Most of us in America have probably never heard of the marriage of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine. Interestingly, it appeared around the early 20th century when scores of Japanese immigrants arrived in Peru and Brazil to cultivate coffee plantations.
Soon afterwards, cities like Lima in Peru and São Paulo in Brazil exploded with a new cuisine, the integration of Japanese-style dishes with the bold flavors of the South. Called "nikkei cuisine," you see it all over Peru, where thousands of these types of restaurants thrive. Even celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa, who spent the early years of his career in Peru, creates fusion dishes with heavy influences from South America.
Sushi Samba in Las Vegas is inspired by this fascinating "fusion" cuisine, and has put its own twist on the idea.
Though dubious at first, a quick look at the menu on the wall convinced us that we wanted to try this.
As would be expected for a place on the Strip in las Vegas, the vibe at Sushi Samba is clearly very trendy. Though it was the middle of the day on a hot dessert summer day, the restaurant was dark and cool with colorful lights dotting the environment.
served with spicy aji panca sauce and fresh lime Yellowtail Seviche shiso, avocado, roasted corn miso
We started with some tacquitos, which were excellent. They were filled with yellowtail, shiso, and miso in the Japanese tradition, but they also had vibrant South American flavors, including aji panca, a Peruvian red chili pepper.
tuna, salmon, asparagus, wasabi pea crust, aji amarillo-key lime mayo $13
Though a bit pricey, the maki rolls were overall pretty good. The Green Envy is mostly Japanese in ingredients and form, but adds amarillo-key lime mayo as the South American twist.
bigeye tuna, tempura flake, aji panca 15.00
Similarly the Neo Tokyo is a Japanese-style roll infused with the kick of aji panca, the Peruvian chili pepper mentioned above.
tuna, foie gras, osetra caviar, gold leaf 19.00
The most decadant (and by far most expensive) roll we tried was this crazy tuna roll that had fois gras, osetra caviar, and gold flecks! I'm not a huge fois gras fan, so I can't comment objectively on it. Bryan thought it was great, but my guess is that it was the ingredients that spoke for themselves here. I'm not sure what aspect of this roll is exactly Peruvian . . .
General First Impressions
Overall, we had a fun time exploring Sushi Samba's interpretation of "Nikkei Cuisine." The vibe of the place makes it seem like the perfect location for a late night drink or snack. At lunch, it felt a bit weird to be in such a dark and trendy environment (especially when I knew the sun was shining so brightly outside!)
Nevertheless, the food was fun to try and pretty tasty. I would definitely get the taquitos again, and maybe some of the rolls (though I probably wouldn't spring for the crazy fois gras one again). I'm not sure if it's a destination restaurant per se, but if you are living close by and want something fun, a little different, and reasonably good, Sushi Samba is a perfectly fine choice.
This is part 4 of a larger Series The Vegas Anniversary. Other posts in this series:
Bouchon Bistro (lunch)
3327 Las Vegas Blvd
S Las Vegas, NV 89109
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