Entries in Nobu (3)



I had lunch at Nobu on Wednesday, probably my 4th or 5th time at the restaurant, always for lunch. (Accounts of two past visits can be found here and here.)

As I have noted before, if you show up without a reservation at 11:45 or noon, you will invariably be seated. In the past, we’ve always been told that we’d have to be finished by 1:30, or so. No such guidance this week; even when we left, at 2pm, the restaurant was not full.

I started with a salmon skin roll, which was very good, if not quite offering the taste explosion of the best sushi restaurants. My colleague and I shared four of the signature dishes: yellowtail tartar with caviar and wasabe sauce; spicy rock shrimp tempura; squid “pasta”, and miso black cod. I think the squid pasta has lost a bit of its lustre; when you get over the novelty, it is really nothing special. But the others are all top-notch, and it is no surprise that they bring the miso black cod last. Although imitated a hundred times over, there is still no miso black cod like Nobu’s.

I finished with an apple crisp with cinnamon ice cream, and while you don’t think of Nobu for its desserts, this was beautifully prepared and a sensory pleasure.

Service was excellent.

As an unrelated aside, did you ever wonder why you can’t get through to Nobu on the reservation line? At lunch time, there are five phone operators sitting at a booth near the front door. They are the reservations department. While waiting for my coat, I overheard one of them telling the others about a recent social event she’d attended. The phone rang: “Nobu, can you hold, please?” After putting the caller on hold, she finished her story about the social event.

Nobu (105 Hudson Street at Franklin Street, TriBeCa)

Food: ***
Service: ***
Ambiance: **
Overall: ***


Sushi Lunch at Nobu

Note: Click here for a more recent visit to Nobu.

A vendor took me to lunch at Nobu yesterday. Just like the last time, we appeared promptly at the opening time 11:45am and were seated immediately, promising to vacate our table before 1:30pm.

Nobu offers several sushi and sashimi assortments for lunch, priced between $22.50 and $26.00. Any one of them is a steal, in my opinion. I ordered the “Special Sushi” at $26.00, which came with somewhere between 12-15 pieces, plus Miso Soup. The ingredients were first-class, as one would expect at this temple of Japanese cuisine. This must be one of the best upscale sushi bargains in town.

One of my dining companions offered me a piece of his softshell crab sushi, an astonishing composition. Another of the composed lunch plates offers Sashimi with Soft Shell Crab Roll at $23.50. I shall have to try that next time.

Nobu (105 Hudson Street at Franklin Street, TriBeCa)



Note: Click here for a more recent review of Nobu.

A vendor invited me out to lunch at Nobu on Friday. That meant he was paying. We had no reservation, but we were waiting by the door when they opened at 11:45am, and we were seated immediately. My host had done this before, so apparently it’s a dependable way to get into Nobu without a rez. We only had to promise that we’d vacate our table by 1:30pm. It was my first visit.

For lunch, Nobo offers a wide variety of sushi and sashimi plates, soups and side dishes, several sushi/sashimi assortments in the $23-$28 range, a prix fixe package at $20.04, and the chef’s omakase at “$55 to $65 and up.” There’s also a two-column list running to a closely-spaced half-page, which the waiter called “Chef Nobu’s signature dishes.” The menu had another name for them, but the waiter’s term sticks in my memory.

The waiter advised us to skip the sushi, and to order 4 or 5 of the signature dishes, which he told us are served “Tapas style.” That means they come one at a time, to be shared by the table. We chose 5 of the signature dishes – basically the ones the waiter recommended – as well as the Spicy Seafood Soup, which my host had enjoyed on his previous visit. The waiter’s descriptions went by at blazing speed, and frankly I wasn’t entirely sure what we’d chosen. He told us about a few special dishes not on the menu, and we chose one of these, but I always wonder why a restaurant can’t be bothered to put the daily specials on a piece of paper. I think Nobu could manage it. At any rate, it all sounded good.

The Spicy Seafood Soup came first, and it reminded me of that old commercial about the soup so chunky you want to eat it with a fork. There was just an amazing amount of seafood packed into the soup bowl. Then came yellowtail with cilantro and jalapeno peppers; I thought the last two ingredients slightly overwhelmed the first. It was the only dish about which I had even the slightest reservations. Our second signature dish was kobe beef, thinly sliced, and prepared with two kinds of spices. A tuna sashimi salad was sheer perfection, with several large slices of rare tuna. Then came squid pasta (hard to explain), and finally a black sea bass so rich and flavorful that I can still taste it.

I can see why the waiter steered us away from sushi. My host, who had ordered sushi the last time he visited, confirmed this. The so-called signature dishes are extraordinary and without parallel. The sushi, he said, is of course among the best that can be had, but doesn’t stand out from what’s available elsewhere quite so conspicuously.

With five dishes shared among two of us, plus soup, I left Nobu quite full, and yet sorry that the meal was over. Every dish was creative, full of flavor, perfectly seasoned, and prepared with an obvious attention to every detail. While enjoying our own meal, my host and I watched the parade of plates arriving at adjoining tables. No matter what you order, every dish entertains the eye as much as the taste buds. They are all works of sculpture – “Art in Food,” as my host observed. He promised to invite me back again, this time for dinner, in a couple of months or so. I can hardly wait.

Nobu (105 Hudson Street at Franklin Street, TriBeCa)