Had lunch yesterday at Sushi Samba with awbrig.
Sushi Samba is one of the ultra hip dining spots in Chicago now. Im not hip and certainly not ultra so Im not sure what I was doing there. But I had heard mixed things about it and wanted to see for myself what it was all about.
To be sure, the décor is quite unique and cool. It would be way cool at night for sure due to the various lighting/textures used in the restaurant and even I felt a little hip while dining here.
Started out with the flash-fried Japanese river crabs, Sawagani $9.00. Five little crabs beautifully laid out in a line on a piece of leaf. Ive had these as a dried snack before from Mitsuwa so I knew what to expect. Awbrig made the comment like he felt he was on the TV show Fear Factor. Certainly more of a gimmicky dish rather than anything substantive. Very visual.
Next arrived my two Kumamoto Oysters at $2.50 apiece. I had first had these out in Vancouver and they are some tasty oysters. I have never seen them before in Chicagoland. They were good, but quite pricey.
The two rolls arrived next; South American Beef Maki Roll $10.00 and Spicy Shrimp Tempura Roll $9.00. The beef roll consisted of thin grilled sliced beef used to hold together the ingredients of the roll: heart of palm and carrot. Served with three pieces of grilled asparagus covered by a sweet thick teriyaki like sauce. Good, but not as good as I envisioned in my mind. The shrimp roll consisted of tempura shrimp in a rice roll w/a blood orange, chive oil & barbeque mayonnaise. The shrimp roll was the highlight for me, no doubt, terrific dish.
A carpaccio like dish was served next, I believe it was the Kanpachi $17.00 yuzu, black truffle oil & sea salt. I am not a truffle fan and this did not excite me.
We also had a ceviche of yellowtail I think. I appreciate freshness and the ceviches are made when one orders it. However (and this is just my personal opinion) I like the lime/lemon juice to cook the fish more than was the case here. The few minutes of interaction does not provide enough citrus kick. The beautiful yellowtail ceviche also contained celery (WAY overpowering taste element for a ceviche) and red/yellow peppers (again too strong a component in a ceviche IMO).
Awbrig had a various array of sushi and a roll. While good, there is better to be had at 1/3 of the price in Chicago.
Will I go back? Yes, if my wife and I were in the area at night, wanted to go for a quick bite (not a meal) and have a drink in a cool setting as my wife is quite cool.
504 North Wells