Nobu Sushi

Posted on 05 November 2008

By: Bob Schriner
Restaurant Interior Shots by: Tim Street-Porter – Rockwell Group
Food Photos: Eiichi Takahashi

If you have 8:00 o’clock reservation at Nobu you will know if your watch breaks, because you will surely be checking often. This hour couldn’t come soon enough for me. Nobu did nothing accidental to garner a reputation as an elite restaurant. Joining me tonight was my dear and multi-talented friend Luther Gooch who is always a good man to dine with. With Luther sticking to mineral water I had to drink for two. This task was made easy by the Melbourne Mule which mixed soju, lime, kiwi and ginger beer into a deceptively mild cocktail.  Rather than order off the menu I submitted my evening’s choices to the trusted discretion of Chef Marcelo Mezquia and said, “I’ll tell you when to stop.” A few moments later he delivered a plate of roasted Shiseido peppers that served as the perfect finger food to start us off. Along with the peppers came the steamed monkfish pate. The pate was wonderfully dense and flavorful and could have stood alone. Yet in a pursuit of perfection this pate was topped with caviar and set in spicy mustard with miso sauce that came on with a flare and quickly mellowed.
The next plate to arrive at our table caught our eye and it was as if everything else in the room stopped moving as we learn what we had in store. Octopus has never looked or tasted better than this fusion take on ceviche. The thinly sliced octopus was placed ornately in a shallow pool of usu, a lemon/lime dressing that carried the flavor of the citrus while omitting the tart acidic qualities. When you get something good, it never hurts to turn it into a bit of a theme. The splayed shrimp that arrived next also had the usu in common with the octopus, this was a good thing. The shrimp was flash fried live and then doused in usu and a little extra virgin olive oil. The shrimp itself was huge and the texture was very soft for what appeared to be slightly cooked.
Hoping for veggies, but not wanting to wish away the stream of seafood I felt like Marcelo was reading my mind when he brought out the unagi with Brussels sprouts and truffles. Of all my seafaring friends I feel the eel is often overlooked. Usu emerged again in this dish, but was far less of a factor in the flavor as truffle oil and rich butter. The sprouts were steamed to the point where they were just stiff enough, when butter is on board, the last thing you want is over cooked greens. The unagi was so tender I was afraid my chopsticks would just cut the pieces in half. I was just about to say I’d had enough when an order of squid and date tempura came to us. This creation was thought up earlier in the day and we were told that they were excited for us to try it. Needless to say, we were happy with that decision too. The contrast between the firm squid and the soft dates was accentuated with a ginger soy sauce and balanced with roasted cherry tomatoes and shiseido peppers. While it would be no easy task to choose a favorite so far, this was winning me over with every bite.

Dessert at this point was certainly overkill and I welcomed it in the same sense and style that I had just let Marcelo make my choices. The two selections were each worthy of their own spotlight. The Banana Caramel Soy Tobanyaki brought together piping hot bananas baked in caramel sauce with roasted pecans and a generous scoop of malega ice cream. Given the extreme heat and cold it was crucial to move fast enough to get a piece of banana, a pecan and some ice cream on your spoon before it melted, accomplishing this came with am endorphin releasing reward. The PB&J Satandagi also brought hot and cold together in a way that urged acting quickly. The soft donut-like Satandagi was filled with a very hot, dark semi-sweet chocolate in liquid form. I cut the Satandagi into quarters while hastily applying the peanut butter ice cream and plum wine gelee to the steaming chocolate. The almost burning chocolate being extinguished in your mouth by the melting ice cream is truly rewarding. At this point the towel had to be thrown.

Nobu raised the bar in terms of staff, atmosphere and of course the food. I highly suggest taking my lead and refrain from reading the menu and just letting your chef guide you. With no advice or guidance on my part, they proved incapable of being anything less than impressive across the board.

Nobu West Hollywood

903 North La Cienega Boulevard, Los
Angeles, CA, 90069
Tel: 310.657.5711

 

 

Categorized | Eat & Drink

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