My friend Mao went to Sugiyama (see his post below) instead of going with me to Nobu. In contrast to the undescribable spiritual experience that Sugiyama offers, where I have been, I got a taste of why New York might be the food capital of the world. If unknown and exotic is not your cup of tea (I dig it)and you would like some of the most innovative food in the city, Nobu is the ticket.
The overall experience was significantly better since I knew more. They were extremely flexible. Two of us ordered omakase dinners while the two others went a la carte. I nixed the shell fish (allergies). They even agreed to my no fried courses request.
First - Toro sashimi with jalapeno/citrus sauce and topped with caviar (providing a touch of saltiness). This was bodhisattva quality tuna. Excellent even though the shock factor was not there (I had had it before).
Second - monkfish liver pate with salmon roe - really excellent (among the best I have had). better than at sugiyama.
Third - Japanese snapper slices with assorted root vegetable julienne and basil dressing - v good.
Fourth - Grilled halibut with a side of noodles (forgot the name) with sesame white truffle oil and a raw quail egg in the center. It was really subtle and excellent flavor.
Fifth - main course of rare seared duck slices topped with some vegetables and seared foie gras. This is definitely some of the best red meat I have had.
Sixth - Sushi course (5 pcs) which was not amazing (Mr. Sugiyama's fish from Nirvana is much better) but still good topped off with miso soup (nothing tops off your Japanese dinner like this lovely broth with velvety tofu. My friend's had an oyster in it.)
aaaahhh! I was riding on clouds.
Seven - their dessert is nothing to write home about. Some carmalized banana slices with some coconut/banana sauce and some kind of cake like thing in the middle.
My wife realized after my first course that she had made a big mistake - kept mooching off of me all night. She ordered some tempura, miso soup, vegetarian rolls and yellowfish tuna sashimi with jalapeno slices and citrus sauce (twice).
Top to bottom consistent (that oh so hard to find quality even at Sugiyama) and excellent dinner - definitely the best meal this year.