My family tends to avoid famous restaurants and by habit, we prefer closer to home-cooked meals, at reasonable prices and with an atmosphere that doesn’t have to resemble a club to be enjoyable. Even then, if we end up going to an upscale place, it has to be for a pretty special occasion and what we call special occasions are far and few between. Getting everyone in my immediate family together in New York is one of those special occasions that we thought we’d splash out and celebrate as a family. The result? Dinner for twelve at the famous Japanese restaurant, Nobu.
Although I ate at the Las Vegas version of this restaurant, dining at the flagship restaurant with the family and some other relatives ended up with as a much more enjoyable meal lasting over ten courses and stretching over at least three hours. I’m glad to say that our waiter worked extremely well for his service charge, telling us about the menu in great detail, talking about his own recommendations, topping up everyone’s water frequently and bringing the food at a reasonable pace. He didn’t try to up sell certain types of food or try to push things that we didn’t want to eat or drink, and he didn’t interrupt during our meal at awkward times, breaking the flow of whatever conversations we might have been in.
Read on to see the list of dishes we ate and photos of the food (at least those that turned out).
- Fresh yellowtail sashimi with jalepeno
- Spicy miso chips with tuna
- Fluke with garlic
- New style sashimi with white fish and salmon
- Sashimi salad with matsuhisa sauce
- Tempura rock shrimp with a creamy spicy sauce and a ponzu sauce
- Halibut cheeks in a wasabi pepper sauce
- Squid ‘pasta’ in a garlic sauce
- Scallops in a wasabi pepper sauce
- Chilean sea bass with black bean sauce
- Miso black cod
- Dessert (I had the Fuji Apple Harumaki)
Our Nobu chefs presented the food beautifully and each dish looked immaculate upon arriving at the table. Most of the dishes, probably due to the high soy sauce content, I found a little bit salty although this noticeably enhanced the stronger flavoured foods. Out of all the tasty dishes, the most memorable for me includes the yellowtail with jalepeno, the rock shrimp with ponzu sauce and the miso with black cod. The yellowtail with jalepeno was sliced thinly with a tiny tiny piece of chilli placed in the centre of each slice, releasing enough heat without being overpowering and the slightly tangy dressing perking the entire dish. The rock shrimp came in a tempura batter and the citrus flavoured ponzu sauce gave the sweet flesh that refreshingly slight tang that goes so well with most seafood dishes. Finally the trademark black cod in miso sauce was ever so light and the strange slightly sweet sauce permeating the entire flesh was extremely addictive. The piece of skin was delicately fried all around to achieve a perfect crispness and the outside edges lovingly caramelised to perfection.
Yellowtail with Jalepeno – Yellowtail sashimi with a small slice of jalepeno sitting on top garnished with cilantro (coriander) and in a light sauce. Divine gentle heat provided by the chilli complemented well by the sharpness of the cilantro.
Spicy Miso Chips with Tuna – I missed the spicy part of this dish, though the crispy texture of the miso chip topped with tuna went together extremely well. They served it with a light salad on the side (I was guessing some some sort of radish with some sort of light dressing).
Fluke with garlic – Crispy fried garlic topped on a fluke sashimi and served with some chives.
New style sashimi with white fish and tuna – Boiling hot oil (olive and sesame) lightly dropped into places around on a plate of sashimi of a white fish and salmon. An oily dish though very tasty.
Sashimi Salad with matsuhisa sauce – A lightly seared tuna perched around a bed of greens and topped with grated white radish. The sauce full of something like ginger, mustard and vinegar. Slightly over salted.
Tempura rock shrimp with creamy spicy sauce and ponzu sauce – Tiny fried prawns covered in a batter, one served with a creamy spicy sauce though it didn’t really have any kick from the chilli, and the light ponzu sauce soaked into the other one. The creamy sauce went well although made it a little bit too greasy for my liking. Hence the light citrus flavoured ponzu sauce I think went a little bit better with this one.
Halibut cheeks with a wasabi pepper sauce – Stringy cheeks of white fleshed fish fried and then served with mushrooms and asparagus sitting in the wasabi pepper sauce.
Squid ‘pasta’ in a garlic sauce – A soft, well cooked squid cut to look like penne pasta accompanied by mushrooms and asparagus in a light garlic sauce.
Scallops in a wasabi pepper sauce – Big fat, seared scallops also served with mushrooms and asparagus in the wasabi pepper sauce.
Chilean sea bass with a black bean sauce – A huge hunk of sea bass that softly breaks into small pieces in a very light black bean sauce. The chefs cooked the fish perfectly with the flesh softly melting into chunks though the sauce was a little light on flavour.
Black cod with a black miso sauce – Crisp skin and soft succulent flesh soaked in a black miso sauce then grilled so the outsides take a lovely caramelised colour.
Fuji Apple Harumaki – An apple cider ice cream covered in a crunchy sweet oat crumble, served what looks like a warm apple pie filling wrapped in a light pastry shaped like a couple of spring rolls sitting in a light vanilla sauce.
Bento Box – This was described as warm Valrhona chocolate souffle cake, shiso syrup, white chocolate sauce and green tea ice cream [served in a Bento Box].
Found at: 105 Hudson Street, New York, NY, 10013
Contactable on: +1 212 219 0500
Highlights: Amazing service, great food both in terms of presentation and flavours and interesting takes on traditional Japanese classics.
Room for improvement: Some of the dishes ended up excessively salty and could have done with less salt.
The Kua Rating: 9 out of 10