Location: 22706 Pacific Coast Hwy. Malibu, CA 90265. (310) 317-9140
Date: May 29, 2013
Cuisine: Japanese Fusion
Rating: Maintains it’s very high standards, and price.
In my continuing quest to eat the oceans of the earth clean in the form of sushi I returned to one of my “old” haunts, Nobu Malibu — but in it’s new glamorous ocean-side location.
The various Nobus represent the corporate version of the Japanese-Peruvian fusion begun by Nobu Matsuhisa at his eponymous Matsuhisa (REVIEW HERE). While not quite as inventive as the original, the Xerox job is pretty darn good. Food quality is extremely high and highly consistant. The atmosphere is fun. The only deficit is the price, which is perhaps 40-50% higher than most similar restaurants, like say Takao (REVIEW HERE). And it’s not like these are cheap either!
The new location is really quite stunning. The outside is covered on 2-3 sides with couches and tables. Too bad it’s so cold along the ocean in Malibu, on all but the warmest of summer nights, even the heat lamps aren’t enough to make those girls in their little dresses comfortable.
2003 Domaine de la Vougeraie Vougeot Clos du Prieuré. 90 points. Pleasant wine, golden hued with a clear ring around the base. Sticky pitted fruit and white florals on the nose, with a bit of light oak. Wet slate minerals also pleasant on the nose. Lower in acids than some newer vintages, but it does still make my mouth water. There is a pleasant mouth feel, with the orchard fruits joined with some nuttiness and wood. More like a West Coast wine than and aged bourgogne blanc. I wouldn’t think this refreshing as some whites, but enticing nevertheless. Decent fruit on the finish with that touch of acid keeping my mouth wanting something wet to refresh it.
A Matsuhisa classic, “Toro tartar with caviar and a miso ponzu.” I’ve always loved the combo of the rich fatty toro and the acidic punch of the sauce. This theme of adding acidity to the fish is a consistant one.
2009 Raul Pérez Rías Baixas Muti. IWC 91. Bright yellow-gold. Deeply pitched aromas of smoky lees, bergamot, apricot pit and salty minerals. Viscous, palate-coating orchard and pit fruit flavors are enlivened by juicy acidity and complemented by honeysuckle and a hint of spun sugar. Wild, complex and singular wine with strong finishing cut and sappy persistence. This is far removed from your classic albarino.
“Sashimi Salad.” Another Nobu classic. The dressing has this nice flavor and texture I’ve always liked, and the mildly seared tuna is succulent. The overall salad is a bit salty, but Japanese cuisine usually is.
“Shrimp Tempura with Ponzu Sauce.” More classics. I’ve always loved these little fellows. Basically the normal Shrimp Tempura, but pre sauced, and in smaller bite sized chunks. Addictive, but eat quickly before it sogs up.
Overall, the food is just like is always was here at Nobu. The atmosphere is stellar and it would be really cool to eat outside on a hot summer night (although they don’t usually serve dinner outside due to the cold). There must be an army in the kitchen too because the stuff appeared minutes after we ordered (except for the sushi). All in all, it’s a great experience, if a tad manufactured and divorced from its chef driven origins.
The only problem: the price. Nobu is expensive. This meal for four was $600 with tax and tip. Given that the food isn’t that far off from Paiche, it hardly deserves to be three times as expensive!