished with gold leaves. Finished with chilled chamomile-melon soup… poured table side. Spoon cheers go to Michelle from SS Park.

A brief history lesson to honor the Peruvian roots of SUSHISAMBA! Fiesta Virgen del Carmen is a 4-day festival that takes places in Paucartambo, Peru. July 16 is the central day when the Virgin Carmen (shown above) is paraded around the town, blessing all spectators and keeping demons away. This is all represented through cool dances and brightly colored costumes. Photo props to: http://www.apus-peru.com/trip-planning/virgen_of_carmen.htm

salmon 7 ways

  Brazilian Independence Day is September 7, and has been celebrated every year since Brazil broke free from the Portuguese in 1822. There are many different celebration events in New York, Miami, just to name a few.  More info from: http://gosouthamerica.about.com/od/brahistory/qt/IndependenceDay.htm Possible picture: http://www.confinednomad.com/?cat=76

From http://gosouthamerica.about.com/od/limacult/qt/SaintRose.htm : Saint Rose, born Isabel De Flores Y Del Oliva in Lima, Peru on 20 April, 1586, and after a life of constant struggle, died there 30 August, 1617. She was beatified by Clement IX, in 1667, and canonized in 1671 by Clement X, becoming the first American saint. Represented in numerousimages wearing a crown of roses, her feast day is celebrated 30 August.

Kuri is a Japanese chestnut harvested in the fall, and a favorite seasonal food for many. They are a symbol of autumn and can be eaten once boiled, or cooked with rice. Info from: http://japanese.about.com/library/blhiraculture8.htm Picture possibility (let me know!): http://japanesefood.best100japan.com/japanese-food-ingredients/unique-and-tasty-japanese-vegetables-and-nuts.html/attachment/minolta-digital-camera-2

No need to trek to J.R.R. Tolkein’s Lonely Mountain to track down a dragon. You can try our rainbow dragon roll anytime!  It’s made with savory eel, crunchy red bell pepper, creamy avocado and sweet mango.

ring, ring ring.. SS is calling you from London! Come visit!

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This weekend Jill created a can’t-be-missed Melting Dulce de Leche Cake with port marshmallows, passion fruit gelee and lucuma ice cream. After 14 sold – we’d like to officially petition another round. Melting Dulce de Leche Cake = Melted Will Power

From Chef Jeff across the Pond: TACU-TACU! black beans, rice with chili, plantains and fried egg. Garnished with spring onion, pickled onion and a fresh wedge of lime. According to The Peru Guide, Tacu-Tacu is a prime example of Afro-Peruvian cuisine. Today the dish is prepared a la minute in many different styles around Lima.

Thomas Keller stopped by the Las Vegas location for lunch, posing with Sous Chefs Bobby Silva (left) and Rob Juan (right).

SUSHISAMBA London’s Head Pastry Chef Jerome Guerlet’s Organic Red Chocolate Chili Peppers with Peruvian chili mousse, red pepper tuile, raspberry-red pepper sorbet and chocolate crumble has the perfect amount of heat we need to stay warm this winter!

Famous Chef and Restaurateur Gordon Ramsay enjoyed live scallop tiradito with hot sesame oil and yuzu while dining at SUSHISAMBA strip. Prior to leaving, he posed for a picture with Sushi Sous Chef Joe Richardson, expressing his appreciation for young, creative chefs.

Set your sights on this savory dish by Chef Guillermo for SUSHISAMBA park’s RW dinner menu: Sake and Soy-Braised Short Ribs with aji panca polenta. More to come!

Our trip to Japan inspired the Omakase Dinner Series in Chicago. We wanted guests to experience the culinary traditions of each region’s cuisine. Above is Chawanmushi, a classic egg custard dish, whose main ingredient is ginkgo. Give the restaurant a call to sign up. The dates are Feb. 1, 8, 15 and 22.

Acarajé is traditional Brazilian street food composed of black-eyed peas shaped into balls and prepared in dendê oil. Check out the ones we ate in Salvador, Bahia: http://ingredientblog.com/?s=acaraje. We’re serving our own take on acarajé for Carnaval: Duck Confit Acarajé of cilantro crema and gremolata (pictured above). 

Recently, we’ve been reading and watching clips on The Perennial Plate to learn about ways in which other chefs are balancing being “socially responsible and adventurous eating.” Props to Chef Lee for discovering this awesome site!

SUSHISAMBA park Executive Chef Pedro Duarte’s latest creation: Causita Classica of colossal crab, avocado brunoise and nori strips. It’s our take on a classic Peruvian causa, which is traditionally made of mashed potato dumplings combined with onion, key lime, chili and a protein or shellfish.

Mushroom Dumplings with maitake, hon shimeji (mushrooms native to Japan), carrot purée and crispy pork by SUSHISAMBA dromo Chef de Cuisine Brian Nasajon. We just can’t get enough!

SUSHISAMBA NYC Pastry Chef Michelle Duran demo-ed how to make spring seviche (fruit & veggies) for youngsters at Kids Food Fest in Bryant Park as part of Cooking Light and JBF’s initiative to promote healthy eating.  

