How best to use an any Nobu restaurant gift certificate?
I know there's been debate on the board about the quality of Nobu (although I must say that two of my best meals ever were at his Matsuhisha in LA). Well, we were given a $200 gift certificate good at any Nobu branch. What do you advise in terms of getting highest quality from that? -- Nobu itself? next door Nobu? Or? We did have lunch at Nobu during one of those prix-fixe discover-the-restaurants-of-NY things so we have seen the decor and sampled the black cod. We'd like some new experience from the card so perhaps Next Door is the best option. If so, what should we do? Omakase? Hot foods (and avoid sushi)? If we go omakase, should we put in more than the gift certificate amount to get a higher level omakase?
This gift to us was very well intended so we want to make the best use of it possible. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Perhaps I should have indicated in my original post that I didn't want any of the "don't eat there, sell your gift certificate" replies. That is not an option. This gift was very intended by the givers and was meaningful to them, and we will use it in that spirit. We want our own experience to be as meaningful as possible so the best advice (some of which has come in above and for which I offer thanks) is how best to eat at some Nobu branch rather than how to avoid the experience.
That's harsh! I live in the nieghborhood too and have eaten at Next Door and Nobu (haven't made it up to Nobu 57 yet) and I agree with jenniebnyc.
The sushi is okay, and I think that if you did the omakase, definitely spend more than the gift certificate you have, in order to experience the best dishes, BUT stick with the dishes. The black cod miso is always standardly amazing and the sashimi is equally good. Funny enough, I actually enjoyed the desserts while I was there, they even made us a special orange sponge cake type dessert that was killer. The sushi is good, but it's not Masa good-better than your average menu under the door place but not worth spending your gift certificate on when there are other options around.
Next Door and Nobu are the same restaurant. They share the same kitchen and if you walk past the two to the deli, you can even see it during the day with the same downstairs delivery opening into the same space. I think the only difference between the two is that Next Door doesn't do lunch. I've heard good things about Nobu 57, that the dishes are even more flavorful than the ones in Tribeca, so maybe spend your money there if that's an option.
I've had very good meals with the $80 omakase, so I would get that for two with a cheaper bottle of wine (or go over the limit). Assuming you aren't going there every week, I think it's the best way to sample a variety of dishes. I've also opted to go for the higher omakase value, but you end up getting the same dishes but with slightly better ingredients (e.g. toro instead of yellowtail) and I think for the money you get a better value with the basic one.
Also, I've never had trouble getting into Nobu Next Door (even on the weekends) so if you don't feel like making a reservation in advance it's a good option. Same menu.
You can definitely get a great meal for two with $200 at NOBU. Don't get the omakase...order ala carte.
I have found the best dishes to be the Kumamoto Oysters, Tuna Sashimi Salad, Yellowtail and jalepeno, crudo fluke with olive oil lemon and dried miso, rock shrinp tempura with spicy sauce, black miso cod, beef tabenyaki (sp?).
For dessert the molten choc cake and green tea ice cream and the Yuzu cake.
We always get a few bottles of Cloudy Bay Savignon Blanc. It goes great with the seafood.