Coral Gables, FL – June 6, 2013 – Fanatics of SUSHISAMBA can now enjoy the Lincoln Road mainstay across the bridge. The international, high-end sushi fusion restaurant has just opened a second South Florida location in the heart of Coral Gables on Miracle Mile. Located in the Westin Colonnade Hotel on Aragon Avenue, SUSHISAMBA Coral Gables now totals the restaurants to seven, with others in Chicago, New York, Las Vegas, and more recently, London. However, what you might not know, is that SUSHISAMBA is part of Samba Brands Management, a company that was founded by Shimon Bokovza, Matthew Johnson, and Danielle Billera over 13 years ago. SBM includes all seven sushi restaurants, as well as another London restaurant called Duck & Waffle and SUGARCANE raw bar grill in Miami’s bustling Midtown neighborhood.
What started in 1999 with one 89-seat restaurant in New York City has now grown into a world-wide restaurant empire of nine rave-worthy establishments. Just last year, SBM expanded with the first international opening of SUSHISAMBA in London at the Heron Tower, which is also where Duck & Waffle is located. The restaurants take up the 38th, 39th, and 40th floors of the tower, which is the second tallest building in London. The view from dining there is better than that of The London Eye, giving an incredible 360-degree view of the entire city.
Nearly every Miamian who has a palate for sushi or fusion cuisine has been to the Miami Beach location of SUSHISAMBA. It’s been around for years, and it’s one of the very few worthy dining destinations on the strip, making it one of the top-grossing restaurants on Lincoln Road. In the past six months, it’s undergone a brand new renovation and had some great menu additions. SBM’s other fan favorite in Miami is SUGARCANE raw bar grill. Since it opened under the helm of Chef Timon Balloo, it’s been wildly successful and been a major contributor to the rise of Midtown’s culinary scene. The booming neighborhood has become a united community over food, with much thanks to Balloo and his delicious small plate creations. SUGARCANE was nominated as one of the James Beard Award’s Top 10 New Restaurants in the US last year, and was just crowned with a AAA Five Diamond Award- the highest accolade a restaurant can get.
With such success, it only seemed right that the Coral Gables and South Miami area finally be given the chance to dine closer to home when craving their favorite Japanese-Peruvian-Brazilian sushi plates. The new location brings an entirely new look, feel, and menu to the Mile, with everyone’s favorite staples still in place.
This location is unique in that it has a sushi bar, open kitchen, and an amazing robata grill that’s second to none. It was made from a three ton boulder that was cut into quarters, hollowed out, and put back together with a grill inside. The robata adds a whole new variety of menu options not available anywhere else like prawns, Alaskan King Crab legs, bone marrow, lamb chops, and other high-end grilled delicacies.
SUSHISAMBA Coral Gables was the product of a $4 million build-out. The entire restaurant was renovated from the inside, out by award-winning architectural firm CetraRuddy. The 65,000 square-foot space has a lounge, inside bar, outside dining and the only outdoor bar in the Gables, making for a premier event space.
Ceilings are always a signature statement piece in any SUSHISAMBA dining room, and this location adds amazing design and colors to the scheme.
There’s an expansive list of signature cocktails inspired by the Japanese, Peruvian, and Brazilian cuisine being served, along with spirits from the represented countries like shochu, pisco, and cachaça in addition to beer and wine. This location has one of the largest premium sake selections in Florida.
Pastry Chef Jerome Guerlet, General Manager Hayes Swope, and Executive Chef Jasper Schneider
Swope just celebrated his 13th year with the company: “I opened our Las Vegas location and was relocated here to open the Gables location. It’s an addictive place to work- it’s got a great energy with the Japanese, Brazilian, and Peruvian influences.”
The infamous Tuna Tataki has seared big eye tuna served over catsoi Japanese spinach and is drizzled with yuzu garlic vinaigrette, topped with hearts of palm, white asparagus, avocado créme, a garlic chip and black Hawaiian sea salt.
The seared Kobe beef is served with warm honshemiji mushrooms, a ponzu jelly, and a tofu truffle cream.
