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Feb 18, 2009 12:22 PM

Nobi - Toms River

Many frequent contributors to Chowhound had mentioned Nobi in Toms River and stated that they have good Japanese food, but usually one or two lines. I am going to write a bit more about Nobi here, and here is the link to their site:

I have been to Japan various times and this place reminds me of the local restaurants in Japan. The decoration is very minimal, simple wooden chairs and tables….a few paintings on the wall, nothing flashy.

We had been to Nobi for a number of times and I enjoyed their sashimi, they are all very fresh and George(the sushi/sashimi chef) is a quiet man but will not disappoint you with the selection of sashimi and sushi. Personally, I love the hamachi(yellow tail), it has that refreshing taste and with a few chopped scallion on top…

The good thing does not stop at the sushi bar, the hot food is good too! The tempura was hot and right from the fryer, the batter was light and crispy. Believe me that I have been to places where they serve the tempura warm and it is just not the same. My husband favors their soft shell crab tempura, it is fun to eat the whole crab with the shelf(it is small!) We also tried the asparagus with sesame sauce, it was different and we enjoyed it. The teriyaki dishes and sukiyaki dishes are definitely of quality. What makes Nobi special is not just the food but the hospitality of the servers, Joe and Becky remember where you would like to seat and just the little things make the difference.

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  1. Thanx for the nice review...Nobi was just ok for us good food but pretty average......we havn't found anything that tops Sushi by KAZU on Rt9 Howel so far around here....

    2 Replies
    1. re: Tapas52

      Thanks Tapas52! I will have to try KAZU to have more meaning comparison!

      1. re: HelenB

        Helen I think you well like Kazu....please report back on your experience there.

    2. HelenB -- I'm probably one of those who've offered only a one-or-two-liner in the past about Nobi, and I agree that Nobi's decor and food evoke the right feelings and tastes for a proper sushi/sashimi restaurant.

      In my opinion, their focus on the quality of fish and rice do place them a level above the other places in Toms River offering sushi. When I first moved here about a year and a half ago, I tried several other places and some of them are just plain awful. I remember walking out on one, unable to eat the fish.

      Other than some broiled eel (unagi) sushi, I haven't tried any of Nobi's cooked dishes, and will need to do so my next time there. I too am pretty picky about my tempura.

      Especially nice for me is that Nobi regularly has live scallop (hotate) and fresh giant clam (mirugai). These are two of my favorites which most places do not have (and I'd probably be careful about the freshness of the selection at the others anyway).

      (Tapas -- I'll get to Kazu one of these days! It's just a little off my usual paths and out of the way for me.)

      Nobi Japanese Cuisine
      1338 Hooper Ave, Toms River, NJ 08753

      17 Replies
      1. re: njfreqflyer

        I've been to both these restaurants several times. Nobi is always good, not great. Kazu has very good food but the service is excruciatingly s-l-o-w, so much so that I never want
        to go back. Excellent Sushi can be found off Exit 63 at Makoto in the Shoprite Shopping

        1. re: njfreqflyer


          It will be worth the trip,,,,Kazu is an artist & does Sushi right... its right off I-195 & rt9 across the street from the Ivy league restaurant.....I think they open at first.

          2724 Route 9 S
          Howell, NJ 07731
          (732) 370-2528

          1. re: Tapas52

            sorry to hear your experience at nobi was just ok. i have stated here many times how much we enjoy nobi on a regular basis. now, its not the best sushi i have ever had(toro at morimoto, hamachi at nobu come to mind) but george does a great job. ask for ankymo or amaebe(in season now from maine, just got 10 pounds myself and ohhhhh soooo delish) next time you go. can't speak to the cooked food as that is not what i go there for.
            we have tried to goto kazu twice and both times closed. according to this board, that happens quite a bit. i have met the owner and head chef from there at an event and what i had there was fabulous so i imagine the same in the regular sushi bar. however, its a long trip for me from beachwood/TR so i will have to call next time beforehand.

            the one thing about george and co.

            1. re: chefMD

              ChefMD.....I haven't been to nobi in a while and just ok still means Good but not Amazing.. but I will upon your recommendations go try it again very soon & report back, maybe George can change my mind.......Kazu must be called to see when they are open its happened to me also. I'm a believer in trying things a few times also. Consistency is the name of the game in any people business.

              Thank You for your reply

              1. re: chefMD

                chefMD, thanks the recommendations and will surely try that within the next few weeks. You are absolutely right is the consistency! In my initial post, I said that Nobi is special and it has some fresh sashimi....of course, I would not say that they are the best that I ever had...there are toro that I tried in Japan that melted in my mouth and not to mention about the uni.... Yet, we are talking about Toms River here, thus I think Nobi is definitely above the standard!

