Nobu is an extravagant eat.. but having endured repeated airline delays on my trip into New York City, I was inclined towards a bit of self indulgence (and not having to journey far from the hotel that night cemented the idea).
Ushered up to the first floor, I opt not for the dimly, romantically lit tables..
.. but rather a seat at the long sushi bar. That’s where the action is, where you can see the Nobu artisans ply their trade.
Perusing the menu, I’m excited about another taste of Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s Japanese style, North and South American influenced cuisine. Dining for one, I opt for a few 1/2 serves per the waiters recommendation, getting a varied selection of dishes. A small, warmed porcelain carafe of Junmai Ginjyo Sake arrives, a mellow companion for a relaxed and indulgent evening.
The opening dish, and a Nobu signature, Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno.
A simple, but flavoursome dish, Yellowtail fillets matched with a tangy, refreshing yuzu and soy “Ponzu” sauce and slices of Jalapeno. The sum of the parts is so much more for this delicious dish.
Slices of Scallop Tiradito Nobu Style.
Another light tasty dish, the scallops sliced wafer thin are splayed across the plate, and dressed with yuzu and lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
A couple of Nobu Tacos with Seafood Ceviche.
A tart, zingy ceviche served in a crunchy mini taco.. an interesting representation of Japanese Americas fusion.. it’s good, but for me the gap is too wide, it doesn’t quite meld. I’d order other things on the Nobu menu before these again.
The spectacular Lobster Tempura with Truffle arrives, a diner next to me promptly enquiring as to what I’ve ordered.
It is rich, decadent and appeals to your food “wants” on so many levels. It’s fried and crunchy. There’s citrus, some slivers of spicy jalapeno. Then there’s the lobster and the infused truffle. I nearly reorder a second dish after taking just one bite.
The Nobu classic, and favourite of many, Black Cod with Miso. In this must order, much copycatted signature dish, the Black Cod is steeped for 2-3 days in sweet miso before being gently baked in an oven.
The delicate, melt in your mouth fish, the robust sweet flavours. It’s everything I remember.
I’m not sure how long Chef Nobu Matsuhisa has been preparing this well known dish, but my “Cooking at De Gustibus” cookbook (from the famed NYC cooking school) reveals that Nobu demonstrated the dish at the school back in 1996.. you know a dish is very good when it is in demand, served unchanged for 17 years !
Nobu’s army of sushi chefs are kept busy throughout the evening. I’m a fan of counter eating; watching and interacting with the chefs.
Nearing the end of my dining experience, consulting with my attentive server, I agree on a final selection of “different” sushi and sashimi dishes.
Sockeye Salmon Sashimi, King Crab, Wild Snapper Sushi and a fresh Scallop Tiradito are a nice final taster to round out the meal.
I’ve eaten in three Nobu restaurants: Melbourne, Milan (located within the Armani store) and now Fifty Seventh Street (NYC). Tonight has been my favourite outing: the atmosphere and theatre at the counter, the informed and helpful wait staff, the excellent food.
Yes, it’s expensive.. but if you deserve a treat, want to share a special night with someone, give it a try. My advice, go with the signature, more exotic dishes, that’s where you’ll see Chef Matsuhisa apply his genius (or put his heart or “kokoro” into the food as he says).
Nobu Fifty Seven
40 West 57th Street, New York NY 10019 USA
+1 212 757 3000