Nobu Matsuhisa

Nobu — Imagination And Artistry Come To Life

Published January 2008

Whether you’re a sushi enthusiast craving eclectic sushi and sashimi creations, or just a curious diner seeking nouveau Japanese fare, Nobu is the perfect destination complete with a chic atmosphere and handsome clientele.

Warmly colored and punctuated with modern touches, get a glimpse of the sushi-making process at the classic and elite sushi bar, or experience the excitement in the dimly lit dining room alive with upbeat music and waiters shouting “irashaimase” (“welcome” in Japanese) to entering guests.

Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, known to the world simply as Nobu, is the acclaimed and highly influential chef proprietor of Nobu, Matsuhisa, and Ubon restaurants all over the globe, from Beverly Hills to New York City, London to Tokyo, Aspen to Milan, and Las Vegas to Miami Beach. Nobu’s co-owners are his longtime partners: Oscar-winning actor Robert DeNiro, Meir Teper, and Nobu managing partner Richie Notar.

Nobu’s impressive signature-style menu emphasizes clean, pure, and healthy foods with Peruvian influences from years spent at his restaurant in Lima, Peru. Start the evening with the Yellowtail Sashimi, thinly sliced and topped with a tiny circle of fresh jalapeño pepper. The tender cuts of yellowtail are meticulously placed side-by-side on a round platter, surrounded by a tangy and light garlic puree sauce with a tiny bunch of fresh cilantro stuffed in the center. The tender fish with each crunchy bite of jalapeño and pungent cilantro provides a spicy kick of flavor.

Nobu

Nobu

An invigorating Lobster Salad, tossed in a somewhat sweet, yet sour lemon dressing, is in itself well worth the trip. Large pieces of steamed succulent lobster lie beneath a large mound of field greens accompanied by grilled shiitake mushrooms. Paper-thin slices of dry-roasted garlic drizzled on top of this visually spectacular creation provide the finishing and crunchy touch.

Whole king crab legs cut into small chunks are lightly tempura fried to a smooth and soft consistency, floating effortlessly atop a sweet amazu ponzu sauce. The chemistry of sweet red onions, cilantro, and jalapeño further enhances the flavor of the crab. Don’t stop there, also try the two large scallops cooked al dente and topped with a piquant and refined jalapeño salsa — a dish that speaks for itself.

Chef Nobu photographed at his restaurant in NYC

Chef Nobu photographed at his restaurant in NYC

As if I wasn’t already truly amazed, I asked my waiter to wow me with yet another of Nobu’s signature dishes. When he brought me the Black Cod with Miso, I quickly understood why this dish is so popular. The cod is marinated for three days in sugar, soy, and miso paste and slow-roasted for four hours. The caramelized sugar coating seals in the cod’s juices, for a melt-in-your-mouth texture.

The Washu Beef cooked toban yaki style sets the standard for the way beef dishes should be served. Domesticated Kobe Beef is seared medium rare with baby bok choy, shiitake, and enoki mushrooms with long slender white stems and caps. After the beef is taken off the grill, it is drenched in a special sake-yuzu soy sauce and flash steamed in a ceramic dome. This is a traditional Japanese method of cooking that allows the food to expand naturally and soak in all the flavors.

For dessert, the Yuzusicle consists of white chocolate sake cream enrobed with yuzu gelee and coated with toffee crunch. The yuzu gelatin is a Japanese citrus resembling the flavors of passion fruit and lemon chiffon. The addition of a refreshing yuzu sorbet, adorned with a white chocolate spike, is nestled alongside white chocolate powder and raspberry foam.

There is nothing better than a Chocolate Fondant Cake presented in a gorgeous bento box. The cake’s warm center oozes with shiso caramel syrup, white chocolate sauce, and hot fudge, only to be complemented by a scoop of homemade green tea ice cream and finely chopped nut strudel. Believe me, it doesn’t get any better than this. 619.814.4124, hardrockhotelsd.com — Maria Desiderata Montana

Nobu Matsuhisa

Nobu Matsuhisa

Photos by Vincent Knakal and Kristy Ann Mann