The duo who leads the successful team at Samurai Japanese Restaurant is Chef Kenji and General Manager Rui Pires. As team leaders they understand the secrets behind great customer service coupled with top notch dishes. We reviewed Samurai a couple months ago and had the pleasure of experiencing their dedication and attention to detail first hand.
Rui Pires has come a long way from his days of being a busboy in Portugal.
At a young age he ventured to be a part of the hospitality industry and quickly learned to climb the ladder. He worked his way up understanding the importance of every level and seeing that experience alone was not enough, he opted to attend hotel school to study Food & Beverage Management. His resume is extensive and his decision to leave the family jewelry business and go into hospitality has paid off. Rui has owned a restaurant, managed some of the more successful ones, mopped floors and even peeled potatoes all for one thing, "staff should never be able to hold you ransom, I can pick up the slack if need be" he goes on to tell us. He doesn't settle for mediocrity and it shows in his duties. Rui has fallen in love with our country and is married with two daughters who act as his body guard, they were not afraid to speak out on a mistake in a previous article with the spelling of his name. Soraia and Cidalia saw to it that it was rectified. With support like that he's bound to succeed and any restaurant should be honored to have him as part of their team.
The other half of this team sees to it that only the best and most creative dishes are served in Samurai. Executive Chef Kenji Miura is the genius behind the beautiful menu at Samurai. When we asked him if cooking was his passion he jokingly told us he hated cooking as a child but after getting to know his fish in Japan's famous fish market fell into the world of sushi. His passion for sushi quickly turned into a career change working in Jamaica in two well-known restaurants, East Japanese and Majestic Sushi & Grill. His dishes are artful and exciting and to see a chef of his caliber work is eye opening. We were treated to a special chef platter which was a sushi experience I will never forget.
Beautifully prepared by Chef Kenji it consisted of sashimi of the finest quality, Japanese Barbecue Steak, a Special Roll of salmon and snapper and Gunkan Maki of Scallops and salmon.
Japanese barbecue steak which we had before at Samurai and didn't fully enjoy but this time it was perfectly cooked. Tender and lightly flavored ensuring the beef was the star.
Sashimi - beautifully prepared Octopus, local snapper, blue find tuna and salmon topped with gold flakes. I've said before they could very well have the best sashimi in the country and it still stands.
Nigiri - Hamachi, Yellow Tail from Japan, Norwegian Salmon, and Local Tuna all of very high quality sitting on a bed of perfectly cooked and seasoned rice.
Kenji's specially prepared roll is one that should be on their menu with salmon and snapper topped with garlic mayo and shadon beni, he catered for our local palette and I can see it being a favourite.
Gunkan Maki of Scallops and salmon, simple, fresh and flavourful.
Our dinner ended with Molten Chocolate Cake and Green Tea Tiramisu. Always at the top of their game with desserts, chocolate cake was "Molten!!!" Rich and velvety. The Tiramisu was surprisingly good. Green tea can be a little bitter but the buttery cake and filling were a perfect balance for it.
We learned that Tempura was introduced to Japan by the Portuguese and some of the greatest chefs didn't always love cooking. That managers should have an appreciation for all jobs under and around them and sushi should be prepared with respect and care. The Bill Check recognizes Chef Kenji Miura and GM Rui Pires as being an unstoppable duo in the industry.