An inspired special from SUSHISAMBA park’s chef and resident culinary artist, Chen: shrimp tempura, asparagus and jalapeño wrapped in big-eye tuna and rice paper, served with a trio of sauces.

SUSHISAMBA New York Pastry Chef Michelle Duran’s Caramelia Chocolate Mousse with coffee ice cream and yamazaki milk foam from Taste of Greenwich House. Yamazaki is Japanese, medium-bodied whiskey that is the perfect complement to the flavors of the chocolate and coffee.       *photo by ©2013 Ebbe Sweet

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2013 marked Corporate Sushi Chef Koji Kagawa (sandwiched between SUSHISAMBA Managing Partners Matthew Johnson and Shimon Bokovza) 10-yr Anniversary with the company. A celebration breakfast was in order! Way to go Koj!

SUSHISAMBA London Executive Chef Cláudio Cardoso’s lunch special – Lobster Tempura with truffle and yuzu coconut sauce – is enough to work up any appetite.

SUSHISAMBA London Bar Manager Richard Woods held a tutorial on the Tonka Bean Old-Fashioned (Plantation Barbados 5 year infused with the powerful spice of tonka beans from the kumaru tree in South America, finished with star anise and Benedictine) in the Noma Lab – part of The Lab festival – where he discussed the importance of aroma in mixology and how it can affect perception of taste.

We were honored to host San Pellegrino’s “The World’s 50 Best Chef Luncheon” following the Award’s ceremony. Our London chefs rubbed elbows with winners, including the brothers behind the #1 restaurant, El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain: Executive Chef Joan Roca, Pastry Chef Jordi Roca and Head Sommelier Josep Roca! The Roca brothers (no. 1 on the list) pose with Arzak Head Chef Juan Mari Arzak (no. 8 on the list) and SUSHISAMBA London Executive Chef Cláudio Cardoso and Sous Chef Daniel Fernandez. This was Osteria Francescana Head Chef Massimo Bottura’s (no. 3 on the list) second round! He just couldn’t get enough, speed-walking to the serving counter, grabbing platters and  promptly delivering them to other chefs at the luncheon.

    We did the math (thanks, Google Maps). It’s 1,376 miles from NYC to Coral Gables. If we start driving now we’ll make it there for dinner and dessert tomorrow… Check out the Key Lime Tart (sugar sphere, crispy key lime, strawberry gelée, yuzu-basil granite) – an incredible creation launching on this week’s opening menu!

Specialty roll from SUSHISAMBA London: crab mayonnaise wrapped in shiso leaf and daikon shaving, then topped with scallop, truffle and crispy sweet potatoes for crunch. It is served with a beautifully colored yuzu-beetroot sauce.

To celebrate, our sushi chefs in Miami Beach and Coral Gables made a special roll for June 18th – the Baransu- of Alaskan king crab, shrimp tempura, avocado, crispy sweet potato, truffle and aji amarillo.

So we caught up with pastry chef Jerome Guerlet who is traveling across the nation with a new dessert program for all SS locations! (You can check out the new menu at SUSHISAMBA Miami, Coral Gables and both NYC locations so far). Peach Tiradito is a new summer dessert that he created. Here’s his inspiration:               My Peach Tiradito is connection between the Kitchen and Pastry. My first idea for this came from the hot kitchen – the technique and simplicity of beef carpaccio or salmon tiradito. The thin, precise cuts used for these plates is exactly what I applied to my peaches. I use black pepper for seasoning because the peaches work so well with the freshness of the black pepper. I also thought about the aroma of fruits from summer and to develop a “punch” of flavor to poach my peaches. To bring the creation full circle, I used coconut and lime to make it very fresh and light – like a tiradito. For me, the Peach Tiradito encompasses SUSHISAMBA, seasonality, culinary technique, texture and most importantly – passion.  

Our Chef Shoyo Iida’s latest creation (SUSHISAMBA dromo in Miami), the Bakudan Maki, is a crispy fried spicy tuna roll with asparagus and Catupiri cream sauce, topped with butter squash and watermelon garlic ginger chili sauce. He wanted to create a roll with an incredible texture contrast.  Well, let’s just say this hits the spot.

Peruvian Independence Day

Peruvian Flag

  Today is Peruvian National Independence Day! We’re celebrating this meaningful holiday at SUSHISAMBA strip with a dish by Chef John inspired by Peru’s national flag! Feliz 28!!! ¡buen provecho!   Source: CIA Factbook

Here’s a virtual taste of Chef Cesar Vega’s (SUSHISAMBA Dromo) newest side dish – Quinoa Chaufa – coming to all SUSHISAMBA locations this month. Red quinoa, chopped baby carrots, pickled fresno chilies, fried sweet plantains – chaufa style…   “It’s a marriage of Peruvian and Japanese cuisine- keeping my vegan friends in mind.” – Cesar

What’s going down at the Strip? Here’s a Panko-fried fried Peruvian Bay scallop, torched with yuzu-miso butter, wasabi tobiko, fresh wasabi foam, and miso-salt coated chive made by our very own Chef John.

