Savor Sensational Sushi at Samurai Japanese Fusion

Good Bite

Pictured: The Cherry Blossom Roll. Photo by Laura Paquette.

Samurai Japanese Fusion is on a roll. After opening last fall, the restaurant continues to introduce Sarasota to an exciting and innovative menu, where sushi is the star. Aline Chen and her husband, who goes by Chef Chen, own the establishment. While the pair owns restaurants in Naples and Port Charlotte, they wanted Samurai, located on Hillview Street, to bring a new approach to the dishes.

“This side of the city is where people have a demand for more contemporary dishes instead of the traditional ones,” Aline says. Because Chef Chen has worked with sushi for 15 years, he’s well-versed in the various techniques used to produce offerings that are exquisite in presentation and taste. One outstanding appetizer is the uni shot, which features uni, or sea urchin, salmon eggs and quail egg in a homemade ponzu sauce. As diners sip the shot, they alternate between the flavors of the sea, found in the uni, the richness of the salmon and quail eggs and the citrus-based ponzu sauce. “It’s an adventure for people who don’t normally eat raw stuff,” she adds. Each shot is well-balanced, allowing guests to savor each flavor and appreciate all of the ingredients, one of Chef Chen’s main goals. Every bite of a dish must provide a balance of flavors so that each can shine, like a symphony where every instrument has a solo.

Another intricately prepared option is the Cherry Blossom Roll. Filled with spicy tuna and avocado, the roll is encased in purple rice, which Aline considers to be a healthy alternative to white rice. A lobster salad tops each piece, and every bite offers diners’ palates a new experience. “We are focused on and dedicated to freshness and the unique taste of premium higher quality fish,” she says. While seafood is the star of the show, guests shouldn’t miss the decadent wagyu A5 beef tartar, which they can cook and season themselves on a hot stone. The marbled beef, from Japan, melts in the mouth and packs astounding flavor. Plus, it’s fun to cook using chopsticks. Whether visitors opt for surf or turf, they’ll enjoy creative fare in a dreamy and comfortable restaurant, designed by Chef Chen. From private dining booths encased in wooden house-like structures to the mountain-themed light art in the private dining room, the eatery is a lovely backdrop for a delicious meal.

Samurai Japanese Fusion, 1936 Hillview St., Sarasota, 941-777-7707, samurai-fl.com/index.php.

Pictured: The Cherry Blossom Roll. Photo by Laura Paquette.

Samurai Japanese Fusion

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