The tried-and-true sushi and sashimi staples will always be on the menu, along with the Brazilian churrasco and moqueca, Peruvian anticuchos and ceviches, and Japanese wagyu and tempura. The open kitchen, brick oven, and fiery robata grill add a whole new dimension to the cuisine, allowing for grilled meats, fish, and vegetables.
This is the Key Lime Cheesecake dessert. It’s a beautiful creation with a hand-blown sugar bubble filled with key lime cheesecake served with strawberry jelly and yuzu-basil granite.
The Coral Gables location is open for daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with weekend brunch coming soon.
SUSHISAMBA’s Celebrity Following
The SUSHISAMBA restaurants have not only been popular amongst locals and visitors around the country and abroad, but also big-time celebrities. Whether it be in Las Vegas at The Palazzo Hotel, in bustling New York City, or on the sands of Miami Beach, stars go to the restaurant whenever they’re in town because they know it’s one that will always deliver fresh, flavorful dishes. SBM co-owner Matthew Johnson and his wife Tricia are heavily involved with the South Beach Wine and Food Festival each year here in Miami and are friends with celebrity chefs like Emeril Lagasse and Guy Fieri, which helps give SBM brands such a popular following. Billy Joel and Hulk Hogan are just a couple of the celebrity fans who’ve been to the Lincoln Road location over the years, and they now have an off-the-beach alternative for the best sushi fusion. Johnson tells us all about the new location and even shares a little about the next exciting project that’s in the works.
World Red Eye: What’s the best part about having multiple restaurants in Miami? What keeps you opening new spots here?
Matthew Johnson: Miami is a growing market with lots of opportunities and is where myself and my family call home. I love being able to visit all of our restaurants every day.
WRE: Your sake selection at the new Gables location is very extensive. How did you acquire such a collection?
MJ: SUSHISAMBA has the largest, most extensive sake collection in Florida. Coral Gables has a massive sake display which holds sakes that range from $50 to well into the thousands of dollars range. SUSHISAMBA has always taken pride in its sake program since day one.
WRE: What’s your go-to sushi order?
MJ: Neo Tokyo, Samba Dromo Roll, although now I’m enjoying the new Samba Coral Gables Roll. And of course, you can’t forget the Tuna Tataki.
WRE: Can we get any clues as to what the new concept with Timon Balloo in the former Sustain space will be? You guys had a Sushi Samba pop-up there during Art Basel…
MJ: It will be a brand new concept by SBM along with Chef Balloo… That’s all for now!
WRE: What’s been your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career with restaurants?
MJ: That three partners started this dream almost 14 years ago and seeing how far we’ve come!
Matthew & Tricia Johnson at South Beach Wine and Food Festival on February 27, 2011
Billy Joel & Katie Lee at SUSHISAMBA Lincoln Road on January 19, 2005
Matthew Johnson & Hulk Hogan at SUSHISAMBA Lincoln Road on July 21, 2006
Hayley & Jason Binn, Tricia & Matthew Johnson at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival on February 25, 2010
Marc Jay, James Recio, Tricia & Matthew Johnson at the Grand Opening of SUSHISAMBA Las Vegas at The Palazzo Hotel on January 17, 2008
Richie Rich, Joe Korniewicz, & Casey at the Miami Vice Premiere and After Party at SUSHISAMBA Lincoln Road on July 25, 2006
Haylie Duff & Hilary Duff at SUSHISAMBA Lincoln Road on August 28, 2004
