I find it hard to believe myself but I’ve been three times in Nobu over a stay of two weeks in Tokyo. Why go to an international chain when Tokyo has so many exciting local places to offer? Well, the first time I went there was out of plain curiosity. I was interested to know how Nobu compares to other Nobus I’ve been (NY, Miami, LA, London, Milan, Hong Kong and Paris (before it closed)) and was not really intending to return.
You can imagine my surprise when my Japanese friends organized a dinner and I ended up at Nobu just the day after. My third time at Nobu was on my own initiative as this time it was me who was supposed to book a table for a big party and I thought Nobu was the most appropriate.
Nobu might not be perfect and it is a chain after all, but it still has a magic formula that makes many people to return there. First, the environment. I know in Europe or the US it is irrelevant, but at Nobu Tokyo, you can speak as loud as you want. Imagine a big, noisy company at Sushi Mizutani – very hard to envisage that indeed. Then, different than in most of the traditional Japanese restaurants, at Nobu you can have and sushi, and tempura, and beef and fusion dishes. Sometimes you don’t want just to eat raw fish all night, but still you would like a few pieces of sushi to start your dinner.
Finally, how does Nobu Tokyo compares to other Nobus? As one might expect, the sushi fish was top-notch (although the sushis themselves were not as fine as in the best sushi restaurants in Tokyo), so was the Kobe beef. Nobu’s international hit, the black cod marinated in Miso sauce was different and I would say less good than in other locations. The flesh of the fish was not so delicate and didn’t “fall apart” as easily. Either they are using different species of fish, or they don’t marinate it enough. The black cod was quite a deception, but the rest not bad at all!