By Amy McCarthy
By Scott Reitz
By Scott Reitz
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Alice Laussade
By City of Ate
While playing voyeur, indulge in some brisk Japanese pickles or the edamame that rips a tiny page corner from Peruvian culture by combining the soy beans and sea salt with a little lime. Skewers jammed with swelling chicken livers, overcooked and dry, have a thick teriyaki sauce gloss. Peruvian corn, large waxy kernels, is chewy, nutty and desperately satisfying.
Samba rolls are as gaudy and colorful as the lusty Carnival motif. Neo Tokyo is sliced into thick segments strapped with rosy tuna strips with more tuna and "tempura flake" in the center. The top of each roll segment is covered with a yellow gob of spicy mayonnaise with a deep red dot of pepper sauce in the center giving you a bloody iris stare. It's a marvelous clash of textures and tastes with the fish largely surrendering to the mayo and pepper sauce and the tempura crunch in the shadows.
Crispy whole snapper thinks it better to look good than to taste good. It's arresting the way it leans on the plate with its head and tail curved in an upward reach. The fish has been deboned and the meat carved into nuggets that are coated, fried and reinstalled in the fish cavity. But the fish is dry and tasteless, spongy instead of crisp. The coconut rice and red curry sauce accompaniments make for puny remedies.
You might think things would improve with the churrasco, or the distinctive South American grilled meats. Slices of blackened rosy red hanger steak arranged into rows, a single piece of chorizo and a hunk of pork are presented on a plate for sharing with pepper oil and red and green chimichurri sauces for dipping. The beef is delicious, the chorizo passive and the pork parched. Sop up the chimichurris recklessly.
Oddly, this Japanese-Peruvian-Brazilian hybrid was dreamed up by Israeli Shimon Bokovza who has established Sambas in New York (two of them), Miami Beach, Chicago and Tel Aviv. But you don't really need to know any of this. Go for the crabs. Pray for an unfolding tryst behind the sake case. 13430 Dallas Parkway, No. 1165, 214-866-0214. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday and Monday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 11 a.m.-midnight Thursday and 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. $$$