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Nobu. Oh. My. God.

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  • Susan O'Grady Feb 14, 2000 11:28 AM
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We had our first meal at Nobu last night as our Valentine's celebration, and there aren't enough superlatives in this language to describe the experience. If you hate Japanese food, they will convert you, and if you love Japanese food, they will spoil you for any place else. We decided on the omakase menu (tasting) to celebrate our Big Night and were overwhelmed by the selection and quality. It got to be a joke; every dish was greeted by eyes rolling and groans of "this is SOOOOOOO good!"
The place is also beautiful, with a warmth and coziness that you don't often find in this type of decor. The staff was pleasant and attentive, and we just can't wait to get back there (is tonight too soon?)

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  1. How far in advance did you have to call to get
    the reservation of your choice?

    9 Replies
    1. re: christina z
      s
      Susan O'Grady

      My husband called early January, and even then we had to eat a little earlier than we wanted to (6:45).
      regards, SO

      1. re: Susan O'Grady

        Always found it to be the kind of place where you have to call a FULL month in advance, and endure many busy signals, for a decent seat. But it's well worth it; I've been there a few times and found it flawless once you're in the door.

        1. re: Dan

          What kind of price am I looking at for 2 for the omikase? Dying to try Nobu and my 30th is coming up. Thanks,
          Jo

          1. re: jo
            s
            Susan O'Grady

            The omikase was $70 per person on Sunday, and we left $200 poorer....but so rich in memories....! I thought it was a great celebration place.
            SO

        2. re: Susan O'Grady

          Any restaurant with more than one sitting, and in NYC that means just about every restaurant, may not even offer a reservation at the time you'd like to eat. Few diners may be seated at the perfect time and those places will generally go to regulars whose trade is essential to the restaurant.

          1. re: Buxbaum

            For the record, I dialed Nobu 572 times one afternoon and never got anything but a busy signal. I would have dialed more, but I could feel the ol' carpal tunnel syndrome kicking in.

            1. re: j gold

              There is a great FREE srvic eonthe web called Restaurant Row--I have used it for all the top restaurants and it works every time-yes, at Nobu they will only take res for 30 prior to your actual date for dinner- so this company will call for you-you give them all the info and they do the rest! www.restaurantrow.com

              1. re: gina b.

                Doesn't anyone like Next Door Nobu? If you go for the food, I understand many dishes are the same. I went there the first month it was open and tasted the illusive ponzu sauce for the first time. Then, at least, they took no reservations. Admittedly, we went early, a bit before 6 if I recall, but we walked in and were seated immeditely. No one rushed us as we ooohed and ahhed. And it was a fabulous meal. Just my 2 cents worth. pat

                1. re: pat hammond

                  I agree about Next Door Nobu. They take reservations for parties of 6 or more and you can also walk in (go early), give a cell-phone # and wait at a nearby watering hole to be called. Never been to Nobu. Every person I know who has been to both places said they liked NDN better that the original. This and the fact that you can easily get through by phone make NDN a no-brainer in my book.

      2. Sounds great and I've always wanted to go to Nobu.
        But how much money do you think I need to save up
        before I do? My impression is that I'll have
        to be willing to part with $100 per person.
        Is this accurate?

        1 Reply
        1. re: christina z

          Last time I was there was with three other people. We had a very nice selection of dishes including the ever popular cod and many types of saki. The bill was $600. I would particularly recommend the ankimo, which is fish liver and, of course, the miso cod. As for main dishes I love them all. We shared everything so, in effect it was a tasting menu of sorts. Although the price on the face of it seems ridiculous, if you can do it- do it.

        2. Personally, I was disappointed with Nobu, given the fact that this restaurant is considered the best Japanese restaurant in the city. Went there in February for lunch and ordered their fixed price, $20 sushi lunch. Came with fairly good miso soup. And the sushi was good, but nothing extraordinary. My lunch mate, who was born and raised in Tokyo, agreed. In fact, when I asked her recently again what she thought of the food, she said, "It's nothing special."
          My question is does anyone have any other votes for the best Japanese sushi place in the city?

          1 Reply
          1. re: kjr

            I have to vote "no big deal" to Nobu, too. We all went years ago on a lark with old friends from HK who were very keen to see what all the buzz was about. We were all underwhelmed, especially by the service, which was particularly un-solicitous and uninformed about the food. The food at Nobu was nowhere as good as you'd get in a midrange restaurant in Tokyo, in fact I've had better sushi/ sashimi sets in department stores there. Maybe things have changed since then, but I'll stick with Cotan on W 3RD street for a real sushi joint & I mean joint - it's small, cramped and crowded with people waiting out the door on weekend evenings. It's popular with college age Japanese and various locals. Food from the kitchen can be uneven, but when you are a regular, there's nothing they won't do. The master even refused to sell us maguro one night after he'd inspected it (an entire cut) and declared it unfit for sashimi(heaven knows why since their stuff is always sparkling). ALWAYS check out their specials - it's written in Japanese, but servers will explain if you don't read - and check out what people ask for at the bar for new eating ideas. In short, if you want omakase or kaiseki to make you gasp, go to Japan. But if you want a straight-shooting sushi bar go to Cotan.

          2. Just saw an advance tape of the Iron Chef New York battle--a two-episode affair with an astounding amount of drama and hype, which is of course in keeping with the show. Morimoto (of Nobu) went up against Bobby Flay (Mesa), and the ingredient was rock crab; both of their meals looked incredible. One of the guest critics was Donna Hanover; interestingly, no one ever referred to Giuliani, although it was filmed 3/14/00, so I'd bet they went back and edited it after the separation was announced. SPOILER: Morimoto won, by a handy margin.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Tom Hilton

              PS: the Food Network air date is 6/26/00.