In a post Miami Spice world, prix fixe menus are solely reserved for the Holidays. So for those of us who are “ballin on a budget”, date nights may be relocated to the local Olive Garden (them free bead sticks though, mmmm). Not to fret my fellow food snobs, our paychecks will not vitiate our palates just yet….
I bring you, Samba & a Movie. This monthly food & film collaboration features; a (3) course, themed menu from Sushi Samba and a featured film at the Coral Gables Art Cinema, all for the bargain price of $39 per person (which includes tax, but not gratuity).
October’s Samba & a Movie centered around indie film Camp X-ray; a film depicting the grim reality of post-9/11 Guantanamo Bay. So Chef David Sears of Sushi Samba, had the challenge of creating a (3) course menu juxtaposed to a Cuban detention camp, while still remaining true to the restaurant’s Asian backbone. Quite the culinary conundrum, but I was thrilled to see how Sear’s assimilated to the theme. The menu consisted of three options of appetizers, three choices of entrees (including a vegetarian friendly plate), and two desserts. So here’s my menu breakdown, please see the attached photo for the full menu listing.
I opted for the Salmon Tiradito; slivers of rosy Salmon dressed in ponzu and crowned with a vibrant, crimson jalapeno. The Salmon was fresh, absent any unsavory fishiness, with a nice fat configuration. The ponzu and pepper added some fervor to the delicate fish; the perfect little kick in the ass to mentally prepare you for the film’s military motif.
My next course was the Short rib (short rib is usually my drug of choice). Tender, fatty goodness braised in Soy jus, accompanied by an Asian squash puree. The meat was perfectly feeble, and my only complaint with the squash was that I wanted more on the plate. However, being that this dish was welcoming and packed with Fall flavors it was difficult for me to tie into the film. It brought me warm thoughts of a crackling fire place, rather than the disdain of a stale prison. But in hindsight, it was a pleasant interlude to the depressing nature of the film that was soon to come.
For dessert, I ordered the chocolate banana cake with vanilla rum ice cream. The cake was moist, rich but not overbearing. It played perfectly into the film’s Cuban backdrop. Although I especially enjoyed the chef’s presentation (topping it with a crisp plantain chip), the Mochi was my favorite. Nabbing a bite of the Mochi from my photographer’s side of the table, I impetuously swapped our plates! Two Mochi disks stuffed with pumpkin and pistachio ice cream…they were like little gifts to unwrap at the end of our meal. So good.
As for Peter Sattler’s directorial debut, it was patient and thoughtful filled with some clever visual metaphors. However, it is slightly depressing as it should be….so you may have to go back for a second round of Mochi to revitalize your spirits! An overall great date night or girls night alternative, which I highly recommend. I’d like to thank Sushi Samba, Coral Gables Art Cinema and Monica with Rockaway PR for a wonderful evening. I’m thrilled that this event is back, and I look forward to November’s collaboration. For more information on upcoming Samba & a Movie events please see; gablescinema.com