Crafted by Chef John, we present a caipirinha refined and redefined: Leblon Cachaca, yuzu cordial, St. Germain, splash of sparkling Moscatel, Cave Amadeu, and a couple drops of Grenadine! Then, paired with a sake-mirin-soy marinated salmon topped with Leche de Tigre purée. Now, this is what happens when bar meets sushi at SUSHISAMBA Las Vegas!!!

Chef Claudio from London brings a refreshing summer on to the plate!  The Strawberry Snow Crab Maki has cucumber, avocado, kanpyo, tempura flakes, sesame seed, strawberry, snow crab and yuzu tobiko, topped with yuzu dressing and wasabi mayo.

Check out Chef Brian Nasajon’s sweet quinoa oatmeal from the new breakfast menu at SUSHISAMBA Coral Gables! Here’s his inspiration: “I really wanted to modernize a traditional breakfast staple and stay true to SUSHISAMBA flavors. Since oatmeal has been my favorite breakfast dish since I was a child, when my mother used to sprinkle brown sugar on top, I decided to start playing around with different ideas. One of my greatest challenges in cooking is creating delicious and interesting dishes that are also healthy.  Health is extremely important to me, so I kept it in mind as I began creating this dish, which is where the final decision to use quinoa came from.“

  Chef John Um presents a tasty 1/2oz seared wagyu beef tiradito with corn oil, truffle peel, fried garlic, fried onion, Asian pear, breadcrumbs, and pink pepper corn.   

Introducing the newest creation by Chef John, here is the High ROLLer! Featuring: lobster, tuna, foie gras aioli, caviar, and a splash of rum gold. #winning

Sweet shrimp with yuzu butter curd

Another great creation by Chef John Um… sweet shrimp with yuzu butter curd, shiso fumi furikake with just a touch of kaiware.

From Chef Claudio in London: the Golden quail egg with mango caviar, hamachi and poppy candy.  

Over in Las Vegas, Chef John Um has developed a special dish that is a feast for both the eyes and the tongue.  Seared Katsuo Bonito sushi with aji panca radish, scallion, grated ginger, and ponzu jelly.

Chef John Um was spending time in the Las Vegas kitchen and wanted to transform our “half lobster tempura” dish into a sushi roll. Inside: mango, avocado Outside Top: lobster tempura, sugar snap peas, snow peas, pea shoots Sauce: (instead of spicy mayo) lemongrass aioli, black truffle vinegarette

Chef Claudio from London’s newest creation: pollock tempura with corn flakes, citrus sweet soy and shichimi togarashi.

No need to trek to the lake to fish out a yummy meal. Chef Claudio from London has got you covered with his latest special: mackerel marinated in dendê oil and orange with fennel coleslaw and calamata powder.

Chef John Um’s brilliant color wheel of sushi: Rainbow Tiradito, including tuna with ponzu salad and garlic chips; Yellowtail with chimichurri aioli and cherry tomato; Salmon with aji amarillo-cheese, heart of palm and lava salt; Fluke with lemongrass aioli, radish and micro shiso; Scallop with blueberry sauce and dehydrated blueberry. Las Vegas must be feeling lucky!

Choice of 5 or 10 piece special nigiri sushi omakase with custom toppings from Chef John Um in Las Vegas. “I created this special with over 25 unique toppings. Each piece was brushed with a glaze of house-made soy-dashi and then carefully garnished.” Perfection by the piece.

To be a chef is also to be an artist. In London, Chef Claudio’s new amuse-bouche features a homemade smoked duck breast, pickled orange and orange caviar.

Have you ever encountered mushrooms in a sushi dish? Over in Las Vegas, Chef John Um remixed our mushroom tobanyaki recipe into a maki roll just in time for Autumn! Inside: cucumber, avocado, onion Top: 0.5 ounces of seared wagyu beef, mushroom, mushroom coconut sauce, garlic chips, shredded green onion

From Chef Claudio in London: duck gyozas with plums and orange, homemade sweet chilli, and rocket.

Today’s special: 秋刀魚 (Sanma /Saury / Pike Mackerel )     Over in Las Vegas, Chef John Um paid an early morning visit to the fish market to hand pick fresh mackerel fillets. Right now is the perfect season for mackerel in Japan!

Found on [garfield.com].

From Chef John Um, Shizuoka kanpachi sushi with black sesame creme, chili oil, and intense micro free mix

“Marbling is influenced by both selective breeding and the time & type of feed” “Feeding a high amount of cereal grains (corn or barley) will provide optimal marbling”   A5 grade Wagyu at the “Sake & The City II: Discover Japanese Wagyu” with Youske Yamaguchi

“The optimal temperature for Wagyu’s flavor release is at 176 degrees F (80 degrees C) & the aroma of peach and coconut is  released” Wagyu tasting at the “Sake & The City II: Discover Japanese Wagyu” with Youske Yamaguchi

“Sake & The City II”  

  Baked Blue Crab with fire-roasted peppers and corn, manchego cheese, aji amarillo, plantain chips and herb salad from Chef Jason Mousseau at SUSHISAMBA Chicago

   What goes into our yuzu tart cheesecake? A sugar sphere, graham cracker crumble, baked meringue, shiso ice cream, fresh strawberries and orange candy zest! The technique for making the beautiful sugar sphere is similar to the blowing glass process.

