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Omakase at Morimoto or Nobu 57?

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We've narrowed it down to Morimoto or Nobu 57? Which one?

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Nobu 57
40 West 57th Street, New York, NY 10019

Morimoto
88 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

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  1. Please forgive the implicit criticism of your choices here, but with all the excellent options for omakase in NYC (Yasuda, Shimizu,15 East, Kanoyama, Jewel Bako etc.), may I ask how you narrowed it down to two celebrity chef chain restaurants (30+ for Nobu, 6 for Morimoto) that don't really specialize in sushi? Honestly my answer would be neither.

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    15 East
    15 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

    Shimizu
    318 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019

    Sushi Yasuda
    204 E 43rd St, New York, NY 10017

    Jewel Bako
    239 E 5th St, New York, NY 10003

    Kanoyama
    175 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

    Nobu
    105 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013

    Morimoto
    88 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

    3 Replies
    1. re: snaporaz

      Implicit criticism? And why do you think that omakaze has to focus on sushi? Do you know what the word "omakaze" means? Why just because they have celebrity owners are they necessarily bad? If they are bad, however, that's another story.

      I guess you're right though, i usually hate chain restaurants and we almost never go to them. I live in a City that has thousands of restaurants, many of which are great. I've heard so much about Morimoto and Nobu that I want to try. I also have wanted to try Yasuda but we want to try a place that specializes in the cooked dishes too.

      And now you're exporting two more of your chains to us, Momofuku and Eataly.

      http://www.torontolife.com/daily/dail...

      http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/t...

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      Nobu
      105 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013

      Morimoto
      88 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

      1. re: acd123

        Ok... it's omakase (お任せ) not omakaze (that would be お任ぜ ) - and I do know what it means (approximately: "I trust you" or "I'll leave it to you"). However on these boards and elsewhere it is most often - though as you say not exclusively - applied to sushi.
        That said, in retrospect I agree that it's not being very helpful to be asked about two choices and answer "neither" - so apologies for that. I just really dislike the food at both of those restaurants, especially the sushi but the cooked dishes as well, all of which I consider extremely overpriced. I also firmly believe that the only reason they're still in business is the celebrity chef element - hence my comment. Anyway, I'll leave it to those with a preference to recommend one over the other.
        And +1 for Kyo Ya - was just there and it was outstanding.

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        Kyo Ya
        94 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

        1. re: snaporaz

          I think "neither" is a perfectly acceptable answer, for starters anyway...neither of those restaurants would make many chowhounds list of even Top 20 Omakase Meals in NYC

    2. Nobu 57 at the sushi bar with the head chef, Shin.

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      Nobu 57
      40 West 57th Street, New York, NY 10019

      1. When I've gone to Morimoto, the cooked dishes I've had outshine the nigiri sushi. The nigiri was IMO a little sad, due to mediocre rice quality.

        What about a restaurant like Soto?

        Would you be willing to consider Kyo Ya, which serves sashimi and bozushi, as well as fabulous cooked dishes?

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        Soto
        357 6th Avenue, New York, NY 10014

        Morimoto
        88 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

        Kyo Ya
        94 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

        2 Replies
        1. re: kathryn

          I totally agree. Morimoto's non-sushi dishes are actually fairly good.
          I dined there the other day at the sushi counter and fully enjoyed it!
          I also chatted with two ladies from California visiting New York City who were sitting next to me and I shared my marrons glaces I bought at Chelsea Market next door with them and they loved those candied chestnuts. LOL

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          Morimoto
          88 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

           
          1. re: kosmose7

            Lucky ladies! ;)

            I agree that Morimoto's cooked dishes are better. I actually haven't been to his NYC location - we went to the one in Philly. I imagine they're quite similar. I liked what we had well enough, but we haven't been back since nor did we ever try the NYC one. If Morimoto or Nobu were my choice though, I would probably go with Morimoto because I've only ever had mediocre food at Nobu in NYC (I had a great meal at Matsuhisa though.)

