The last time I ate at a Nobu was in NYC two years ago. I took one of the teams working for me at the agency I was helping manage out for a dinner. They wanted Nobu, naturally. So I tucked my credit card in my wallet, and mentally prepared to itemize the receipt later for the CFO when he questioned why I felt the need to take seven people out for a $1200 dinner.
Nobu in NYC is pretty - forgive me - lame. I was uninspired by the service. The menu was the same as it always is. But like at many over-hyped "scene-y" places in NYC, it's just not worth it.
To me, if the service isn't there... Then it's not worth it. At the center core of all "luxury" experiences is the service aspect.
I could be eating at Taco Bell and get a much more luxurious experience (and HAVE, by the way) than I did at Nobu in NYC.
Prior to that, my only other experience at Nobu was in Hong Kong. But that dinner was an exceptional treat. I was eating dinner as part of a press tour on which I was tagging along. The executive chef prepared a tasting menu for us. So the service was exquisite. And the food was perfection.
Comparing the two experiences, I gathered that the best way to eat at Nobu was to do it outside of the U.S. And after eating at the one here in Cape Town, I am certain that is the case. The service was impeccable. And the food, as always, amazing.
But the wine list... Inexpensive (compared to the states) and EPIC!!!
My dinner began with a glass of Moet & Chandon Rose...
I normally don't drink this stuff, because it's so expensive that I can't stomach the thought of buying it. But a glass of it was very reasonable here in South African Rand (the currency). So I had to!
Plus, it's "Summer" here in South Africa... And that is the time when you drink Rose!
I decided to branch out and be braver at this Nobu with my food selection. Truthfully, I don't typically eat raw fish or shellfish. But the Rose was hitting me quickly, and I summoned my courage and ordered things I had never ordered before...
Tuna sashimi and mini lobster tacos.
AMAZING! The sashimi wasn't scary at all! And the tacos were delicious and adorable... So much so that I found myself wondering how I could recreate the shell sizes at home. (Hmm...)
Next came the thing I had been dreaming about for years - since I last ate at Nobu. At any of the Nobus, this is what I order. And it's easily their most popular dish...
The miso black cod!
I have the Nobu cookbook - a gift from the chef in Hong Kong - and have thought about making it myself. But I am worried I would screw it up so royally that I will never want to eat it again. So it's best not to risk it.
My favorite thing on the menu at the Cape Town Nobu, though, was this...
It's a Pinot Noir wine from the Cloudy Bay vineyard in New Zealand. I've only had it a handful of times, because it's pretty much nowhere in stores or on menus in the states. They only sold it by the bottle at Nobu, and it wasn't cheap. But it wasn't too bad. And the waiter said that if I ordered it, he could recap what I didn't drink and allow me to take it back to my room.
I got through a glass and a half with my dinner. And now have three glasses left for my next few nights here in Cape Town. No worries... I WILL FINISH IT!
I'm not much of a dessert fan lately. It bores me, unless I make it myself. But for visual effect, I let my waiter bring me the chocolate tart...
It comes out as a chocolate globe in a bowl. Then he poured hot chocolate over the top, and the globe began to melt, revealing the vanilla ice cream inside.
It was perfect, but I only needed two bites before I was done with it. RICH!
Obviously this Nobu visit redeemed the brand for me. I am so grateful for the experience.
And for the wine selection. :)