Nobu (Japanese, Sushi)

4.25 out of 5 based on 37 ratings | about our ratings

Location Info

207 5th Ave
Hard Rock Hotel
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 814-4124

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Restaurant Tags

asian fusion, gaslamp, hard rock, sushi, upscale
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Comment card by jeph
jeph (70980)
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Distinguished ... (28)
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  (4 overall)
Reviewed on 8/2/2009


OK, so I finally made it to Nobu with one goal in mind. Find out there is a place in San Diego that is better than the Oceanaire. I strolled in around 5 on a Saturday to unearth the scoop.

I must say, I was a bit perplexed by the menu. I'm not a huge expert in Japanese cuisine and couldn't quite decide what to try. The bartender came over and gave me the rundown, recommending several dishes. Wanting to try as much as possible, and not sure how best to craft the courses, I went with the the Omakase. Basically, you just hand over a wad of cash, they'll ask you a few questions about your taste (do you like raw, do you like spicy, have you ever been here, etc) and then just start bringing you food. The whole process is a bit mysterious, so I'll shed some light from my experience.

Quick summary, I was served 10 courses--mostly small to medium sized. ...probably best to do the rundown in list format:

- Tuna in jalapeno sauce (amuse-bouche): This was really disappointing. The tuna was fully (over) cooked and tasted like it came from a can.
- Shrimp gazpacho: Pretty good. They got a really unique texture out of the shirmp. I even ate the head which was tempura fried in contrast to the body.
- King salmon in a spicy sauce with balsamic glaze: OK, I'm not a fan of salmon, but this was spectacular. Lightly seared and lacking the normal fishy salmon taste. This was a 10.
- Salad with 2 pieces of serviche: light and tasty.
- Lobster, served with portabello mushrooms and asparagus: really tasty dish...a bit heavy handed on the salty Japanese flavors, but really good.
- Thin strips of Wagyu Kobe Beef: Excellent dish...served almost raw, but on a hot plate so you could cook the strips to your preferred temp. Also served with mushrooms and asparagus.
- Sushi plate: This was pretty good. Came with 6 different selections, all good but the cavier wrapped in seaweed wasn't for me.
- Miso soup with clams. This tasted like cheddar and bacon. Nice, but not spectacular.
- Cucumber/Melon sorbet: for cleansing the pallet. Worked for me
- Tofu dessert with Ginger Snaps and fruit. This was OK...I prefer big chocolaty desserts, but not bad. I wouldn't order it myself.

I probably don't need to tell you at this point that you get a lot of food. It was mostly really good, but there were a few down notes. I really liked the format of having the kitchen craft the entire meal for you for two reasons. 1, you get the benefit a sequence of dishes that compliment each other. 2, I was like a deer in the headlights looking at that menu; this was great guidance in the full experience.

So the burning question--is Nobu better than Oceanaire? Well...no. But it's very good, and a whole different take on seafood. I'd certainly recommend getting down there at some point.


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Now that I'm trying to lose weight...I've been eating quite a bit more sushi. Here are my findings for the best San Diego sushi. It's a short list for now, but as I find more great sushi places, I'll add them to the list
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It seems these dishes have yet to tantalize or ensicken any of our foodies.