Picarones! Peruvian-style doughnuts accompanied with a seasonal butternut squash sabayon from Chef Alyssa.

doce de leite ice cream, caramelized baby bananas, coconut flan, coconut mochi, caramel popcorn, fresh berries from Chef Alyssa

mango tapioca pudding, lime cake, pineapple brulée, coconut-lime sorbet, coconut tuile by Chef Alyssa

Kojis, ari roll – Avocado, crab meat, yellowtail, paprika tenkatsu, red radish, jalapeno,  jalapeno sauce, smoked paprika sauce By Chef Matthew Ting

Salmon tartare, orange ponzu, soy cracker and Rocket cress from Chef Claudio. The dish shows great contrast of colors and textures.  

Craving fish? Chef Claudio has cooked up a special sea bass agemono with togarashi and lime mayo.

Who says you can’t play with your food? Over in London, Chef Claudio has created basketball sushi!

How do you start off a good meal? Chef John Um matches fresh squid with a sweet orange coconut sauce for an amazing seviche dish.

What would Chef John serve at a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner? A Wild Ocean Trout Salmon Roll made with strawberries, asparagus, pickled onion, strawberry aioli, chili crisps and fresh chives.

How does Chef Claudio prepare lobster? His Lobster Tempura dish contains furikake, wasabi tobikko, lime mayonnaise and macadamia!

Craving sushi for Valentine’s Day dinner? Our heart no houseki maki is made with tuna, salmon, yellowtail, yuzu-washed apple and topped with ikura, dill and a dashi-saffron gelée. For a little extra kick in flavor, we serve it with chimichurri, tomato purée and a spicy aioli.

With Carnaval coming up, we decided to remix the classic Brazilian cocktail into a Kiwi Caipirinha. This delectable drink is made with chopped kiwi, Leblon cachaça, pernod, apple juice, fresh lime juice and simple syrup. Bottoms up!

Chef Claudio’s special entrée is a thing of beauty. This dish is comprised of suckling pig, orange sections and kabocha purée!

How do we revamp one of Italy’s most beloved classic dishes? Instead of arborio rice, we use quinoa. Our quinotto andino is topped with sautéed wild mushrooms, manchego cheese and truffle oil!

Is that a bird’s nest on Chef Claudio’s Easter dinner table? No! He’s serving a beautiful slow cooked ‘golden’ egg accompanied with japanese mushrooms, yuzu soy and crispy leeks.

How sweet is this? The London team’s been hard at work crafting delicious new desserts. Our Banana Mousse features a chicha morada sugar sphere, panko-crusted banana, miso caramel ice cream and peanut tuile.

Chef Claudio is teasing us with his amuse-bouche, Kituna Maki! It’s made up of yellow tail and tobiko.

Prepare to be swooned after eating our Passion Fruit Cake made of green tea and white chocolate ganache, raspberry sorbet, coconut tuile, fresh raspberries and passion fruit!

Chef John’s hands have created perfection which comes in the form of a Moqueca Roll. This roll is dropping [lobster] heads everywhere!

There’s nothing fresher than drinking our Matcha Pisco with matcha tea-infused pisco, orange liqueur and pineapple syrup. Shaken ‘sour’ style with lemon and egg white.

We just can’t tear our eyes away from this hamachi sushi special! Fresh fish meets caviar, foie gras and teriyaki eel sauce made “temari style.”

smoked plum negroni (1)

Are you in that mood to just plum around? Then come and drink our Smoked Plum Negroni (London) made of Hibiki whisky, Aperol, sweet vermouth and umeshu. This delicious drink is then stirred down and served over ice.

Chef Claudio is spicing it up with this new abuse bouche, a turbot involtini with pepper textures and aji panca. I don’t think I would mind if this was jalapen-my business.

We know how much Mom means to you. That’s why we crafted a delicious drink especially for Mother’s Day; it’s made with rose liqueur, guava juice, rhubarb bitters and prosecco. Cheers!

What’s shaking with our bartenders? The Sambatini special for May has a cornucopia of flavors! It’s made with Pisco Portón, mango rum, coconut rum, lime, yuzu, mango nectar and orange bitters.

Chef Claudio got us wonton more with his Duck & Chorizo Gyoza with kaboocha and orange purée, chorizo snow and su soya!

Chef Claudio is crunching it up with Crispy Temaki of Hamachi; this dish is served with aji verde, sesame powder, volcanic salt, vanilla and lime aroma.

What goes great with shichimi-caramel and peruvian chocolate? A sweet batch of warm churros!

Fire up your appetite for our Samba ‘S’mores’! Lúcuma ice cream, peruvian chocolate, shichimi-graham cracker and flaming marshmallow come together for a unique dessert on a stick!

Chef John Um is making us drool over this King Salmon Roll made with asparagus/cucumber/avocado roll, rolled in quinoa and topped with beautifully folded king salmon, coconut salt and a Honey-Aji Amarillo Truffle sauce.

Chef John Um is jazzing it up with sushi that makes us hear trumpets with this Aka-Yagara (a.k.a. Red-Trumpet fish) from Shizuoka, Japan served with Hazelnut-Yuzu sauce and topped with drizzled Hazlenut Oil, Hazlenut crumbs, sea salt, and micro cilantro.

