Went w/a friend tonight to Matsuhisa for the first time.. He's a big fan of Nobu, so we went straight for the omakase... and I'm very sad to report that we were sorely disappointed.. :( I should first point out that we didn't ask if Nobu himself was there that night, but based on my experience, I'm sure he wasn't (or at least, I really hope he wasn't).
The first course was pretty tasty.. A warm, crispy egg roll filled w/some seafood and mushroom, with caviar on top, served with a cool salsa.
Second course was just ok. A trio of toro tartar, seared sashimi and lobster pieces... All were served with overpowering sauces (mostly very salty, soy sauce based ones) that drowned out the flavors of the main ingredients..
Third course was a Santa Barbara prawn in crispy thin egg noodles cocoons, served on a salty, gooey sauce that was really nothing impressive. It looked like the Thai sweet chili sauce that you can buy in a bottle to eat with chicken. The prawn was tasty, but the combination of ingredients was really nothing special.. felt like something I could get at your typical "asian fusion" restaurant anywhere, or easily make at home. (And I'm not a good cook.)
Then came the sashimi salad.. Again, nothing special at all. Some greens, some pieces of so-so fish, drizzled with your typical ginger soy dressing. It really felt like each dish was something that was probably always on the regular menu.. And paying $120pp just got you whatever they had too much of that night. I just didn't get the feeling that the chef was deliberately selecting the ingredients to create little symphonic masterpieces of flavor. The dishes were just thrown together in a very simplistic way -- If it's sour, add some sweet.. If there's fish, put some soy sauce in there.. etc.
The kobe beef was delicious, but just the beef. Seared just right, not overcooked. Unfortunately, it came in a dish with assorted mushrooms (the shitakes were very good too) and asparagus.. Again, the combination was underwhelming.
Sushi platter came next.. The toro and uni were fine, but the rest of the sushi was terribly mediocre.. In fact, I thought the mackerel and clam were just plain bad... a combination of bad rice, wasabi paste (not fresh), and old fish.
The mushroom broth was fair, but not even worth describing.. There was a shrimp in there that I'm almost positive wasn't fresh. It certainly tasted like one of those pre-packaged, frozen jumbo shrimp that you can quickly boil in water when you're in a jam.
I definitely don't mind spending extra money on good food b/c it's all about the experience of it.. But this type of experience, I'd rather do without. When the waiter asked us if we wanted anymore food, we politely declined... Although I'm not a fan of Pink's, my friend was thinking we should head there right after to satisfy our craving for something good.
Luckily, we were sufficiently appeased when the dessert came out. Dessert consisted of a sort of mousse w/tapioca, sprinkled w/cinnamon.. Two half-pieces of mochi, strawberry and mango. A small cherry tart. And a miniature creme brulee. All of these were scrumptious.
Overall, it probably would've been a decent enough dinner if we'd just picked our dishes ourselves and not opted for the omakase. Or who knows, maybe it was a fluke night.. But I just wanted to make sure I wrote a post about my experience so that I can save at least one person from having to make the same mistake I did and enduring the same disappointment.
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