What Charmin Bears Love: Food|Dogs|Sephora

Our foodie instincts take over when we're out and about.

Los Angeles: Nobu

on March 9, 2012

Nobu @ 903 N La Cienega Boulevard

My boyfriend and I decided that we should try new restaurants in LA at least once a week.  This week, we chose the infamous Nobu, a popular multi-location restaurant  throughout the US.  We drove our way over to West Hollywood and found ourselves in this upscale area with tiny streets.  My boyfriend and I could not walk side by side. We found the valet, but we couldn’t find the restaurant.  We circled the corner and came back and asked the valet.  He directed us to this giant black gate, which I can only presume is to keep the poor people out.  I think it’s a bit much to have a 10+ feet metal gate as a door.  We proceeded in and was quickly seated since we had a reservation.  The waiter asked us if we wanted flat or sparkling water.  Flat, of course!  He comes out with a liter of Fiji water. Whaattt?! I wanted tap!  When did paying for bottled water been an opt-out policy? Whatever.  On to the food.

Under the direction of our waiter, we started with the cold appetizers.  We ordered the Toro tartar because my boyfriend and I both love toro.  He introduced me to it and I eventually fell in love as well.  I felt the tartar had the nicest presentation of all the dishes.  It was soaking in a spicy ponzu sauce and topped with a scoop of caviar.  I personally could use less kick, but my boyfriend thought it was just the right amount.  I can’t handle spicy as well as him.

Nobu - Toro Tartar

Nobu - Toro Tartar

We then continued with the Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno due the the large amount of suggestions from Yelpers.  It was quite disappointing.  Although I admit the fish was fresh, I didn’t really see what was so special about it that I couldn’t get it somewhere else for less.

Nobu - Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno

Nobu - Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno

Next for our palette, per our waiter, we should continue onto hot appetizers and we did just that.  We, again, under the influence of Yelpers, went with the Rock Shrimp Tempura.  The shrimp was cooked perfectly and had a great chew to them.  However, the sauce left a lot to be desired.  I much prefer Chinatown’s Honey Walnut Shrimp.  But we might have just selected the wrong sauce to go with this dish.  Perhaps the butter ponzu sauce would’ve been more impressive.

Nobu - Rock Shrimp Tempura with Creamy Spicy Sauce

Nobu - Rock Shrimp Tempura with Creamy Spicy Sauce

We also tried the Black Cod with Miso on Butter Lettuce, an updated version of Nobu’s Black Cod with Miso creation.  I really liked this one.  Fish was cooked well and easily fell apart in your mouth.  The crunchy fried radish on top added a nice texture to each bite.  I was happily fooled by the lettuce that I’m eating slightly healthier.  I would definitely order this again.

Nobu - Black Cod with Miso on Butter Lettuce

Nobu - Black Cod with Miso on Butter Lettuce

My boyfriend and I were dying to try the Wagyu beef.  For those snotty meat eaters out there, no, it’s not Japanese Wagyu, just Australian.  On the menu, you can order 4 oz. (minimum) of Wagyu beef and have it prepared 4 ways:  Toban Yaki, New Style, Tataki and Steak.   But the waiter suggested we tried a style not on the menu, Flambe.  He said it was the same price, so I thought, why not!  They brought our meat out on a hot stone, poured brandy on it, and set the entire thing on fire.   What a flashy, but unnecessary display.  I thought my eyebrows were going to get burnt.  This is a good dish for people who like attention.  Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people.  I just felt awkward when the entire restaurant looked over.  However, despite all that, I fell in love with the fatty tenderness of the Wagyu.  Do I still crave it?  Yes, sometimes.  The sauce was also a great complement.  The veggies that came with it were addictive.  If I could figure out how to cook vegetables like that, I don’t think being a vegetarian would be that hard.  But then, I’ll probably eventually remember the addictive Wagyu it came with and throw that idea in the trash.

Nobu - Australian Wagyu Beef Flambe Style

Nobu - Australian Wagyu Beef Flambe Style

Last, but not least, we ended the night with the 18 Hour Niman Ranch Pork Belly.  I actually had my doubts when my boyfriend first said he wanted to order this.  I usually only get pork belly in my ramen, so I have this impression that it’s going to be super salty.  To my surprise, it was quite light and did not feel heavy at all.  The meat was very tender and not tough.  I really liked this one too.  Props to the boyfriend.

Nobu - 18 Hour Niman Ranch Pork Belly with Miso Anticucho

Nobu - 18 Hour Niman Ranch Pork Belly with Miso Anticucho

I thought the food at Nobu was good, with a couple dishes being a bit overrated. The atmosphere was a little awkward for me because of the type of people they obviously want to attract, i.e.,   people who generally prefer a $9 bottle of fiji water that costs more than a beer, extravagant displays for food, entering through a flashy big black gate. I don’t think the atmosphere of the restaurant is right for the 99% like me.  Fun experience nonetheless and worth having at least once.

– Charmin Bear T


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