There’s no way you can’t be greedy over this Live Scallop Sushi by Chef John Um. This delicious sushi has lightly-torched scallops with a passion fruit sauce, grapefruit seviche veg mix, plantain chips and topped with crispy chili strings & crispy collard greens.

Come and enjoy delicious rolls found at London such as the SS London Sushi made with salmon, hamachi, yuzu, cucumber, rice crackers, sweet potato, Takuwan, chives and homemade chili sauce.

Clink Clink! Our Watermelon Baja is a long mix of Aperol and cachaça, churned with fresh watermelon and grapefruit juice. Agave brings a sweet touch to this refreshingly bitter drink.

Hooray for Mundial 2014! We have so many treats planned for our month-long World Cup celebration. One of our specials, the Braised Pork Belly Lettuce Wraps, packs a flavorful kick thanks to a little pickled cucumber and sliced jalapeños.

We’re passionate about passion fruit! Fresh passion fruit, a sweet passion fruit sugar, cachaça and Benedictine are churned together with ice and served long in our Passion Fruit Batida cocktail. Saúde!

Our chefs have been hard at work crafting truly exceptional dishes in honor of the World Cup. Our delicious Mundial Roll is a combination of salmon, avocado, takuwan, spicy tuna, collard greens and a mustard-soy sauce all coming together for a spicy and clean taste!

When we set out to create a cocktail to cheer on Team Japan, we knew right away that we wanted it to taste “clean.” A simple mixture of sake, gin, hoba leaf-infused elderflower liqueur and bitters come together for the Jin Hana. Kanpai!

The salty and the sweet find harmony together on a stick. Our Peruvian-style picanha and pineapple anticuchos are skewered and grilled to bring out a range of different flavors!

For us, this month is a celebration of #lastcallpark! Our Throwback menu features the addictive Salt and Pepper Squid small plate. Created as a challenger to our beloved Chicharrón de Calamar in 2008, this dish debuted across multiple U.S. locations. To this day, guests debate the best fried squid dish. What’s your favorite?

Wanted: a salty, savory, lip-smacking snack. Found: our take on potato croquettes. We present the pasteis de bacalhau!

No matter where you look, this special maki roll is bursting with flavor! The inside features ebi, avocado and aspargus. The outside is topped with salmon, garlic chips, ooba salt, cilantro truffle and micro-cilantro.

We’ve all tried classic cheesecake before. But this fried mango cheesecake special kicks it up a notch with caramel sauce, vanilla bean ice cream & graham cracker crumbs!

Chef John used four different types of crab for this sushi special. This dish features river crab, snow crab, king crab and soft shell crab!

Have you ever tried to incorporate two sauces into one dish? Our madai tiradito special features a savory shiso sauce and a bright sesame yuzu drsesing.

We’re so lucky that Mother Nature has so many different fruits for us to try. To add a little more sweetness into our kudamono exotic fruit salad, we incorporate cherry crisps, watermelon granité and a green tea gel.

Craving a little crunch? Our Sakura Roll features shrimp tempura wrapped in salmon and chives and served with a ponzu aioli. You’ll find it on our special Miami Spice menu at our Coral Gables location!

There’s no denying that simplicity can yield great recipes. Chef Cláudio Cardoso transforms heritage tomatoes, beets and aji verde into a simple, yet refreshing tomato seviche!

What are the flavor bombs in Chef John Um’s soft shell crab sushi special? Crushed pink pepper corn tempura flakes and basil olive ponzu!

Who doesn’t love candy? Whenever we’re stumped on holiday gift purchases, we find brigadeiros to be the best solution! These colorful, traditional Brazilian treats are made with chocolate, condensed milk, and butter.

There’s so many different flavors to take in with this special crunchy salmon roll! The inside features paprika tenkatsu, rice craker, kanpyo and takowan. The outside is a mix of marinated salmon, harumaki flakes and furikake benetarde. A yuzu-soy-shiso mayo sauce finishes off the entire dish.

Summer is the time of year when our palates crave light and cool refreshments. Our special Sambatini for July is an ensemble of shochu, gin, fresh ginger, lime juice, and ginger ale. Cheers!

Soft shell crabs are only in season for a short window of time. We like to fry these crustaceans in a salty cornmeal coating for our delectable sliders. Delicious!

What’s happening for New York Restaurant Week? Our Rock Fish a la Plancha is accompanied with charred asparagus, grapefruit, tomato caviar and toza-su. We call this entrée “summer on a plate!”

Our tuna tiradito elevates raw tuna with just a handful of ingredients. What’s the flavorful secret behind this deceptively simple dish? A sauce made with puréed granny smith apple, lemon, yuzu and truffle oil. Try it during Miami Spice!

Skipping dessert during New York Restaurant Week is a no-no! Our Tres Leite is a sweet sponge cake soaked in a three milk syrup served with doce de leite cream and cachaça flamed mango.

There’s a real art to crafting a delicious surf ‘n’ turf dish. Chef David Sears combines steamed clams with crisped pork belly for a special Miami Spice menu entrée!

