Nevermind Abbi’s steamy return to Soulstice, it was Ilana’s storyline that was the highlight of last night’s episode of Broad City. Why? Because she scores a job working at Sushi Mambeaux. Clearly, this is a sendup of Sushi Samba, the Japanese-Brazilian restaurant made famous by Sex and the City. Except Sushi Mambeaux specializes in Japanese-French fusion, as indicated by the ridiculous Eiffel Tower-emblazoned paper lanterns and Arc de Triomphe projection.
As if there’s any doubt, Ilana confirms the SATC connection when the general manager of Sushi Mambeaux, played by RuPaul, tells her to go work at a Connecticut Muffin and she puts him in his place: “Just because Sex and the City filmed here 25 years ago one time, doesn’t mean that I need this. So fuck you and your Manhattan restauranteries.”
Nesting like a Russian doll within this obvious SATC reference is another one. Look closely and you’ll see that the filming location for Sushi Mamba was Williamsburg’s longstanding Thai restaurant, Sea. The decor has been reworked, but you can still spot the hanging egg chairs, central pool, and Buddha sculpture. Sea, you may recall, was also a Sex and the City filming location; in 2003 (so, 13 years ago, not 25) it masqueraded as Raw, the raw-food restaurant where a hot waiter offered Samantha an amuse-bouche, causing her to utter the immortal line: “I’d like him to amuse my bouche.”
And there’s yet another SATC connection, though this one may or may not have been intentional. One of Ilana’s new coworkers is Brenda, an older woman who “came with the building.” She’s played by Sandra Bernhard, who, fun fact, turned down the chance to play Miranda on Sex and the City because she felt the script was “terrible.” Had she taken the part, she would’ve been at Samantha’s table at Raw; and now here she is, working at Sushi Mambeaux.
This isn’t the first time the show has referenced its besties-in-the-city predecessor. Witness last season’s premiere, where Ilana announced that she was a Miranda-Carrie, with a little bit of Charlotte.