Matthew Johnson, Emeril Lagasse, & Tricia Johnson at Emeril’s Sugar Shack at The Raleigh during South Beach Wine and Food Festival on February 22, 2008
Guy Fieri, Kevin Berg, Matthew Johnson, & Charlie Trotter at the Tribute Dinner for Emeril Lagasse at Loews Miami Beach during South Beach Wine and Food Festival on February 21, 2009
Guy Fieri, Mario Batali, Charlie Trotter, Norman Van Aken, Emeril Lagasse, Matthew Johnson, Bobby Flay, Michael Laiskonis, Gordon Maybury, Thomas Buckley, & Eric Ripert at the Tribute Dinner for Emeril Lagasse at Loews Miami Beach during South Beach Wine and Food Festival on February 21, 2009
Miami Beach, FL – May 8, 2013 – This Friday, May 10, marks the 3 Year Anniversary of WorldRedEye.com. To celebrate this milestone, we’re counting down with some of our most amazing photos that have been on the site over the past three years. Starting it off, we’ve got the best of what we’re known for- our celebrity photos. While many of them come to and live in Miami, World Red Eye has flown across the country to photograph and party with the stars. From the year it all began in 2010, we hit the ground running by covering the biggest names in music and entertainment from legendary hip hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs to Fashion’s infamous cut-throat editor of Vogue, Anna Wintour. The year ended with an epic New Years Eve party in Las Vegas where we still remember the amazing energy of having Rihanna, Jay-Z, and Kanye West all in one club at Marquee. After our first year, 2011 brought even more excitement to our lenses as we got to photograph big time actors like Jeremy Piven, Andy Garcia, Sarah Jessica Parker, and even former President George W. Bush, among many, many others. And then there was last year. Without a doubt, the biggest moment of 2012 we can’t stop thinking or talking about is when legendary icon Madonna made a surprise performance at Ultra Music Festival during Avicii‘s closing set on Day 2. World Red Eye was the only photographer allowed to photograph Madonna when she came on the main stage, making it a historical night we won’t ever forget. You’d think after each year, we couldn’t top the last, but 2013 is already off to a stellar start. Take a look back at all these incredible moments captured of our favorite celebrities- we can’t wait to see what this year will bring!
Andrew Zimmern, Tim Love, George Hirsch, Rachael Ray, Geoffrey Zakarian, Michael Symon, Spike Mendelsohn, & Marc Murphy
Miami Beach, FL – February 22, 2013 – What is possibly the event Food Networkfoodies look forward to all year, the Amstel Light Burger Bash presented by Pat LaFrieda Meats was hosted by none other than the burger-loving Rachael Ray as it’s her signature event during the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. Everyone packed in the tents on the sand to sample the country’s best burgers by over 30 chefs, local and national, including Masaharu Morimoto and Bobbly Flay. It was a night full of stellar chefs while hungry guests chowed down on America’s signature food. After trying them all, the people spoke and crowned Bobby Flay the People’s Choice Award Winner. Flay’s use of potato chips, queso sauce, and green chili pickles won him back the title after Michael Symon‘s three years as title-holder. The other award went to Jeff “The Sandwich King” Mauro for Judges Favorite for his much debated “Greatest Patty Melt in the History of America.” But judges Anne Burrell, Geoffrey Zakarian, Spike Mendelsohn, Jeffrey Chodorow and Andrew Zimmern were all in favor of the Bash first-timer’s short rib and sirloin creation.