How does one elevate the simple sandwich? Chef Cesar Vega pondered on this question when he was composing menus for Miami Spice. The Lamb Belly Steam Bun features a toasted steam bun stuffed with cured and confit lamb belly, Japanese barbecue sauce, nappa cabbage and thin-sliced fresno pepper!

What does Chef Claudio turn to as a muse? The sun! This “sunshine”-inspired sushi dish features green bean tempura, pickled red onion, tempura crunch, guacamole, rice crackers, pink tofu flakes and crispy sweet potato.

There are so many ways to cook up a burger! Over in London, Chef Cláudio Cardoso stuffs a bun with wagyu beef, yuzu kosho mayonnaise, shallots and pickled onion for his Hirata Burger special.

What happens when Chef John Um visits New York City? We get to snack on his seared scallop roll! The inside features shrimp tempura and shiso leaves. On the outside, scallops are placed on top and covered in a yuzu miso aioli and a sprinkle of shiso salt coated micro celery.

We absolutely adore the Feijoada on our Brunch menu. To elevate this dish even further, Chef Cláudio Cardoso uses wagyu beef for his take on this Brazilian specialty!

Who knew you could use foie gras in a sushi dish? Our very own Chef John Um!

Mochi is a sweet treat we can’t get enough of. You can only imagine the hysteria that sparked within our team when Chef Cláudio Cardoso unveiled his black sesame and raspberry-flavored dessert special. It was amazing!

Chef Eric Ou flavored delicate halibut with a ginger marinade for a nigiri weekend special!

How does Chef Cláudio Cardoso balance out the strong flavors in his wagyu black pudding special? By pairing it with apple three ways! Baked apple, an apple purée and pickled apple slices combine to give a refreshingly light touch to the final dish.

Boom! Feel the flavor of Chef John Um’s sushi special! It’s made with Chilean salmon, citrus-compressed pineapple, orange-sweet potato confit purée, Japanese rice cracker, hearts of palm, lava salt and micro shiso.

Every now and then, a salt craving hits! Fresh out of the deep fryer, Chef Cláudio Cardoso’s savory corn kakiage is paired with a rich aji panca sauce.

We know that the Fall season has plenty of delicious ingredients to play with, but it can still be difficult to let go of Summer. To hold on a little longer, our mixology team has crafted a tropical-themed Sambatini made with mango, yuzu, coconut milk, nectar, nigori sake, crème de peche, and rum. Cheers!

Two chefs on our culinary team, Cláudio Cardoso and John Um, are researching the cuisine of Peru in Lima! Excitement was in abundance on day one. They attended the Mistura food festival and took notes on a number of Peruvian-style street food dishes. John left his mark at the event by writing “Come to SUSHISAMBA” on the communal blackboard. For lunch they dined on the Peruvian version of roast pork, chancho al palo. To prepare this dish, whole pigs are butchered and cooked over smoky wood. Chef John likens the process to using the Japanese robata, but with the addition of fresh wood. Over the course of this trip, our chefs aim to explore ingredients native to Peru and try a number of restaurants. They intend to have all their senses on alert to create lasting memories and develop new ideas. We can’t wait to see what they encounter next!

Have no fear — this spider maki only attacks with flavor! Chef Cláudio Cardoso crafted this sushi dish with sweet soft shell crab, salty caviar, creamy avocado and bright lemongrass.

How do you lighten up a fatty fish like sea bass? Chef Cláudio Cardoso coated the fish in a light tempura batter and fried it. To heighten the freshness and flavor, he adds aji verde, heritage tomato and a beetroot ceviche to the finished dish.

From Chef John Um in Las Vegas: scallop seviche with a pineapple coconut sauce.

In the mood for a meatless meal? Executive Chef Cláudio Cardoso creates a balanced and satisfying vegetarian dish with a handful of simple ingredients: quinoa, tofu, egg and shishito.

How did Chef John Um bring out so much flavor in his sockeye salmon sushi? By marinating the fish in orange zest, lime zest, lemon zest, bay leaves and salt for 18 hours! He finishes the dish on a sweet note with dehydrated raspberry coated fennel.

  As a restaurant proud of our own Japanese/Peruvian culinary synergy, this video is a must-see!

Attention, there might be a new basic taste coming to town! Umami still seems like it was yesterday’s cool news, but in a recent Washington Post’s article, it is said that “fat” could be the 6th basic taste, in addition to sweetness, saltiness, sourness, bitterness, umami. Not sure how that’s going to turn out. Stay tuned!

One of the world’s oldest delicacies is now available at one of Vegas’s hottest spots.   After a year of research, Regional Corporate Sushi Chef John Um (and Instagram rock star: check him out @ChefJohn) has debuted SUSHISAMBA’s very first caviar label, featuring traditional and imperial Siberian Osetra. Just head over to the Palazzo – the sister hotel to the Venetian – to taste test SUSHISAMBA’s world-class salt-cured fish eggs.  

