For the gallant food adventurer willing to climb to the very top of the Shangri-la Mall, there waits a delicious prize at the store's sixth floor, a sumptuous modern Japanese meal at Sumo Sam.
Now according to legend, Sam was an American baby who somehow ended up under the care of sumo wrestlers and thus grew up to be like his adoptive fathers as well as a champion for good. In fact, one of his deeds led him to rescue a beautiful maiden who repaid his valiance with the same mouthwatering delights you can now enjoy at the restaurant named after the sumo-wrestling hero.
Whether the legendary wrestler actually existed is up to debate but as for the hero-worthy food, Sumo Sam owners Ricky Laudico, Raymund Magdaluyo, and Marvin Agustin (yes, the Marvin Agustin, the matinee idol, who now has successfully infiltrated Manila's mainstream dining circles with seven restaurants to his name) have made it their solemn duty to bring diners high-quality Japanese cuisine with a Western flair.
For instance, those wishing to explore Sumo Sam's signature flavors would do well to start with the Crunchy Tuna Roll, a serving of spicy tuna maki topped with fried tempura batter with a special sauce on the side. It is all at once crispy from the fried batter, smooth from the tuna, and also spicy and sweet from their trademark sauce. This medley of different tastes and textures, as well as the other offerings from the maki and sushi list, are sure to be a hit with those wanting to try something different from the regular sushi roll.
The are other unique dishes sure to be popular with families such as the Crunchy Squid, where the squid is almost like a sweet and crunchy brittle (perfect for kids), and of course, Sumo Sam's Pride, a cool salad of prawns, lettuce, mango, and walnuts. This salad is, indeed, accurately named with its generous serving of the prawns, the delightful crunch of the glazed walnuts, and the combined flavors of the fruit and dressing.
Aside from bringing a new twist on Japanese food, Sumo Sam also delivers the more traditional favorites such as the Ebi Tempura, Tonkatsudon, Miso Soup, and Ramen. But lest you think that Sumo Sam slacks off with these dishes because they're familiar, you must come and visit to see that the quality is still impeccable. Any true fan of Japanese cuisine is likely to appreciate the size of the prawns in the tempura as well as the hefty serving of the chops on the tonkatsudon meal. Without a doubt, everything coming from the Sumo Sam kitchen is fit for champions.
But apart from the already-tantalizing food offerings in Sumo Sam, a visitor also gets to experience the Harajuku-style interiors of the restaurant. The modern lighting and furniture and friendly waitstaff with trendy haircuts are complimented by the more old-fashioned (yet no less attractive) stoneware and the bamboo-and-paper lanterns found inside the store.
As all these elements are combined to ensure diners have a good time, it is safe to say that the aforementioned food adventurer would do no wrong in giving Sumo Sam a visit to take a bite of the amazing food and see the lively interiors. It's clear that Ricky, Raymund, Marvin, and even Sumo Sam, have taken their vow to serve their diners well seriously.
-Valerie Grace Calma