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Jun 9, 2008 01:27 PM

Nobu quality sushi in Boston?

I've eaten at Matsuhisa, Morimoto and the Hump. So my sushi bar is high. I moved to Boston 2 years ago. So far, I've been disappointed in the quality of sushi here. O-Ya is good. But, not amazing. Ate at Oishii in the SE Saturday night and was greatly disappointed. The sushi bar felt an assembly line. And not in a good way. The chefs made no contact with the patrons. And the sushi and sashimi was far from inventive. And not as fresh as it should be. In fact, I was horrified to see one of the sushi chefs carving up a frozen filet of salmon. Boston has many acclaimed restaurants: L'Espalier, Blue Ginger, No. 9 Park. Surely there must be a sushi restaurant of the same standard. Anyone?

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  1. Welcome to the provinces. If you were disappointed in O Ya (which Frank Bruni recently called the best restaurant in American outside of Manhattan) and Oishii Boston, you're in for a rough ride. If you haven't tried it already, I'd suggest you give Uni a whirl. Most of our other sushi specialists are more traditional than innovative/creative. And there's always the Acela.

    As for freezing, I believe most raw fish served in US restaurants, even at the exalted ones you cite, has to be flash-frozen to kill parasites (with the possible exception of tuna).

    9 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      Yes, I heard that O Ya was recently annointed. But, I think it was graded on a curve. = ) Uni is definitely next on my list. After that, it may be the Bolt bus for me.

      1. re: MC Slim JB

        Tuna is certainly not an exception - the bigger the fish, the more danger of parasites. FDA regulations stipulate that all fish to be eaten raw must be flash frozen.

        1. re: SmokeDawg

          Tuna will have the least ammount of parasitic load of most fish in the blue.
          This is due primarily to their wide migration patterns.
          Tuna is an exception. You can see it in the 05 FDA food code, chapter 3:

          I would reccomend the original Oishii in Chestnut Hill to the OP

        2. re: MC Slim JB

          Frank Bruni didn't really call O Ya the best American restaurant outside of Manhattan, did he? I know he said it was the best of 15 new, acclaimed restaurants that he tried. So, are you misremembering that article, am I misremembering that article, or did he write this somewhere else? (In my mind, this "new" qualifier is much more important than the "15" qualifier.)

          (On the other hand, I've been to Nobu and O Ya once each and thought O Ya was many times better.)

            1. re: BobB

              Well, in all fairness, if you want to get nitpicky on semantics (as I am sometimes wont to do), I'd note that Bruni is careful to stress that this is not the best of anything except his own personal list from his tour.

              He "bypassed Portland...because readers were introduced to new restaurants there in an article by Eric Asimov last fall" as well as paring down the list in a number of other ways.

              As I said, this is nitpicking. The main point I took away was that O Ya impressed him a lot, and his reviews tend to line up pretty well with my own personal tastes. O Ya (especially the first time I visited) was no exception.

              1. re: BobB

                Clearly it's a "best newish restaurants I've been to", not a definitive "best of everything everywhere" list. As I read it, he did a countdown to #1, and O Ya was it.


                Given the OP's initial list (like Nobu's Beverly Hills outpost), I'd say creative and fusion-y high-end Japanese, not traditional sushi, is what s/he is after. Of course, expecting the shiny happy celebrity quotient common to those L.A. places here in Boston is hopeless.

            2. re: MC Slim JB

              Unless their menu has changed recently, Uni doesn't serve sushi. Just different types of (modernized) sashimi and other cooked dishes.

              1. re: limster

                Trying to read in between the OP's lines, I think that's what she or he is looking for.

                (Hi Limster!)

            3. The original comment has been removed
              1. I wouldn't call Nobu a sushi restaurant. It's Japanese-Peruvian fusion. The sashimi is good there but not otherworldly, more of a side-show for the other dishes like the wagyu beef or content for the wonderful tacos.

                1 Reply
                1. re: teaTomE

                  I would agree. The OP's title surprises me in that I find most "good" sushi bars to be at least Nobu's equal, and we have a handful here: Oishii, Oga, O Ya, Sushi Island. In Manhattan I would say Masa is leagues ahead of Nobu, and we probably don't have its equal here.

                2. I dont know of any japanese person or asian person who grew up eating sushi ever saying Nobu was authentic in anyway, let alone famous for its sushi.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: kweesee

                    Agree with kweesee. I have eaten at Nobu and Morimoto before, and while I enjoyed their twists on sushi and sashimi, I can't say they're authentic.

                    For me, if the fish is fresh, it's good quality. I am not sure what rebrivvved meant by "inventive". I'd rather eat plain sashimi than some roll mixed with sauces so strong that you can't taste the fish.

                    I ate at Toraya in Arlington last week. The freshness of the fish (and sea urchin and scallops as well) blew me away. I'll take Toraya over Nobu or Morimoto any day.

                    1. re: y2000k

                      I agree that Toraya is fantastic, but it does have limited selection and certainly is not "inventive".

                      1. re: y2000k

                        Sorry, but having eaten at Nobu twice in LV, and in NYC, Miami and Aspen, and Morimoto in NYC, I think that the OP needs to open his eyes and eliminate the blinders. Even if one forgets about authenticity, Nobu is average at best, and I believe primarily exists for those who want to be seen, and not necessarily to eat. Oishii in CH and boston wipe them out. I have not been to Oga or Uni.

                        I will usually agree hands down that NYC has better food at the low to moderate price ranges, but any sushi lover living in NYC would not even put Nobu and great in the same sentence, unless it is to indicate price or rip-off potential.

                      2. re: kweesee

                        Was the OP asking for authentic?

                      3. Baba in Worcester is likely to be more impressive than anywhere in Boston. Unfortunately the fuel expense to get there may cost more that your meal !