I’m trying to think of a single term to describe Sushi Roxx. It’s practically impossible. Dinner and a show sounds archaic. Dinner theater it is not. A floorshow with food sounds clumsy. I loathe the expression Eat-ertainment. Sushi Roxx is mysterious, flashy, raucous, sexy and often intoxicatingly enjoyable as the servers not only provide platters and plates created by Executive Chef Edwin Purnomo, but they also perform as trained singers and dancers. The staff sets the table and stage as only New York City could conjure up.
I recently spoke with and shimmied up to Karina Smirnoff from ABC’S “Dancing with The Stars.” She is the latest choreographer that jolts the room to life with a contagious commotion and sounds of pop, rock and classic tunes — the wait staff perform to hits by Alicia Keys, Prince, Beyoncé, Timberlake, etc., as well as a wink and thrust to Michael Jackson.
“I wanted to acknowledge some of our dance legends like Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse, but I also believe that Michael Jackson contributed immensely to the art form. I have the dancers reflect a little of his style in several of the combinations,” said Smirnoff. “This opportunity lets me bring my Latin style of choreography and creativity to most of the dances, if not all of them.”
The drone of base notes pulsates a smooth rhythm inside the dining room as DJ, Mokalicious, gets things started. It begins very slowly. By the time that our meal is complete, the room is rocking, rolling and booming in celebration. An American Bandstand meets Japanese lounge slash club slash disco slash restaurant.
You may have read about Sushi Roxx or saw the episode of “Desperate Housewives New York” when the cast made an impromptu visit. Jason Apfelbaum (above with Karina Smirnoff), CEO of ROXX Hospitality Corp., called upon veteran designer DeVinn Bruce to create the visually electrifying and entertaining experience while fashion icon Betsey Johnson designed the uniforms for each member of the wait staff. Even the walls and pillars spread the high-tech energy with colorful projections of fire and waterfalls.
Aside from the performers, celebs and digital effects, it is all about the cuisine. The Japanese flavor blends perfectly with the American style showmanship. Highlights from the raw menu include the Original Roxx Box with Salmon Tomato (salmon sashimi, sautéed tomato, onion remoulade, sushi rice), and a signature roll like the White Dragon (eel, pickled squash, avocado, cucumber, yuzu, crunch). I recommend the Appolo Creed made with a spicy scallop, avocado, shiso leaf, tobiko and drizzled eel sauce. The Mr. Pink wraps shrimp tempura, cream cheese, apple, mango, spicy kani and fresh orange.
I’m still racking my brain to succinctly describe exactly what is Sushi Roxx. It’s not an easy task as the place engulfs so many elements simultaneously. In that sense it is very much like a sushi roll, but then you have to add the high-octane sound system, hyperbolic lighting and flash mob dancing; it becomes far too original for a simple definition. It’s an extravaganza with chopsticks.
If you are visiting the city, put it on your list of things to do. If you live here, hail a cab and buckle up. They serve and high kick several times each night.
Photos by Andrew Warner and P.K. Greenfield
Sushi Roxx is located inside The Tuscany,
a St. Giles Boutique Hotel in Midtown East
120 East 39th Street,
New York, NY