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Jul 6, 2006 05:34 PM

Nobu - Solana Beach - long report

First off, Nobu-san has no association with Matsuhisa in LA.
Been here four times now (a Matsuoka rec). This rundown is a culmination of all four dinners. Sat at the sushi bar on all occasions, the restaurant is large, I think there are about forty seats at the sushi bar, tatami room and out door seating is available too. We have had Chris, Yagi, Ike, and Nobu serve us. Rice is well seasoned, body temp on most occasions. I forgot pricing on some of these items. Lot of specials on the board are 86'd which can be frustrating at 6PM on a Friday. Not sure why they don’t remove these 86’d items from the board? And be sure to ask if you want something in particular, I ordered several items not on any menu or board, e.g. the sayori, katsuo, and the negi toro roll.

Tuna tataki nigiri $5.50 - this was great, maybe just the fact that it was on rice made a difference.

Aji sashimi $18 - Excellent quality, nice size portion, perfect fried bones!

Albacore sashimi and tataki or what they call a "1/2 and 1/2" - $18 Nice combo of seared and sashimi styles.

Negi Toro roll - $12 - Had to have one vs. the sashimi, Urasawa hooked me on these.
Very good here, price is steep, but worth it.

Hamachi no Kama - $5.50 - small hamachi cheek, one of the smallest I have seen.

Kimpira Gobo $5.50 - Can't get enough of this stuff, just like the one Matsuoka did - then again he did work here at one time. Wish I could buy it by the pound!

Dynamite $9.50 - One of my dining companion's favorites, was not great, too may onions again.

Oyster Dynamite special - She really enjoyed these, two huge oyster shells overflowing with dynamite.

Kohada nigiri - on the stronger side, not the best, but certainly not the worst!

Uni - Local SD - excellent!

Katsuo nigiri - I always order the Bonito and this did not disappoint.

Sayori nigiri - just happened to ask and they had it, what a treat!

Psycho Scallop 8.75 - Fresh scallop nigiri wrapped in cucumber and spicy sauce.
The cucumber makes this roll a standout from a regular scallop nigiri.

Umeshiso roll $3.25 - first time not so great, second time Ike-san broke out the whole pickled plums instead of the squeeze bottle.
What a difference!

Spicy Squid $6 - No breading or batter just sautéed and served in a spicy sauce reminiscent of Matsuoka.

Scallop Special $12 - three extra large scallops caramelized to perfection. Can't recall the sauce, maybe a citrusy ponzu?

Overall, not too bad, some standouts! Service is good, one server tried to talk me out of a sake she thought was “too smelly” for a gringo like me, I insisted and she complied. The sushi chefs are great, Nobu being a bit more reserved however I did notice he had the choice corner of the bar fully reserved most of the time. The Aji really sold me on the last visit. I will return with pics next time!

Nobu Gourmet Japanese Restaurant
315 South Coast Highway 101
Solana Beach, CA 92075

Phone: (858) 755-7787

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  1. Thanks for the report!

    I like Nobu as well. I think it has some inconsistency problems, but overall can be great.

    I would suggest asking how the unagi is - it can be fantastic.

    I also suggest ankimo.

    If you are into hamachi you should consider the 'special hamachi'. It is usually $10, but much better than the standard hamachi order (in fact it is informative to order the standard hamachi - try it - then order the special hamachi). I think the special hamachi is better than Ota.

    Overall I think Ota is better, but Nobu is overlooked a bit I think - probably due to the inconsistency (in terms of items that are never great to items that are great only some of the time).

      1. re: kare_raisu

        Ike-san was great but Nobu-san has been really generous with us for some reason (maybe because we don't order the 'fusion' rolls). Last week we had a huge sashimi platter (special hamachi, sweet ebi, albacore, maguro, giant clam, uni, and amber jack). All kinds of other things like calamari, ankimo, oyster special, aji sashimi, ume shiso rolls, and ebi soup(heads from the sashimi). Big bottle of Koshiki Junzukuri Hakushika sake for $48 and the bill was just over $100 (not including tax, tip)!! It was amazing! I will get some pics next week.

        1. re: Pablo

          can't wait...big fan of the 'special' hamachi at nobu too, although the stuffed it fusion or not is mouthwatering.