Posted June 27, 2024

We wanted to try some less authentic Brazilian food, and we received a recommendation from a friend to try out this place. They mentioned they were very impressed by the quality of the fish and felt it would meet our expectations, especially for sushi. This was one of the few Asian-centric restaurants in Natal. We were able to walk in around 7:00 PM here without any reservations. To our surprise, there were plenty of seats.

Ambiance & Service

The ambiance inside is dark with a glamorous feel to it as if you’re fine dining. They had a cellist and a pianist playing music of pop songs. The backdrop is decorated with some pools of water, and it did make you forget you were in a small city of Natal.

The service was good, though the pacing between some dishes took extraordinarily long at times. I don’t know if it’s because the kitchen was backed up, or if it was because I was expecting things to come out quickly for what it was.

We ordered the omakase, which was R$219 per person. We did not realize that the 2 musicians would cost us an additional R$7 for each of us.

At the time of purchase, the currency exchange rate was $1 USD to R$5.4 Brazilian Real. This means you can take the listed R$ amounts and divide it by 5.4 to get the USD equivalent.

Food

The Orange Juice (R$10) was freshly squeezed.

The glass of chardonnay (R$26) came from Rutas Del Sur, Cremaschi Furlotti, Chile 2022. This was a light chardonnay that paired decently with the sushi.

The oysters came with 2 pieces of Rio Do Fogo oysters, which is about an hour drive north of Natal:

  • (right) Rio do Fogo oyster with cherry tartare vinaigrette and flying fish eggs.
  • (left) Rio do Fogo oyster with a vinaigrette of cheiro (Brazilian pepper aka “Madame Jeanette”), purple onion, and citrus herbs.

The right oyster was my preference, more so than the left one, due to the texture of the fish eggs and the flavor of the cherry tartare vinaigrette. In addition, these oysters were definitely not briny, and they had pretty good flavors. They did remind me a bit of west coast oysters.

The tuna carpaccio came on top of a spring-rolled pasta strip, and dressed with oyster sauce and mayonnaise. The tuna was marinated with capers and sat on top of smoked eggplant cream. On the side was a lightly flavored smoked paprika chip. This one was decent to me. It did taste like a mix of Chinese meets Japanese here.

For nigiris, from right to left:

  • Dentão (snapper) was topped with oyster sauce and Persian lime.
  • Cioba (red snapper) was topped with a purple onion and some peppers and a tonkatsu sauce with Brazilian peppers and purple onion.
  • Robalo (sea bass) was topped with miso sauce and masago.
  • Agulhinha Branca (needlefish) marinated with onions and ginger and spiced pepper jam
  • Peixe Serra (large-tooth sawfish) charred lightly with salsa and fried garlic

The fish was pretty fresh, but I was not a fan of the needlefish. That particular meat seemed to be dryer than the rest, and it had a slightly more fishy taste to it.

For nigiris, from right to left:

  • Atum Lombo (tuna sirloin) topped with smoked eggplant cream and green onions.
  • Salmão Barriga (salmon belly) topped with sicilian lemon and olive oil of white truffle.
  • Vieira (scallop) topped with salt and yellow lemon zest.
  • Atum (tuna) topped with quail egg and flor de sal (Brazilian salt).
  • Atum (tuna) topped with small cuts of scallop with ginger and green onions, and black truffle oil.
  • Polvo (octopus) came steamed with no seasoning on it.

I found all these cuts to be pretty good. My partner did not like some of them because they were not a fan of truffle oil which they unintentionally contaminated some of their nigiris. The octopus was odd in that it tasted as if it were steamed with no seasoning. It actually was a little chewy to us, and it might have tasted better if they had at least grilled it.

The Spaghetti came with herb butter with pieces of seafood (shrimp, squid, and fish) and roasted tomato pesto sauce. The noodles were cooked al dente, and the sauce had a very distinct taste of pesto. The seafood was fresh, but nothing was super unique or different than what we’ve had before.

The Dessert came with jabuticaba ice cream, caju slices, and some sort of jam. My partner didn’t like the jam because they found it to be excessively sweet. Everything else was good though definitely trending to the sweeter side. The caju slices reminded me of eating syrup-laced mango slices, but definitely with some of the flavors of caju in it.

Final Verdict

Lotus is probably one of the more “popular” Japanese restaurants in Natal, given that there are very few Japanese sushi restaurants to begin with. Many of the sushi places we’ve seen so far simply serve cut rolls. I think if you’re yearning for some omakase and trying a local Japanese fusion type cuisine, give it a try. I would say the difference in flavors were not too far from Japanese restaurants we’ve had in the coastal United States.

Yelp Jabs

Due to an empty Yelp page, we’ll take a look at Google reviews.

Super service, the best sushi in the Northeast. Sometimes you have to wait, but it’s really worth it. Heaven in mouth.

The restaurant service is very attentive, but definitely consider that the best sushi in the north east is the same as saying it’s the best of 5 places to eat.

This is de definitely the best and most creative Asian fusion we have ever tried. It a must have if you are in Natal. This place without any doubt deserves at least 2 Michelin starts. International calibre cheff

I do not think this restaurant will win any Michelin awards any time soon as much of the food is comparable to many regular Japanese omakase restaurants in New York City.

Revisions

  1. Jun 27, 2024 - Initial revision.