Sushi Samba is known for its unusual-but-somehow-it-works combinations of flavors. From their aji panca spiked carpirinhas to tomatillo salsa topped sushi rolls, the flavors are a mix of Brazil, Peru, and Japan thrown into a virtual blender. Desserts are no exception, and pastry chef Michelle Duran has put the pedal to the medal with her new lineup of East-meets-South sweets.
Short Order was invited to come in and sample a few fan favorites, as well as test out some newbies that chef Duran and local Executive Chef Michael Bloise of Wish and American Noodle Bar fame, put together for us. The idea of spending a few hours eating desserts can be overwhelming for even the most senior food taster in the bunch, with chocolates, creams and custards quickly resulting in a sugar crash. Apprehensive, we started to dig into the colorful cornucopia and were quickly rewarded with light and sharp flavors ranging from green apple and wasabi to tofu and red shiso.
There are ten choices on the menu and taking inspiration from three countries gives pastry chef Michelle Duran an arsenal of ingredients to work with. Take the Kyoto cream puffs ($10) -- these airy almond topped cream puffs are all the range in Japan these days, and if it weren't for the luscious azuki, hojicha and lucuma fillings, you'd think they came from a French patisserie. Duran tells us she uses a lot of French techniques she adapts to local flavors and ingredients. Like the cream puffs, her tofu panna cotta ($9) - unlike any tofu we've ever had- and white chocolate semifreddo ($10) are great twists on old (and admittedly somewhat stale) classics.
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If you're not feeling adventurous and need your chocolate fix, their ever-popular chocolate banana cake ($10) remains a fixture on the menu. It is best described as chocolate-banana decadence in a sea of maple butter with some vanilla rum ice cream added for good measure. Like the green apple-wasabi sorbet that could easily be consumed by the pint, Chef Bloise cranks out all the uniquely frozen treats in house, making us think wishfully back to our high school summer job at the ice cream shop.