903 N. La Cienega, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Nobu LA Los Angeles Reviews
Overpriced asian fusion Jun 14, 2008
I’m a huge fan of Matsuhisa and Nobu (Malibu), although I admit that I have overdosed a little on the whole Japanese fusion thing in the last few years. There’s been a barrage of restaurants in LA serving almost the same dishes – all to varying degrees of quality. Perhaps I came into Nobu LA a little biased – especially since it took over the space of a much loved restaurant (L’Orangerie). The obviously took pains to eradicate any resemblance between the 2 restaurants – whereas it was previously white, airy, formal and very French – it now resembles any of the trendy restaurants popping up throughout LA, SF, NY and Miami – dark woods, dim atmosphere, loud music and acoustics, modern and sparse furnishings. It’s eyecatching, especially with all the beautiful people and servers milling about, but not particularly innovative. Service was very attentive and friendly.
But it is the food that is of importance. Upon review of the menu, I noticed that it held few surprises, as it was very similar to Matsuhisa’s menu (just a few blocks away). We had the following with only a few successes:
Mango martinis – I didn’t have any (since I’m detoxing), but my friends loved these.
Edamame – surprisingly good, with a hint of sweet.
Yellowtail Sashimi with jalapeno – a signature dish, and quite good. But basically the same as at Matsuhisa.
Sashimi tacos – mini tacos with tuna or lobster – looked cute, but nothing special.
Sashimi Salad – too much greens and too little sashimi or dressing; for this, definitely go to Matsuhisa instead.
Scallop sashimi (sorry I forget the name) – scallops were very fresh and sweet but a bit heavy handed with the lemon juice which overpowered the entire dish.
Squid pasta – the hit of the evening! Plump morsels of squid braised with green beans and mushrooms – deeply flavorful with a hint of smokiness.
Baby vegetables with truffle foam – pretty good, but looked more interesting than it tasted.
Miso cod – good, but again, this dish is done everywhere. It still better at Matsuhisa.
Miso eggplant – overly sweet.
Rock shrimp tempura – very disappointing. A lot better at Katana and Matsuhisa and Koi.
Spicy creamy crab – way too salty.
The food didn’t seem consistent and wasn’t great enough to warrant the steep prices. Not sure I would recommend this when you could go to a myriad other similar places in LA. I think they need to do something to separate themselves from their sister restaurant (Matsuhisa) down the street.
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