Bobby Flay & Michael Symon
Bobby Flay, Drew Nieporent, Lee Schrager, & Michael Symon
Jeffrey Chodorow, Andrew Zimmern, Geoffrey Zakarian, Spike Mendelsohn, & Anne Burrell
Marc Murphy & Benjamin Ford
Zachary Chodorow, Josh Capon, & Jeffrey Chodorow
James Jackson III
Casey Shiller & Dana Holland
Casey Shiller, Lee Schrager & Dana Holland
Drew Nieporent & Jedd Adar
Rachael Ray & John Cusimano
Devin Padgett, Rachael Ray & Guy Fieri
Rachael Ray & Guy Fieri
Casey Shiller, Dana Holland, & Andrew & Rishia Zimmern
Rishia & Andrew Zimmern
Anne Burrell, Geoffrey Zakarain, & Andrew Zimmern
Ty Pennington, Andrew Zimmern, George Hirsch, & Lee Schrager
George Hirsch & Ty Pennington
PJ Calapa & Michael White
Dr. Arthur Agatston, Rachael Ray, & John Cusimano
Ty Pennington & Rachael Ray
Devin Padgett, Rachael Ray, John Cusimano, Mark Rosati, & Randy Garutti
Michael White, Rachael Ray, & John Cusimano
John Cusimano & Rachael Ray
Devin Padgett & Rachael Ray
Bobby Flay & Daniel Boulud
Bobby Flay & Elizabeth Olsen
Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, & John Cusimano
Rachael Ray & Marc Murphy
Rachael Ray & Josh Capon
Casey Shiller & Rachael Ray
Rebekah Keida & Spike Mendelsohn
Rachael Ray & Devin Padgett
Mark Rosati & Randy Garutti
Masaharu Morimoto & Ana Quincoces
Andrew Zimmern, Michael Symon, & Geoffrey Zakarian
Andrew Zimmern, Michael Symon, Marc Murphy & Geoffrey Zakarian
Rachael Ray, Andrew Zimmern, Michael Symon, Geoffrey Zakarian, & Marc Murphy
Scott Weaver, Craig Koketsu, & Dustin Hilinski
Josh Capon & Lee Schrager
Jeff Mauro & Lee Schrager
Jeffrey Chodorow, Michael Symon, & Bobby Flay
Rachael Ray, Bobby Flay, & Lee Schrager
Lee Schrager, Bobby Flay, Tim Love, Michael Symon, & Jeff Mauro
Todd Erickson, Johnny Luzzini, Stephanie Izard, Pat LaFrieda, Andrew Zimmern, Chuck Hughes, Josh Capon, Adrianne Calvo, Jeff Mauro, Curtis Stone, Edward Lee, Kris Wessel, Alberto Cabrera, Spike Mendelsohn, Justin Warner, & Tim Love
Miami Beach, FL – February 21, 2013 – Who’s ready for the biggest foodie time of year to hit South Beach?! Ladies and gentleman, the wait is over. Tonight kicks off the 2013 South Beach Wine & Food Festival with the legendary event, The Q. This marks the 12th year of the Food Network’s famous festival where all the top celebrity chefs descend upon South Beach for a weekend full of top-notch eating and top-shelf drinking. This year is sure to be nothing less than action-packed, and World Red Eye is bringing it all right to you first hand as the official festival photographer. We’ll take you behind the scenes at all of the top events and more. So whether you’re out there chowing down on burgers and sipping on Moët with us or checking out what happened online, it’s time to get excited for a great weekend. To see what’s in store, check out our timeline of last year’s events and who was there. We also caught up with festival founder Lee Schrager who weighed in on what his best memories have been and what he’s looking forward to this year. Let’s go!
World Red Eye: What’s been your favorite dish ever eaten at a SOBEWFF event?
Lee Schrager: It’s impossible to remember every dish from the past 12 years, but our annual Tribute Dinner at the Loews Miami Beach is always a stand-out.
WRE: What are your top three favorite events during SOBEWFF? What makes doing the event in Miami different than in NYC?
LS: Like asking a mother to pick her favorite children! Doing any event in the sand if always very different than doing an event in the city.
WRE: What are you most looking forward to for this year?
LS: Chicken Coupe hosted by Andrew Carmellini at the W South Beach
WRE: Tell us about the yoga event that you developed: YogArt. How does staying healthy play a role in SOBEWFF?
LS: YogArt was created during Art Basel as a way for people to take a breather during a very busy weekend, and bringing it to SOBEWFF makes sense so that people can take a break during this very weekend as well.
WRE: What’s been the most unexpected chef collaboration that excites you?
LS: All chef collaborations are exciting – watching Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay battle it out on Food Network’s Worst Cooks in America is fun!
WRE: If you were a contestant on Iron Chef, which chef would you choose to battle against?
LS: It doesn’t matter – they would all beat me, for sure!
WRE: What’s the best party spot for late night?
LS: I think the new SLS South Beach is a great late night spot.
WRE: Art Basel has helped change the face of Miami’s art world with Wynwood and the Design District gaining recognition, and some would say a similar effect has happened with Miami’s dining scene thanks to your work with the festival. How have you seen the face of Miami’s culinary world grow and change over the years?
