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Manhattan

Nobu Next Door Disappointing

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Nobu Next Door Disappointing

Ian | Sep 3, 2002 01:13 PM

I went there Sunday night with my fiance and I fail to see what the hype is about. I know this isn't the same as the real Nobu but I've heard that the food is the same -- which in this case would mean small portions drowning in whatever flavoring the dish called for.

We ordered a good assortment, including but not limited to lobster ceviche, new sashimi, miso, salad, a la carte sushi rolls and hand rolls, etc. The portions were uniformly tiny (the new sashimi for $14 was 7-8 wafer thin slices of salmon, while the lobster ceviche for $12 was two mid-sized pieces of lobster presented in small lettuce leaves that went down in one bite). The soft shell crab roll was the only thing we got of any substantial size. It was also the tastiest item we had. Some other dish of whitefish sashimi with a spicy lemon sauce was flimsy and went down way too quickly.

But while small portions could be solved by ordering more dishes (we weren't on a budget and wound up spending well over $100 not including drinks and still left hungry), we didn't do that because most of the dishes were uninspiring and drowning in oils, juices, etc. The lobster ceviche was soaked in lemon sauce; the salmon was laid flat on a plate and doused in a strong sesame oil-based liquid; and the spicy lemon sauce on the whitefish totally overwhelmed any taste of the fish itself. If you're looking for subtle flavoring that allows you to actually taste the fish you're paying a lot of money for then this is not the place.

I've seen many Chowhounders recommend going the omakase route. While we didn't, the people at the table two inches away from us did and it didn't look like a big deal. The only thing they got that looked better than what we got was the black cod (?), which I've heard about but haven't tried yet. At one point they each got a small sushi platter, and the sushi pieces again were tiny and looked like something Ruby Foos would serve.

Service was good, as was dessert -- we got the bento box, which is a chocolate souffle with white chocolate sauce and green tea ice cream. But that's really all I would recommend. I'd try Nobu and the omakase menu some day (we tried to get Nobu reservations but they're booked for 3-4 weeks as usual), but would not go back to Nobu Next Door.

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