Savory Morsels

The Culinary Adventures of a California Girl

Friday, February 16, 2007

***February 16, 2007: Nobu 57***

Nobu 57
40 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019
I was quite surprised at Nobu 57’s casual vibe. There is no question that it was busy from the time we arrived at 9:15 until we left at 11:30, but it was not the glitzy, mad house I was expecting. Kind of a nice relief after a long day of traveling! We started off our evening with a Piña Martini and a Bitter Mango cocktail. Both drinks tasted dangerously alcohol free, and we decided that it would be safer to stick to sake for the rest of the night! Ordering was easy (I had already decided ahead of time), and for the most part we loved every dish we had.
Each dish came one at a time, and the entire meal was very well paced. If anything it was slightly fast for me, but if we had taken a longer break between courses I might have had time to realize how full I was! We started with the Toro Tartar with Caviar, followed by the Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeño, the Fluke Sashimi with Dried Miso, and finally the Tuna Sashimi Salad. Every one of the four cold dishes was fresh, brightly flavored, and tasty. The toro tartar is so finely minced that it almost tastes pureed, but just made it seem even more indulgent and rich. On the other hand, the tuna sashimi salad was much less delicate than I was expecting and definitely the largest of our cold dishes. In my opinion, the standout was the simple fluke sashimi (perhaps because it was the only item I had never had elsewhere).
Next we moved on to the hot dishes, which were equally delicious although harder to enjoy as I got more and more full. Our first hot dish, the Rock Shrimp Tempura Salad with Ponzu Sauce, was my favorite course of the entire night.
I am not usually a fan of fried foods, but the shrimp was so crisp on the outside, wonderfully moist inside, and perfectly paired with the light salad and zingy ponzu sauce. Next was the only disappointment of the night – the Creamy Spicy Crab. I had read a number of raving reviews about the crab, and I was quite surprised to discover that the crab came absolutely drenched in an overly salty and not very spicy sauce. We finished on a better note with a beautiful display of a variety of mushrooms served sizzling in an iron pot and, of course, the buttery and delicious Black Cod with Miso (better than Koi’s in my opinion).
Somehow I always manage to save room for dessert, and tonight was no exception. I expected that a sushi restaurant would not pay much attention to dessert, but I was very impressed with what we ordered. The favorite dessert was heavily debated at our table. I was madly in love with the Milk Chocolate Yuzu cake (a small red cake composed of milk chocolate, hazelnut, and layers of praline with a scoop of ice cream on the side), but my dinner companion relentlessly voted for the Banana Caramel Soy Toban Yaki (caramelized bananas tossed with chopped pecans and toped with ice cream). Not to be left out, the Kama Meshi 57 (Vanilla rice pudding) was also quite good and the Catalan Ice Cream that was served on top was by far the best of ice creams. Overall we finished dinner extremely full, but also extremely pleased. I am eager to try more Nobu restaurants and see how they all compare! Too bad San Francisco does not have one yet!


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