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Sunday, May 6, 2007

Nobu (New York, NY)

105 Hudson St
(between Franklin St & Moore St)
New York, NY 10013
(212) 219-0500

Just a quick update on Nobu...

I went on a Sunday night with three friends and tried a respectable part of the small plates menu. We didn't order off the sushi / sashimi menu since there are many, better establishments for that kind of thing.

I'll echo what is really now conventional wisdom: The food is fair, but not in any way outstanding. Sauces drown as often as they enhance. In many instances, the dishes needed the sauces as cover up.

Among the four of us, we had

1. Yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno appetizer
2. Sashimi salad
3. Asparagus with egg sauce
4. Calamari "pasta" with shitake, asparagus and garlic
5. Miso cod
6. King crab tempura
7. Sashimi tacos (with lobster and snow crab)
8. Halibut cheeks with wasabi pepper sauce
9. The "Bento Box" dessert ("Warm Valrhona chocolate souffle cake, shiso syrup, white chocolate sauce and green tea ice cream")

The good: sauces really were very delicious even in instances where they overwhelmed the dish. The egg sauce was nicely buttery and lemony; the calamari "pasta" came with a tasty miso / mirin / butter concoction; the sashimi tacos came with a tasty and painstakingly minced pico de gallo. The bento box dessert was well thought out and well executed. Halibut and cod were both relatively fresh and non-"fishy."

The bad: tempura was soggy, not crisp as it ought to be. The jalapeno yellowtail was dreadful, yellowtail not fresh enough to be served as sashimi. The addition of the overly salty sauce and the jalapeno was a thinly disguised attempt to cover up the taste of the fish. Overly sweet sauce also overwhelmed the delicate flavor of the miso cod.

With two large carafes of junmai daiginjo and a few teas thrown in, the bill came out to be 70 a piece, not including tax. Service was unremarkable either way. Decor is little helter skelter.

I keep finding myself back here because it's become such an institution. But honestly, if I had my druthers, I'd much rather pay a few bucks more for sashimi at Sushi Yasuda or quite a few bucks less for the same quality small plates at neighborhood joints.

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