“The food was delicious, it’s really loud, and there’s human tragedy on all sides.”
The short version: Five star food and decor; incredibly friendly, if awkward, service; pricey cocktails; one star fellow diners.
The long version:
After making the stupendously rookie mistake of eating a very large and very late lunch, my wife and I arrived at Nobu for dinner. We ordered the mid-range omakase, telling our server we were fans of uni and not afraid of anything she might bring us. And while it’s true nothing challenged us ON the plates, we were utterly undone by the sheer number OF those plates.
-Salmon sashimi with truffled oil & salt, yuzu, and Japanese pear (probably the best thing of the night)
-Yamamomo, or Japanese mountain pear (this wasn’t a dish unto itself, but a diminutive deep red berry that appeared on, and with, many courses)
-Miso pudding, candied pecans, vanilla ice cream, and espresso “foam” sprinkled with cinnamon (served in a small glass atop one another (listed bottom to top), and meant to be eaten by driving your spoon to the very bottom each time, claiming a sample of each layer with every jab)
There was a dish that bears mentioning, not so much because we loved it, but because it was strange and fun and made us giggle:
-Salmon “Pastrami” with shiitake & asparagus “fries”, ponzu miso, and salmon roe - This tasted exactly, and I mean exactly, like a hot dog and barbecue potato chips.
The food was lovely, fun, delicious and serious at times, passable and silly at others.
As for the dining experience and why our evening merited less than five stars: it was loud. Shout at the person next to you loud. Piece together what you heard, and what your partner heard, of the description of the food loud.
And the people, oh the people. To our left was the married family man pouring out his life story to his dashing and beautiful Rent Boy companion. To our right was a woman who, when she wasn’t checking her boyfriend’s throat for abnormalities using her tongue, was curling her eyelashes at the table. Happily our meal was nearly over by the time the foreign gentleman, his marks carefully circled around him, began bragging loudly about the millions he usually handles and wondering, also loudly, when they were going to go get the money.
I wish it could just be about the food, oh I do (as I sit here, my belly threatening to burst like the fat sausage casing it’s become), but the people around us, and through whom we had to elbow, shove, and power-walk just to leave, were incredibly distracting.
—Benjamin’s Disclaimer: This review is based on a single dining experience. And while your own mileage will most definitely vary, one chance is often all a restaurant gets to make an impression. Make your own decisions. Aaaaaaand maybe don’t eat so much lunch a scant two hours before what turns out to be a ten course tasting menu. Yeesh.