Manhattan, NYC: We enjoyed a unique dinner at Sushi Roxx, a dynamic performance-infused Japanese restaurant in Midtown East. Check out the review!
Located just off of Park Avenue South on E. 39th street is Sushi Roxx, an… intense culinary experience dominated by stunning dancers, striking vocals, a booming sound system and (fortunately) truly decent sushi. Dinners accented by performance often calls to mind the brash, over-the-top (see: bad) Times-Square setups- cavernous dining rooms done up in themes of pirates or witchcraft, with stop-and-go moments of singing, dialogue, and table-side gimmicks. Sushi Roxx is hidden behind a series of black curtains; pulling back the first reveals a comfortable and modern bar shared with the Tuscany Hotel, serving brand new cocktails including The ‘Double Dragon’, an easily enjoyable apple-influenced drink incorporating Bombay Sapphire gin, green tea, lemongrass, fuji apple, Amaro Nonino, lemon, and apple bitters. The second curtain reveals a hybrid dining and performance space, gloriously illuminated in every color imaginable, plus columns of TVs and walls plastered in Japanese cartoon and pop culture lore. Bowls of popcorn dot the tables, which are placed around the room. A small sushi bar anchors a corner.
Sushi Roxx differentiates itself by actually spending a moment to curate a menu worth looking at with Executive Chef Edwin Purnomo’s steady hand, featuring items such as “Surf ‘n’ Turf”, constituting as a cautious shrimp tempura, light snow crab and avocado topped with filet mignon. Final touch? A sweet soy and yuzu miso reduction. The tuna flatbread pizza was also quite good, just crunchy enough but smothered in avocado, caviar, and a simple aioli. We also enjoyed wild ginger edamame to snack on, finished in a chili essence. The meal with finished with none other than ‘s’mores’, served on a hot skillet full of chocolate and marshmallows, with a surround of graham crackers. Another high note was the ice cream filled mochi.
Sure the meal was good, but we cannot ignore the performance. Most of the waiters at this restaurant are trained singers and dancers, infusing about 5 performances into the course of the meal. One knew a show was about to start with the drop of the bass a notable volume increase. It was a dynamic mix of fancy footwork and exceptional vocal skill, with waiters donning uniforms designed by Betsy Johnson, girls and guys alike interacted with each other, even inviting guests to come dance along. It was campy, doing everything from bits of the ‘Grease’ soundtrack to Beyonce, but it was self-aware of the campiness- performers maintained big smiles and were laughing along, even improvising and playing off the energy of guests, making the scene eye catching and interesting. Unfortunately, since waiters are doing double duty as entertainment, service can be a little slow. Generally, things moved quickly, but we had to ask more than once for certain things. Sushi Roxx was also very accommodating with our guest’s allergy. If Sushi Roxx can avoid getting thrown into the mix of other ‘performance dining’ establishments that aren’t doing it so effectively, they’ll be able to stay on top as a tasteful take on the whole idea.