LS: The infiltration of all of these chefs coming into town and opening new restaurants here has just boomed.
WRE: What is the funniest memory you have from over the years during the festival?
LS: There are a lot of them, but Paula Deen’s demo at the Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village is always sure to generate lots of laughs.
WRE: How do you relax and unwind after it’s all over?
LS: I’m already on to the next project – there’s not a lot of time to relax!
Miami Beach, FL – February 24, 2012 – Simply called The Q, this is not just a simple event. The barbecue-filled kickoff event for the SOBEWFF brings all the celebrity chefs together with tons of meats and drinks to get the weekend off to a killer start. This year, it’s the party to be at, and it will be hosted by Paula Deen and her sons for what’s sure to be an incredible Southern BBQ time.
Miami Beach, FL – February 23, 2012 – The infamous Moët Hennessy‘s The Q After Dark is the after-party to the biggest SOBEWFF kick-off party. It brings the club to the beach- literally! Everyone partied on the sand as Flo Rida was on the mic while Ruckus and Triple Threat took to the decks and a live band came through. Bottles of Moët were flowing as Flo Rida got everyone going. This year is sure to be have just as much fun late into the night as the sexy, Aussie chef Curtis Stone hosts and Mansion’s famous Cirque de Mansion brings in its crazy theatrics.
Miami Beach, FL – February 24, 2012 – The Burger Bash is always a fan favorite, getting everyone together for America’s signature dish. Last year Michael Symon won the Burger Bash for the third year in a row, and Guy Fieri took home the prize for Best Dressed Burger, while Brendan B. Connor earned the Golden Grill Award. This year will again be hosted by the always fun and burger-hungry Rachael Ray, with a special fourth award being given. Will Michael Symon be crowned winner yet again for the fourth year, or will he be ousted from his spot? You’ll just have to join us at the Bash to find out!
Miami Beach, FL – February 24, 2012 – Antonio Banderas, everyone’s favorite Spanish fighter from Puss in Boots to Desperado to Zorro, launched his line of Spanish wines last year at SOBEWFF. Banderas held a very special Spanish wine seminar for their debut: Matador! An Introduction to Anta Banderas Winery. The intimate seating gave guests a glimpse into his winery in Ribera del Duero, Spain. It doesn’t get much better than sipping a smooth Tempranillo with the smooth-talker Banderas himself.
Miami Beach, FL – February 24, 2012 – Who would’ve thought Timberland and Bobby Flay would ever be at the same party? Last year, Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian turned into a hip, cool, stogie-smoking DJ for the William Morris Endeavor Chefs After Party. The breezy rooftop at the Dream South Beach hotel, Highbar, had Zakarain on the decks while SOBEWFF founder Lee Schrager, Jonathan Waxman, and tons of other celeb chef pals enjoyed bites from Zakarian’s restaurant, Tudor House, that used to hold the lobby-level restaurant space at the Dream.
Miami Beach, FL – February 25, 2012 – When you put celebrity chefs together with kids, parrots, and food, this is what you get. The Kellogg’s Kidz Kitchen is back again this year at Jungle Island. Last year got everyone involved, with face-painted kids jumping, shouting, and cooking with energetic chefs like Rachael Ray and Guy Fieri. The muscular British chef Robert Irvine was a huge hit with the kids too, getting one girl all giggly as he signed her book. Even former Miami Dolphins player Twan Russell stopped by with the Dolphin’s mascot. Who knows what this year will bring, but we do know that the first day of activities will include chef demos by Giada De Laurentiis, Rocco DiSpirito, and Andrew Zimmern.
Miami Beach, FL – February 25, 2012 – The very lovely rosé lunch hosted by Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian and his wife Margaret at Soho Beach House is always a fabulous affair. The second annual event had Martha Stewart, Bobby Flay, and Jonathan Waxman out to enjoy the roasted pig lunch and sip on Domaine Ott Rosé in the garden, while Zakarain poured drinks and kicked back with a Cuban cigar.
