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Anyone been to Matsuhisa?

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Fred Oct 22, 2000 09:52 AM

Has anyone been to Matsuhisa? How was it (recommended dishes, etc.)? If by any chance, anyone has also been to Nobu in NYC, is there a difference between Matsuhisa and Nobu in terms of food? Thanks in advance.

Fred

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    julia Oct 24, 2000 01:26 PM

    I went a couple of months ago. I must admit I got a little tingly and excited when I saw Nobu Matsuhisa there. In a way, it's kind of like a lot of other sushi places decor-wise. The carpet was a little dingy. Stuff like that I would have easily forgiven had every dish been as transcendent as its price and hype implied. We had a very nice, very expensive cold sake. The black cod with was dreamy - but so huge! Since it was rich, a large hunk of it was really too much. The yellow tail with jalepenos was nice. And the bento box dessert was cute & yummy.

    But overall, and maybe my expectations were high, I've had better sushi (melt in your mouth & buttery sushi rice - mmm!) at Sasabune on Sawtelle and better toro, specifically, and other very delicious things (and great lighting!) at R-23 downtown. Also had a dreamy night at the Hump (everything we ordered seemed to be blissful), but that was last Fall, so I'm not sure if that's changed.

    Of course, I do need to get my butt over to the other Shibucho, Ike Ichi, and Tsukasa, per my friends' and chowhounds suggestions!

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      Leslie Brenner Oct 23, 2000 09:30 AM

      I've been to both Matsuhisa and Nobu, though both were several years ago. Nobu is much flashier; Matsuhisa subdued in atmosphere. I was surprised that if I hadn't known Matsuhisa was Matsuhisa I would have thought it was just another generic sushi bar/restaurant. I can't remember too much specifically about the food, except that there was a striking difference. Nobu's food showed much more western fusion: raw fish, for instance, that was seared, sauced, etc.to a greated extent than it is at Matsuhisa. Perhaps it's changed somewhat since then? (This was within three months of its opening...) Matsuhisa felt more like progressive Japanese--contemporary flourishes on traditional dishes. Like the atmosphere, the food was less flashy. Although both were excellent, I preferred Matsuhisa. I think Nobu is perfect for palates accustomed to New York sushi, and Matsuhisa is made for Angelenos.

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        Larry Oct 23, 2000 12:00 AM

        The one time I went I ordered the $80.00 Omakase dinner. The only thing I mentioned was that I didn't want raw quail egg or octopus but that I was up for anything else. The halibut was great, the giant prawn was wonderful...full of roe. The black cod was very nice. The Toro was the worst ever in my experience. When I complained they told me it wasn't good that day. I asked why they gave me something substandard when I left it up to them to choose my meal. He gave me no answer, didn't offer another edible course and my meal was over. A lot of money for what I got. I didn't feel like going back. He can be great but you have to prove yourself to him first. Who needs the agrivation. I am also told that you are not taken seriously unless you order the $130.00 Omakase.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Larry
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          Fred Oct 23, 2000 02:53 PM

          Sorry to hear about your experience. Is the $80 omakase the starting rate at Matsuhisa? And when you say "him" you don't mean Nobu Matsuhisa himself do you? I was under the impression that he no longer cooked. How many courses were in your omakase? Did you go for lunch or dinner? Sorry to bombard you with questions. I'm trying gauge to see if it's worth taking my sisters there or if I'd be better off taking them somewhere else. Thanks a lot.

          Fred

          1. re: Fred
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            Larry Oct 23, 2000 08:39 PM

            The "he" I was refering to was the server. I recall 5 courses, one of which was miso soup. I got none of the fresh wasabi. I am reluctant to recommend it to someone that will go without a regular that is well known there. I guess you could do the $130.00 dinner and tell them no restrictions and to knock your socks off.

            1. re: Larry
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              Fred Oct 23, 2000 11:37 PM

              I'm sorry to hear that someone else got the powdered wasabi deal with Matsuhisa. Same thing happened to me at Nobu. My friend who had a pricier omakase did get fresh wasabi. Is it that precious an ingredient that they reserve it only for $100+ omakases? It kinda cheapens things in my opinion...

              Fred

              1. re: Fred
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                Pepper Oct 24, 2000 12:49 AM

                In my experience, Nobu is definitely an omakase kind of place. But all my best meals at Matsuhisa have been at the sushi bar, where you can pick and choose the best elements of the standard greatest-hits menu (new-style sashimi, toro tartare, miso fish) while ignoring the lame-ass oysters with salsa etc. A sushi chef will never fib to a customer who is sitting face-to-face with him, he will customise menu items to the extent possible . . . and you are entitled to survey all the plates going out to the restaurant and point to what looks good.

            2. re: Fred
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              Larry Oct 23, 2000 08:41 PM

              It was there for dinner and I recall the starting price was $50.00 for a very modest Omakase.

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