Samba Bowls

A few years ago, Jenny Sayegh brought the West Coast California trend of acai bowls all the way to the East Coast, by creating her own singular restaurant dubbed Samba Bowls, on 37 East Ridgewood Avenue in New Jersey, where it still stands to date. However, customers can also obtain their bowls through Samba Bo wl’s website, Ever since that time, people entered in and out of the restaurant, and placed orders online, eager to try the new fad that is acai. Acai (äsäˈē) originated in South America as a palm tree producing, purple/blackberries tasting similarly to blueberries, but sweeter. The acai used as a base in these bowls, however,  are blended together to create a thick paste packed with flavor. These bowls are available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, providing each customer with fresh fruit, daily vitamins, and antioxidants in a unique way. Samba states that when it comes to their bowls, “We never cut corners and you can see and taste that everything we make is 100% real, natural, and unprocessed.” This was taken to the test on Sunday, September 30th, when two BF Bolt writers entered the Samba Bowls restaurant for an in-depth review of the premises and items.

Samba Bowls cuisine has a lot of different flavors and styles. Two of the most popular bowls are the Purple Brazilian Bowl and the Pink Paradise Bowl. The Purple Brazilian Bowl has a base blend of acai. The Pink Paradise Bowl has a base blend of pitaya, pineapple, banana, and coconut milk. Another bowl is the Green Bowl that has a base blend of kale and banana. The Tropical Breeze Bowl has a base that is blended with pineapple, mango, banana, and almond milk, which is a bowl that lots of people like to get as well. One of the smoothies Samba Bowls has is the Strawnana Smoothie, a blend of strawberries, banana, and coconut milk. A lot of people either get the bowls and smoothies as they are or get customized bowls for any time of the day, which they call “Build Your Own Bowl.” In the “Build Your Own Bowl,” they have many toppings you can add such as Nutella, strawberries, Goji berries, or coconut flakes. After three toppings are chosen, a drizzle of any kind can be added. Some of the drizzles they have are Nutella, honey drizzle, or peanut butter. Additionally, based on the different months during the year, there are seasonal bowls. The specials for this fall season consist of the Pumpkin Spice Bowl and Cinnamon Apple Bowl. The Pumpkin Spice Bowl has a base of pumpkin, banana, cinnamon, and almond milk. The Cinnamon Apple Bowl has a base of acai and bananas, and what gives it its name is the topping of apple squares coated in cinnamon. Samba Bowls also has one seasonal smoothie known as the Pumpkin Spice smoothie made from a rich blend of pumpkin, banana, strawberries, cinnamon, and almond milk.

Each signature and personalized bowls start at $10, with each topping, and add-in, the price increases. Toppings and drizzles like honey or Nutella an extra $0.75, and adding protein is another $1.00. Gluten-free granola is an additional $0.50, which is relatively reasonable. For the smoothies, a 16oz is $7.00, and a 20oz is $8.00.

When first walking into Samba Bowls, the tables are cleaned off and there is nothing on the floor. The customer bathroom also fairly clean, with a modern interior, and clean floors. When the workers are preparing the bowls, they wear gloves and do not touch the food that is being prepared.

The restaurant has upbeat music playing on the speakers around the restaurant They have six tables for seating, each with three chairs each. There are three tables inside the restaurant, and three tables outside the restaurant. Although they have this seating, the restaurant is structured more for to-go orders. The restaurant is quiet but gets busier on the weekends, when people come in and out of the restaurant. The staff is quiet, and they are always stocked on supplies behind the counter. Stations for other drinks and snacks are placed around the restaurant.

In Samba Bowls, the decor is very simple. The themed wall paint has purple, white, and green like the logo. There is also a lot of different pictures, most are pleasing to the eyes but some are also a list of what is actually in the bowls or smoothies. There are 3 TV’s inside, which shows the news additional looks to the menu. There’s a TV facing the outside window which shows the ingredients of the bowls and smoothies. There is a digital cash register, where you can get rewards to get free bowls. Even though Samba Bowls has seating, it is more used for making more “to-go” orders.

There are usually about three or four staff workers working in the restaurant at a time. Although they speak to the customers about the different bowls and inform them, it was observed that they weren’t very enthusiastic about socializing with a reviewing staff. However, they did offer different bowls to try and listed the ingredients of each one with ease.

So how do the bowls taste? Well, the BF Bolt writers were supplied with small spoons filled with samples of different bases. The special for the season of October, the pumpkin base, tastes just like pumpkin pie. It has a smooth texture, and a sweet, but also has slight cinnamon flavor. The coconut base is one of the sweetest bases, and it has small chunks in it, resembling small seeds. The pineapple in the coconut base is not very prominent, even though it is one of the ingredients. The coconut and its sweetness seem to overpower the other contents of the bowl. The pitaya base is a tangy mix, resembling that of berries, not as much of dragon fruit. The most simple base blend is the acai, which tastes similar to blueberries. The acai bowl is sweeter than pitaya, but it is a bit tangy. Another bowl offered is the swole bowl. This bowl’s base is made up of a blend of banana and peanut butter. This one is very rich in flavor and predominantly showcased the peanut butter ingredient. All of the bases such as the pumpkin base, tropical base, kale base, and coconut base have a more smooth, but thick, texture, sometimes with small pieces of the food in them. The others, such as the acai and pitaya, are more similar to smoothies than the bases.

To conclude, Samba Bowls is a restaurant with various exotic bowls to try out. Each bowl has its own texture and taste and looks just like it does in the photos. This restaurant has an exquisite atmosphere and fast service. Overall, this restaurant would have a 4.7 rating from the BF Bolt Staff.