Miami Beach, FL – February 25, 2012 – The annual Tribute Dinner at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel is always a very elegant, memorable event. Each year, it gets together a room full of the “who’s who” in the wine and food worlds to honor one incredible trailblazer each in culinary and wine. Last year, SOBEWFF paid tribute to chef Charlie Trotter and winemaker Piero Antinori. With Anthony Bourdain as the evening’s master of ceremonies, he brought his signature charisma, while chefs Emeril Lagasse, and Norman Van Aken kept things silly in the kitchen. This year‘s event will honor Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa who started the world-wide Nobu restaurants and CEO of Moët Hennessy, Christophe Navarre. With everyone’s favorite entertainer, Martha Stewart, being hostess for the night, it’s sure to be a perfect, bubbly-filled time.
Miami Beach, FL – February 25, 2012 – In the midst of all the running around to events during the weekend, Countess LuAnn de Lesseps and Jacques Azoulay made time for dinner at The Forge during their trip down to Miami for the SOBEWFF last year.
Miami Beach, FL – February 25, 2012 – We all get the late-night munchies for a sweet midnight snack, and last year’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate gave us our fix. Godiva had sweets and treats from all kinds of restaurants for everyone to much on, and Bethenny Frankel was on hand to do some sampling. This year, instead of a big tent affair, Godiva Chocolatier, is taking the ever-so-sweet party to the Dream hotel’s rooftop with the Godiva Indulgence hosted by the master of all things cake and decadent, Duff Goldman.
Miami Beach, FL – February 26, 2012 – A successful second day to the kid-friendly event at Jungle Island got everyone throwing their hands up in the name of healthy eating. Andrew Zimmern made friends with a lemur, and Sunny Anderson got acquainted with a kangaroo from down under while extreme dancers were jumping and spinning around with tons of energy. Miami’s own Michelle Bernstein also added to the fun. This year, Florida Blue’s Fun and Fit as a Family series will have Anne Burrell, Hedy Goldsmith, and other favorites on day two ready to roll.
Miami Beach, FL – February 26, 2012 – The Queen of Sassafras herself, Paula Deen, was up to her usual humorous and lively antics when she hosted her annual Sunday Brunch at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel. In true Deen style, there was a full-on buffet of nothing but good Southern eats, drinks, and lots of laughs. She gave and received kisses left and right, showing some Southern loving to all the chefs who cooked at the event. This year, Trisha Yearwood is hosting a fancy pre-set menu for the Sunday Brunch, bringing her Dixieland style to the affair.
Miami Beach, FL – February 26, 2012 – Things got spicy and sizzling out at sea last year with a special boat party aboard The Biscayne Lady. This brunch on the ocean was hosted by chefs Douglas Rodriguez and Aarón Sanchez. They brought their Mexican and Cuban influences to the dishes and the afternoon’s sail.
Miami Beach, FL – February 26, 2012 – Food trucks wheeled out onto the sand for Trucks on the Beach. Diet Pepsi and Executive Pastry Chef Hedy Goldsmith of Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink joined together for lots of mobile eats and Hedy’s signature sweets as she went around talking to all the chefs and sprinkling her dose of lovable sweetness. This year, the trucks are taking their tracks to Midtown as Andrew Zimmern hosts the massive round-up.
Miami Beach, FL – February 26, 2012 – Foodies, trendsetters and culinary celebrities gathered at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach’s La Côte for Top Chef judge Gail Simmons’ book signing. Alfred Portale of Gotham Steak dropped in, and so did Bobby Flay for some late-night dessert samplings at the hotel’s breezy outdoor restaurant.
Miami Beach, FL – December 31, 2012 – As World Red Eye gets ready for the last night out of 2012, we took a look back at the year in photos. Everyone from Miami to Milan to Melbourne reflects on their year on this night, and we actually have a visual diary of photos to remind us of the highlights and excitement of the past year. We have been to the best parties, heard the best DJ’s, shot the most beautiful people and had a ball doing it. As we ring in the New Year with a glass of Moet tonight, we want to wish all of our viewers a Happy New Year. Here’s to seeing you on WorldRedEye.com in 2013. Have a happy, safe, and healthy New Year!!!