SUSHISAMBA headed East for a four-day pop-up in The Ritz-Carlton’s OZONE, marking the restaurant’s debut in Hong Kong. Cooking for guests in the highest bar in the world, Executive Chef Clàudio Cardoso (@Mr.Claudio.Cardoso) and Regional Corporate Sushi Chef John Um (@ChefJohn) presented a lineup of creative dishes, including the Mãe Terra: cured tiny vegetables served over edible “soil” (sesame, beetroot, yuzu and black truffle aioli).

Dedicated to improving the health of babies “by preventing birth defects, premature births and infant mortality,” March of Dimes’ mission is truly life-saving and a cause near and dear to the team at SUSHISAMBA and Executive Chef David Sears.   As the restaurant is participating in their annual Signature Chefs Auction on October 29 with Chef David as the 2015 Ambassador Culinary Chair, we sat down with him to find out what March of Dimes means to him as a chef and as a father. And, check out Chef David in action on NBC’s “6 in the Mix” segment this Wednesday, October 28 at 11:30am.   ​What is your role at this year’s Signature Chefs Auction? In addition to being the Ambassador Culinary Chair, my family was selected to be March of Dimes’ Mission Family (this is the first time that the Culinary Chair and Mission Family are one in the same). It has been a privilege to share how my family’s journey was effected by the important work of March of Dimes.   Why is it important for you to align yourself with this organization? Even though I’m involved in numerous charitable events throughout the year, March of Dimes is particularly special to me. My personal life story is intertwined with what this amazing organization is doing. I can attest to what can happen when we all support a great cause.   What significance has March of Dimes played in your own family? My youngest son was born with a birth abnormality, premature and with a small window of survival. It was through the medical advancements made possible by March of Dimes that my son is alive and well today.   You’re helping raise money for the organization – what is your fundraising goal?  Our fundraising goal is $10,000, but whether we achieve that goal or not, it’s still a win for a phenomenal cause. It’s not a necessity for one person to donate a $1,000 dollars. I would prefer 1,000 people donate $1 each, because with that I know the the great work that this organization does has reached that many people.   If guests would like to support your efforts, where can they donate? Donating is easy, simply click here and follow the instructions to donate. Whether it’s a penny or one hundred dollars – all donations are humbly and gratefully accepted.   What are you most looking forward to about the event?  I’m most looking forward to having my family on stage with me. I often do events and either my family is not there or if present, they are in the crowd. This will be the first time that I actually will have them by my side, which is very exciting.   What dish are you serving at the event? We’re actually doing two dishes for the evening. Being that I’m the Ambassador Culinary Chair, the team at SUSHISAMBA and I decided it is only fitting that we treat guests with one of our inventive rolls: the Viva Samba. We also will be serving our take on the nostalgic Steak and Eggs, samba style, with slow-cooked Wagyu Picanha atop crisped confit potato bacon. This will be served with chimichurri aioli, a sunny side up quail egg, bacon and farofa powder, which should be a crowd- pleaser.   If guests want to learn more about March of Dimes, they should… Visit www.marchofdimes.org where they can find out about the organization’s beginnings, mission stories, current topics and breakthroughs on child healthcare development. The website has a wealth of information and emotional and awe inspiring testimonies to keep you informed about this great cause.

SUSHISAMBA hosted a dinner at the most prominent culinary foundation in America: the James Beard House in New York.   Almost 70 reservations-only guests went on “An Edible Expedition” with a multi-course menu inspired by SUSHISAMBA’s most celebrated cities: London, Tokyo, Bahia, Okinawa, Cusco and Aomori. Executive Chef Cláudio Cardoso, Corporate Sushi Chef Koji Kagawa and Head of Spirit & Cocktail Development Richard Woods helmed the culinary journey.   Following the evening, they sat down for an exclusive interview:   1. Was this your first visit to the James Beard House? Cláudio: Yes, and it was a great event!   Koji: I’ve had the opportunity to cook at the Beard House on four separate occasions. It is always an honor.​ This dinner was particularly fun as I had the chance to collaborate with the London team.   Richard: This was the second time. It was certainly great to be back again and with a different brand from the SBM family.   2. How did theme/idea come about for this dinner? What was the inspiration? Cláudio: The theme was to take the guests on a culinary journey through some SUSHISAMBA’s most celebrated cities.     3. How did you select what cities to feature? The ingredients from each city? Were there specific flavors or feelings that you wanted to evoke? How did you choose the order of the menu? Cláudio: I spent quite some time researching the culinary and cultural characteristics of the featured cities: London, Bahia, Tokyo, Okinawa, Cusco and Aomori. The order of the dishes was chronological according to the sequence of meals in a day. Guests started with a savoury English-style breakfast in London, followed by a lighter dish of tiger prawn in Moqueca sauce for lunch in Bahia, eel and foie gras nigiri in Tokyo for a late-afternoon snack, so on and so forth.   Koji: The menu featured classic ingredients from each city, bringing to life the texture and flavor of the localities. If guests closed their eyes mid-dessert, we wanted them to feel as though they were in Aomori (pictured below). 4. Was this dinner your first time collaborating?  Cláudio: No, I’ve been fortunate enough to do some collaborations with Koji and Richard in the past.   5. What was your favorite part about the evening? Cláudio: Each course required different techniques and precision. Executing the food with attention to detail and timing was an adrenaline rush.   Koji: The first course – the Kobe English Breakfast – it was a very cool dish and something original to London’s location.     6. What did you want guests to take away from this collaboration? Cláudio: Great food, an exciting journey and a memorable time. Koji: We’re always trying to push boundaries so I hope guests walked away with a new experience. Richard: An understanding that cocktails can be an experience in and of themselves as well as complementary to cuisine.   7. What is your favorite part about cooking in America? Cláudio: It was something new and outside of my comfort zone.   8. Did you do anything afterwards to celebrate in New York? Cláudio: I stayed an additional 3 days to enjoy and explore the city. Koji: We went for a bite to eat. We were all very tired from the evening so we had to pass on the night-club.   9. How would you compare the culinary scene in New York vs. London? Cláudio: Both cities have certainly made their mark in the culinary scene. They are very different in terms of offerings, but very similar in terms of standards. Koji: You really cannot compare styles, but that is the beauty of it – every global city has something unique that sets it apart.   10. As Head of Spirit & Cocktail Development, what cocktails did you prepare for the dinner? What was your inspiration? Richard: These cocktails were a part of the newly launched ‘culinary’ rage from SUSHISAMBA West Village. The inspiration was the binding of two elements to form one recipe – a harmony of cultures between the bar and the kitchen. I served a few cocktails that capture the essence of this approach: the fresh, fiery and cooling Tom Yam, which combines coriander, ginger, lime leaf, chili and vodka and is served with an accompanying nigiri and the buttery, smooth Wagyu Cocktail, which is a riff on an Old Fashioned with Japanese Whisky treated to a wash of the highest grade of wagyu before being stirred with maple and salted caramel.   11. You served some of the Culinary Cocktails that will be debuting in New York December 1st. What are you trying to achieve with the culinary-inspired cocktail? Richard: To show how with the addition of balance, unusual ingredients and those normally associated with the kitchen can work in drinks.   13. Which cocktail is the most difficult to execute? Richard: The Wagyu Cocktail as it takes time to prep and requires patience and precision.