                1. re: HelenB

                  In your opinion.....How does Nobi compare to...Hana, Office Lounge, Wang Sushi, Jimmy C's, Osaka, Shogun, Tokyo, Umi,....

                  1. re: Tapas52

                    Although I've never been to Tokyo and Umi, I found Nobi to be a bit better than the rest.

                    1. re: Tapas52

                      I've had the sushi at Shogun, Osaka, Umi, and a couple of places in Brick. Mostly I select sushi and sashimi, not many rolls. I believe that Nobi is considerably better than these alternatives. In addition to my comment on the quality of the fish and rice at Nobi (above), I should certainly have mentioned the itamae, George. He knows what he's doing. In many other places serving sushi in our area, it is being prepared by untrained hacks.

                      1. re: njfreqflyer

                        Years ago Kazu was the Sushi chef at KOBE/Dinner theatre on rt 9, ate at the Sushi bar or Hibatchi tables then went upstairs to see a live stage show, now its called Nagasaki in Lakewood before he opened his own close I was a bit partial to his style...although I have tried almost every other place & beyond some good some not so.

                      2. re: Tapas52

                        holding review of wang sushi for another chance. have never been to the other places except jimmy c's and didn't go there for sushi and probably would skip it given the choice. i worked at one of san diego's top rated sushi restaurant for the first year i lived there. learned a lot and unfortunately became a serious "snob" about sashimi/sushi.

                        1. re: chefMD

                          Chef - What did you think of Jimmy C's? Did you have a chance to sample their grilled items?

                          1. re: bgut1

                            just went once. lets just say it filled a need. the buffalo calamari was interesting. won't be running back anytime soon as nobi, 44, aamaratran, el familiar and now el azteca fit the bill. i must admit though, went to philadephia pretzel co. a few weeks ago and had the spicy sausage/pretzel/cheese thing and loved it yet don't know why exactly????

                        2. re: Tapas52

                          Tapas52, I have not been to all the places you mentioned above(or in the case of Wang Sushi, I have not tried their sushi or sashimi), so it is only fair to say that I prefer Nobi over Hana, Umi, Osaka, Shogun.

                          1. re: HelenB

                            Helen.......My favorite roll at Wang Sushi is the Kawasaki Roll OMG!!
                            with such a vast Asian fusion menu its hard to just eat only sushi there.


                            1. re: Tapas52

                              Tapas52, will definitely try your recommendation next time! The menu is quite diversified and I guess we will have to be there for many times...

                      3. re: chefMD

                        Happy to report I have returned to NOBI last night and it was VERY enjoyable. Super fresh and the hospitality was excellent. The Sweet 16, Tom, & Eel Rolls were amazing....the rice melts in your mouth...tempura was light & crispy also just the way i like it. I'm a NOBI believer again.....glad I returned!



                  2. The sushi/sashimi at Nobi is outstanding, but I have never eaten anything else there. Based on your review I will have to try to do so on my next trip. KAZU is every bit as good and their other food is delicious as well. When you go there you must try the wasabi dumplings - outrageous. Thanks for the review.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: JerzeyShore

                      Kazu frequently offers some great specials....& yes the Wasabi dumplings are outstanding amongst so many other items!

                    2. Had the opportunity to try
                      Nobi Japanese Cuisine Toms River NJ.
                      Located in the TJMaxx Strip Mall 1338 Hooper Ave.

                      It is on Par with some of the Best Sushi that I have tried.

                      The Salmon very good and the Yellowtail superior, wonderful, butter like, really exceptional!

                      They offer Nigiri Sushi but Omasakes was not listed on any of the three menus presented. Wonderful service, professional and friendly! Cozy restaurant, not pretentious.

                      A nice touch they have an availability board so you know specials of the day!

                      Great Green Tea.

                      A wonderful assortment of rolls, all tasteful, and traditional, nothing over the top.

                      Tried the Toms River Roll – Spicy Tuna, Avocado, Tuna, and Salmon.

                      A omne trinum perfectum - Wasabi with super kick, perfectly seasoned ginger, and Kikkoman low sodium soy.

                      A freshly cut orange cup finished the meal.
                      Will return for the Salmon Lover Dinner and some ginger ice cream.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: shabbystorm


                        Glad you had a good experience! Toms River Roll is my favorite and the combination of the spicy tuna, avocado, tuna and salmon is just right for me! The quality of food is good especially when we are talking about in Toms River(I would have expected that kind of quality in bigger cities). You brought up ginger ice-cream, I have to try that one...never have that before!

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