Friday, September 7, 2012


Nobu is world-famous for its fresh sushi, and loved by many, many celebs and high rollers for the luxury of having fresh sushi from Japan flown over and expertly prepared right in the US. I have some problems ethically with importing sushi this way, but I cast aside my high horse for the evening. I admit it: I wanted to see if Nobu lived up to the hype.

As I've mentioned before, I had lots of sushi in Japan, both cheap and pricy. I'd like to think that I know good sushi when I taste it. But tastes vary, so I'm by no means an expert. With Nobu, I knew that the sushi would be expensive, and so we decided to hit up the happy hour on a random Friday. I can gamble a happy hour, right?

We each ordered one of the signature cocktails, having found memories of the fruity cocktails of Tokyo. When I saw that they served a lychee cocktail, I jumped at it. And it had a lychee fruit in it! I was excited.

However, my excitement was short-lived when I tasted the concoction. It tastes like cheap, drinking-out-of-a-paper-bag vodka mixed with a weak lychee Crystal Lite. Bleah. It probably was made with cheap rail vodka, but I was expecting a bit more from a place like this.
However, it wasn't the drinks that concerned us. I was anxious to try some of the famous sushi. After finally getting the bartender's attention, we ordered the spicy tuna deconstructed, the ceviche taco, and tuna tataki. The items came out one at a time, which was really not a problem, and allowed us to enjoy each thing separately. First out was the spicy tuna, served as separate pieces with sauce in the middle.

The tuna was served in much the same way as normal spicy tuna, but the "spicy" part of the spicy tuna was pretty lacking. The crispy rice was the real star of this dish, adding an unexpected texture and flavor to this standard roll. I liked the assembly aspect of the dish, which gave a typical dish a new flair.

Next was the ceviche tacos, which featured squid as the seafood. I love ceviche, with all of the citrus flavors and the texture of the "cooked" fish. However, this was just...chewy. Oddly chewy. Maybe because it was squid, but these tacos were just off to me. Other than the cilanto-infused squid, there was not a lot of flavor.

Our final course was one of my favorites, tuna tataki. The presentation was wonderful, and the flavor of the sauce was a terrific combination of ginger, soy, and just a bit of lemongrass. However, the portion size was so tiny, I couldn't help but feel a little ripped off. I get that it's a nicer spot, and you pay more for the quality, but this was just a taste.

The verdict for Nobu: overhyped. The food was good, but not enough to warrant a return visit. Next time I'm in the mood for good sushi, I'll be a little more green (flying sushi from Tokyo? Come on, that's wasteful!) and a little more pennywise and hit up one of the many other great sushi spots in San Diego

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September 07, 2012 / by / 0 Comments

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