SUSHISAMBA Las Vegas Executive Pastry Chef Michael Outlaw dreamed up this decadent dessert in celebration of the New Year. Composed of white chocolate infused Namelaka (Japanese for creamy texture), chiffon cake, carbonated raspberries, raspberry gelée and raspberry Champagne sorbet – what better treat to ring in the New Year?

Koji aka Koji Kagawa, Corporate Sushi Chef, SUSHISAMBA thumbs up: watching the waves (I’m a surfer), strawberries in Japan, being able to look up and see the Empire State building when I’m playing soccer at night, hip hop and breakdancing, a long drive straight down the middle of the fairway thumbs down: cold water, smelly fish, when my computer freezes, over-sized portions of food (especially meat), still getting carded when I’m buying beer SS stats: SUSHISAMBA seniority = 10 years; worked at almost every location favorite dish: Moqueca (but w/o clams because of my allergies) fresh muddled caipirinhas:  the best Claudio aka Claudio Cardoso, Executive Chef, SUSHISAMBA London thumbs up: sharp knife thumbs down: if my phone’s battery is flat SS stats:  At the helm of SUSHISAMBA London location for 1 year and 5 months. Favorite dish: Moqueca Mista Favorite Drink: Yuzu Fizz (London)   Big John aka John Um, Regional Corporate Sushi Chef, SUSHISAMBA Las Vegas thumbs up: SUSHI!!!, ramen, high top shoes, Red Bull, almost anything that is sweet, Diesel jeans, one-or-two-day-quick-get-away-trips on a tight schedule, cold weather, rave music, being busy thumbs down: spicy food, buffets and all-you-can-eat restaurants, 86s, cats, cigarettes, small economy airplane seats SS stats:  Favorite Dish: Tuna Tiradito & Tuna Seviche (I just cannot pick one…) Favorite Drink: Bartender’s Choice David aka David Sears, Executive Chef, SUSHISAMBA Coral Gbales thumbs up: late-night Korean BBQ houses with family and friends thumbs down: lack of integrity SS stats: Been with the SAMBA family for 9 months as of August 21st. Favorite dish: Moqueca Mista Favorite drink: Chucumber   Pedro aka Pedro Duarte, Executive Chef, SUSHISAMBA NYC West Village thumbs up: My mom’s cooking thumbs down: Not being with my family SS stats: Been with the SAMBA family for over a year Favorite dish: Seviche Classico Favorite drink: Pisco Sour     Mere aka Meredith Boyle, Corporate Culinary Manager, SUSHISAMBA thumbs up: park benches in autumn, contemporary art, Royal Dandies, dance offs, old school manners, snowstorms like whoa, Borges’ Ficciones, Stag’s Leap, grizzly bears, that 3:49 a.m. creative calling thumbs down: socks with sandals, sticky hands, cigarettes, just missing the subway, pigeons, bad breath, bad kissers, and especially, bad news SS stats: Joined the team as Marketing Manager in ‘08; Moved onto the Culinary Team in 2010. love.my.job. Favorite dish: Steamed Scallop Dumplings with yuzu kosho butter.. mmmm…. Record change from high heels to Crocs in the kitchen: 8.2 seconds