Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Nov 3, 2006 07:01 PM

Best Black Cod

Believe it or not I just discovered this dish very recently. Now I'm search for the Best Black Cod in the city. Any suggestions?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Nobu - The Original. He made the dish famous here.

    1. There is no such thing as Black Cod, pal. Sorry, but Nobu made up the name to sell his dish at a high price range. That's right, Black Cod is none other that common Sable. The same Sable that has been bought for decades in NYC for a few dollars per pound. Nobu re-named it and glazed it with a Miso paste (also dirt cheap) and then threw a high price on it. Nobu does have the best, but they are ripping you off big time.

      Then again you got to hand it to the guy, a great money maker, that is delicious and sees a monster profit margin.

      6 Replies
      1. re: ChuToro

        Black Cod and Sablefish are the same thing. Black Cod is the Canadian term. He uses that term, as many Japanese places do, probably because it's closer to the literal Japanese translation which has the Japanese word for "cod" in it. In Japanese the dish is called 銀ダラ西京焼き (Gin Dara Saikyou Yaki)."Gin Dara" actually means "silver cod". "Saikyou" is a type of miso. It's not "dirt cheap" and can be of very good quality....I have no idea about Nobu, his choice of ingredients, or prices. But the dish is not unusual in Japan...As to Sablefish and it's reputation, you should keep in mind that there was a time when o-toro and your namesake, chu-toro, were not considered delicacies in the Japanese sushi vernacular. The appreciation of the fattier cuts is really quite a recent thing.

        1. re: Silverjay

          If by "recent" you mean the 1950's, then you would be correct. It became a delicacy in Japan as a result of a marketing campaign by the Japanese goverment to help with shortages of Tuna, believed to be caused by weapons-testing in the Pacific.

          As I said, "Black Cod" is a name invented by Nobu and now used by thousands of sushi restaurants and sea food restaurants world wide. You could call Sable anything you like, and obviously it would still be Sable.

          Miso paste used for "Glazed Black Cod" goes for around $22.00 per 10 lbs. in NYC, enough for well over a hundred servings. The dish goes for just over $20 at Nobu (downtown). I'd say that is DIRT CHEAP, but obviously its just my opinion.

          1. re: ChuToro

            Black Cod is the Canadian term for sablefish, it wasn't invented by Nobu. It sounds closer to the Japanese name of the fish and to your point, probably is better than "sablefish miso yaki". Black cod and many other fish, glazed, marinated, or cooked in miso are very common in Japan. At a restaurant in Tokyo, it's usually about $12-18 . But I'm with you, $20 is expensive. Then again, people here are willing to pay a premium even on sushi with mayonnaise jammed in it, so go figure....To the original point of the thread, I would guess that many other Japanese restaurants serve this dish. Nobu probably just introduced it.

            1. re: Silverjay

              You certainly may be right Silverjay. My info on the thread is from from an interview with Chef Nobu Matsuhisa. He claims he came up with the name: Black Cod, because it sounded exotic and sexy, whereas Sable, mostly here in NYC is a fish most associated with Jewish brunch, and not particularly sexy. Perhaps he's in error and he did not invent the name or the dish, either way, he certainly popularized it.

              1. re: ChuToro

                Further to Silverjay point, in french black cod is called 'Morue charbonnière' or if you prefer coal cod. I believe the french ancestry in Quebec influenced the name black cod.

                Nobu is not that good anyway and mostly an american chef celebrity. This cooking is quite common in Japan, and that I can attest prior to Nobu celebrity.

        2. re: ChuToro

          Black Cod or Sablefish, they're both delicious. However a few dollars per pound is not at all realisitic for Sable, try upwards of $22/lb.

        3. Order the Black Cod from Chance on Smith Street in Brooklyn. Ive had the one at Nobu also and I was reminded of it after eating the one at Chance. It is excellent.

          1. Sablefish is cured and smoked Black Cod which is it's proper market name. Black Cod sells for upwards of $17 a pound fresh but is mostly only seen frozen. It's is also been referred to as Butterfish on the west coast.

            1. I'd bet big money that the name black cod precedes Nobu.

              Also, I always thought butterfish was pompano.

              When I was a kid sable was the budget smoked fish; now I think it's as expensive (or almost) as sturgeon, which was the luxury item.