        2. Wow, there’s no love for Nobu it seems. I’ve been going to Nobu since the time there was only one restaurant in NYC. I’ve been to all 3 in NYC multiple times and several others like Miami and London. Its pretty much the same menu in all them. I’ve never been to Morimoto so I can’t speak to that experience. I will echo the sentiment that you don’t go there for the best sushi. However I like the food but you have to know how to order. The principal problem I’ve run into is that a lot of the dishes tend to the salty side. I’ve been going long enough that I don’t even look at the menu these days. If you’re planning on ordering omakase, I would advise you tell the server that you want to stay on the lighter flavoured side of things to avoid the dousing of soy. In particular the salads are dressed very heavily with soy based dressing that at least to my tastes over powers everything else. My favourite dishes are the yellowtail with jalapeno, yellowtail or tuna tartar with caviar (heavy dose of wasabi heat), 3 seafood tacos, kumamoto oysters (usually do at least 2 orders of this), sea urchin tempura, wagyu beef dumplings, rock shrimp tempura in creamy spicy sauce (I have this every time), eggplant with miso, black cod with miso – by now I’m stuffed. And don’t forget the Hokusetsu Devil Killer sake. If you want sushi, its not bad. Not the same as the top tier, but I’ve never turned it down.

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          Nobu
          105 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013

          1. I have not been to Morimoto. I went to Nobu a few times when there was just one in NYC. It began fantastic and kind of fell a little bit each time, as the fame and prices seemed to increase.
            A couple of years ago, I decided it was time to try them again, but they made it very clear to me that there would be a 2 hour time limit at the table.
            I told the woman on the phone that the whole point was to order a long omakase dinner and that we would want to take our time.
            To which she suggested we sit at the bar.
            I therefore did not make a reservation and so have not returned for some time.

            I don't know if the policy has changed back to something more civilized, or if perhaps it is different at Nobu 57, but I would check (if this is important to you).

            I would propose an alternative.
            Go to Sugiyama and get one of the chef's special kaiseki menus.
            It's not really omakase since it's all planned ahead of time, but since you have not been, it will be a multicourse meal full of surprises for you, and it will be fantastic.

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            Sugiyama
            251 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019

            1. I prefer Morimoto over Nobu - I find the food a bit more creative and exciting. That said, I've found the omokase offerings at both to be... just okay. A little better at Morimoto.

              That said, one could take the cost of the omokase ($125 last time I was there, IIRC) and simply order a number of a la carte dishes that catch your fancy, adding up to the same amount. That way you wouldn't be paying for the decent-if-a-bit-lackluster sushi / sashimi course, or the boring old warhorse tuna tartare, etc.

              For example - last time my gf and I went, we put together a rather spectacular meal of:

              Cold Apps: Yellowtail "Pastrami" ($21) & Lamb Carpaccio ($19)

              Intermezzo: Oysters Foie Gras (normally $21, for three oysters - ask and they'll give you an even four for $28, though)

              Hot Apps: Lobster Fritters ($12) & Steamed Scallops w/ XO ($21)

              Intermezzo 2: an octopus special we split, $20

              Some assorted sushi we picked ourselves - a couple pieces of abalone & O-Toro. Maybe $40 total.

              Entrees: Roasted Lobster "Épice" ($37) & Seafood Toban Yaki ($36)

              Dessert: split their special, an assortment of textures of peach & raspberry. Delish. ($12)

              ...which added up to $246, a little less than the $250 that two omokases would have cost, and we got ten dishes - same number (maybe one or two more, even) that we'd have had in an omokase, only we picked them ourselves, and it added to the fun of the meal to have plates to share back and forth rather than both of us getting the exact same dish plonked down in front of us.

              But if you're looking for a composed meal - like I said, I prefer Morimoto, even if there are some warhorses on the omokase. More exciting to me is the seasonal Kaiseki at Kyo Ya - about the same price ($120, IIRC) and much more interesting. I wouldn't call the meal better than, say, the one I described above at Morimoto - but for a pre-composed meal chosen for you, it's the better choice over the standard Morimoto omokase. They're different, though - Kyo Ya is very subtle, Morimoto is pretty intense.

              And I could care less if he's on TV, or how many restaurants he has. I mean, the Oysters Foie Gras alone are reason to go to Morimoto. One of the most ludicrously decadent things you can put in your mouth. And sadly it doesn't comes in the omokase that I've ever seen.

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              Nobu
              105 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013

              Morimoto
              88 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

              Kyo Ya
              94 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

              1 Reply
              1. re: sgordon

                That is excellent intel. Thanks.