Restaurant Week Series: Nobu Next Door

I know, I know, I’m incredibly behind on these posts. In my defense, I’ve been plowing through papers upon papers and midterms upon midterms since Restaurant Week ended. Even Spring Break wasn’t much of a break, since I had even more papers to write. Buuuuuut food is always an excellent diversion and stress reliever, so here we are!

What: Japanese restaurant pretty far downtown, extension of the internationally famous Nobu restaurants of Nobu Matsuhisa. Basically serves up the same stuff as the original.

Ambiance: Dark lighting, comfortable seating, good for a date with a significant other or, in my case, for a girls’ night out (Shoutout to Shalva and Jennifer! You guys are the best <3). Very friendly waiters and quick and efficient service.

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Sashimi salad! Once again, apologies for the horrendous iPhone quality image. Can’t call myself a proper food blogger if I keep on forgetting to bring my camera along with me!
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Rock shrimp

Appetizer: Rock shrimp with creamy spicy sauce. Extremely tender shrimp had a slightly crispy and fragrant lightly-fried outer layer, and the sauce was milky and smooth; richly sweet but with a slight lemony sourness and a chili-like spiciness to give it a kick and prevent it from being too cloying. The little chunks of mushrooms provided fun bursts of sweet juice. Some bites did feel a bit too sour at first, but after getting used to it I found that I quite liked it, since it highlighted the shrimp’s sweetness. Stole some of Shalva’s sashimi salad, which had slices of ahi tuna on top of lettuce with some of Chef Matsuhisa’s special dressing; absolutely phenomenal. The ahi tuna was perfectly soft, and the sweet fragrant sesame-based sauce with the briefest hint of vinegar sourness brought out the smokiness of the fish. Jennifer had a black cod miso on limestone lettuce, and again this was cooked to perfection; such juicy and tender fish and smoky sweetness! Subtle salty fragrant crisp on the outside elevated the experience.

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Best. Sushi. EVER.

 

Main: Sushi platter! Yup, went the traditional route with a whole array of fresh sushi including Spanish mackerel, salmon, toro, yellowtail tuna, crab, and tuna rolls. Honestly, nothing much to say besides mind blown. I’ve had some pretty fantastic sashimi/sushi before, with perfectly fresh fish and perfectly cooked rice, but what set this sushi apart was the quality of the wasabi. Unlike the more smoky and slightly bitter tasting wasabi I usually have, this wasabi was sweet and truly brought out the freshness of the fish; it made the fish taste a lot lighter, like it was waltzing across my tongue. The melt-in-your-mouth tenderness also contributed to that lightness. There was that characteristic strong right-up-your-nose spiciness that made my eyes water, but some of those tears may have been due to the sheer beauty of the taste. Can’t go back to eating regular wasabi anymore… 😦 Both Shalva and Jennifer ordered the beef with anticucho sauce (FYI, anticucho is a type of South American spice), cooked to a decently tender medium rare. Although the beef was less juicy and fatty than I would have liked, the anticucho was a novel experience, since its sweet and sour spiciness gave the dish a bright piquancy.

Sweet potato crème brûlée: what dreams are made of
Sweet potato crème brûlée: what dreams are made of
Strawberry baba. Mindblowingly delicious.
Strawberry baba. Mindblowingly delicious.

Dessert: Sweet potato crème brûlée, combining two of my favorite things in the world! I had thought that the sweet potato, while delicious, might make this dessert a bit too heavy, but that wasn’t the case at all. The cream was, as usual, sinfully rich and smooth with an aromatic vanilla flavor, and the sugar on top was perfectly caramelized. Seriously, I didn’t know that it was possible to achieve such an evenly browned layer of constant thickness in a crème brûlée. There was just enough of that caramelized sugar topping to provide an ideal balance of crisp and crunch without overwhelming the cream with its smokiness. I will say though that I couldn’t really taste the sweet potato flavor, which was slightly disappointing. Both Shalva and Jennifer got the other dessert option, the strawberry baba, which is comprised of a shortcake with strawberries and a syrupy sauce topped with meringue served in an adorable little mug. Presentation gets an A+! The cake part was incredibly tender and moist, and the syrup enhanced the natural sweetness of the strawberries. The slightly sticky meringue provided an extra rich creaminess to give the whole thing a deeper and rounder texture.

Honorable mention: Matcha tea! Oh my heavens, was green tea ever so pure as this??? I thought I knew grassy tea before, but this tea took it to a whole new level.

Overall: It’s easy to see why Nobu has the reputation that it does! I was literally thinking or saying “day-yummm” (I’m so punny) with every sip or bite I took. It was a pricy meal, but 1000000% worth it!

Rating: 5.5/5 spoons!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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