A couple weeks back, I was on a text-chain with two friends, with whom I was preparing to spend some time, at the beach; when the question of whether or not I could procure us a table at Nobu Malibu (that Saturday night, mind you), arose. Being a bit naïve about what that might entail, I accepted (in retrospect, perhaps a bit too nonchalantly) what I would later come to find was a challenge. Long story short, after a couple of days and few well-placed texts, we not only had a table for seven people, at 9pm; but it would turn-out to be the best table in the house, on the patio, surrounded by boxes filled with succulants and flowering plants on two sides, and unobstructed views of the beach and the Pacific Ocean, on the other.
Now, we all know that a meal at Nobu is invariably a treat for the taste-buds. What really struck me, though, was the kindness and hospitality shown by the staff, starting with manager, Ryan Ford; who in addition to accommodating us in a gracious manner, was particularly understanding (both when I called to say the number in our party had decreased; and again, a few minutes later, when I sheepishly called back, to let him know that we were going to be late, due to traffic on the PCH).
But, of course – the service and the table and the view, notwithstanding – had the food not been exquisite, I wouldn’t be writing this, now. So, what were we eating? I’m so glad you asked…
We were first presented with an amuse-bouche of some sort. I don’t recall what it was, but I distinctly remember us all mmmm-ing, in unison. The New Style Sashimi was next, and it was deliciously garlicky; with the contrasting textures of the supple fish with the crunchy garlic pairing masterfully, in every bite. Of course, no trip to any Nobu is complete without the Yellowtail Sashimi Jalapeño, and ours was fantastic, comme d’habitude.
Another favorite of mine, the Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna, was presented in a large wooden bowl, so as to accommodate our quintuple order. I’m glad I was able to take that photo when I did, because the frenzy of hands and chopsticks that followed nearly caused sparks.
I’d never tried the Nobu Style Sashimi Tacos (some with Lobster Sashimi and others with Tuna Sashimi), but believe you me, they’re a welcome new addition to my Nobu repertoire.
Now, unless you’re new, you’re aware that I’m not a particularly big fan of the veggies. However, when brought face-to-face with the purple varietal of a cruciferous vegetable (as I did while delighting in Nobu-san’s classic Squid ‘Pasta’ with Light Garlic Sauce*), my curiosity got the better of me. And I’m here, writing this; so I guess it didn’t kill me, after all.
As loquacious as I am wont to be, trying to verbally gild the lily that is Nobu’s Albacore Sashimi with Meyer Lemon would be perverse: It is, in a word, sublime. Likewise, our Assorted Sushi Platter with Nigiri and Rolls was a curated symphony of clean and fresh flavors.
In a bit of a twist, the Rock Shrimp Tempura with Creamy Spicy Sauce, was brought at the end, like a marvelously piquant dessert. As it turns out, I was on walkabout when it was served, so I opted not to take a photo of what my friends had left for me; but trust me, those bite-sized morsels of zesty deep-fried crustacean were sensational.
What a meal… What a night… What an experience.
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[Editor’s Notes: One of Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s signature dishes, the Squid ‘Pasta’ with Light Garlic Sauce predates the Nobu brand, and was on the menu when Nobu-san opened Matsuhisa, in Beverly Hills, in 1987 // Thanks to Chad, Luca, Melody, and Spencer, for a wonderful evening; to Nobu-san, Ryan, and everyone at Nobu Malibu, for a marvelous dinner; and to Sean, for connecting the dots, and making it happen.]