Nobu is known for serving fancy feasts to A-listers around the globe. Since I live miles away from the closest location, I’ve been getting my Nobu fix from Kardashian Snapchat stories and drool-worthy Instagram posts. The trendiness of the restaurant and the glamorous cast of celebs that eat there can make it seem unlikely that us common folk will ever have one of their coveted reservations.
Fear not foodies, you only need three important things to experience Nobu first hand. The first of which is the patience to wait for an open reservation. This is followed by having a big enough budget to afford their pricey dishes. Finally, before you dine at Nobu, you should know a little bit about what you’re getting yourself into.
1. Nobu is named after its celeb-chef founder
67-year old chef Nobu Matsuhisa uses his Japanese heritage and Peruvian inspiration in every dish he creates. Nobu moved from Japan to Peru in 1973 to open his first restaurant. It was here that the fusion between the two cultures became apparent in his cuisine. Since then, he has brought those flavours to his chain of restaurants as they expand throughout the U.S.
2. The signature dish is black cod in miso
Chef Nobu showcases his cooking style in his signature dish, black cod in miso. This seafood meal combines fish with the traditional Japanese miso seasoning. This order will run you about $36. For an $8 homemade version of the meal, check out this recipe.
3. There are 32 locations around the world
After opening locations in city centres across the globe, Nobu has expanded to 32 restaurants. The first location opened in Tribeca, New York City in 1993. Following the critical acclaim that his first restaurant garnered, Nobu restaurants were opened in places such as Milan, London, Tokyo, Moscow, Malibu, and Budapest.
4. Before Nobu there was Matsuhisa
Currently there are seven restaurants privately owned by the Matsuhisa family. All of the locations operate under the family name. However, they still serve dishes with a distinct Nobu flair. 16 years before the doors of the first Nobu opened, the first Matsuhisa restaurant was serving guests in Beverly Hills. Now, Matsuhisa has an additional three locations in Denver, two in Greece and one in Germany.
5. You can now eat Nobu’s dishes while you sail the ocean
Crystal Cruise Lines has had a luxurious reputation for years, and a hefty price tag to match. A seven-day Caribbean cruise will run you at least $3 000 per person. Luckily for guests, they now have another onboard outlet to spend some cash. In a partnership with the acclaimed chef, the cruise line offers Nobu food on its two huge ships.
6. Nobu can make your Las Vegas vacation more luxurious
In addition to the 32 stand-alone restaurants and two cruise ship eateries, there is now a location in Caesar’s Palace. The stunning hotel and casino that played host to The Hangover characters now has a Nobu restaurant. Perhaps if you test your luck at the on-site casino you can afford to splurge on a meal there.
7. Chef Nobu opened his first U.S. restaurant in Alaska
Far from the Beverly Hills location, Chef Nobu opened his first US restaurant in Alaska. The restaurant did not operate under the Nobu name and was unfortunately very short-lived. Chef Nobu’s first hopes of success in the American restaurant business were temporarily dashed by a fire that destroyed his business.
8. The restaurant has come under harsh criticism
Nobu has come under fire by conservationists for serving an endangered species. Nobu restaurants feature Atlantic bluefin tuna on their menus. After a lot of pressure from the press, Nobu offered to place a warning on their menu. A gesture that many have called inadequate to slow the demand of the controversial dish.
9. Robert De Niro helped open the first Nobu
The first Matsuhisa restaurant was frequented by many celebrities, including Robert De Niro. De Niro invited Chef Nobu to open a restaurant in New York City. In 1993, the two opened the first-ever Nobu in partnership to immediate success and critical acclaim. They opened in a market that was already saturated with luxury restaurants frequented by the elite. More than two decades later, the two remain business partners and friends. De Niro even scored Chef Nobu a role in Martin Scorsese’s 1995 film Casino.
10.The average price is $50-$60 a person
The prices on the menu can vary drastically. Most guests agree that a meal will usually run you about $50-$60 a person. For a normal meal that seems pretty out of my price range (what can I say, I’m a broke student), but I can definitely see myself indulging if I ever have the chance. Luckily for my bank account I’m not planning a trip to any of the cities they’re located in anytime soon.
11. The menu gives you the chance to splurge even more
The average price may be $50-$60 a person, but there are definitely ways to spend more than that. I’m not just talking about treating yourself to a Nobu feast and ordering the whole menu. The restaurant offers a seven-course Japanese A5 Wagyu Beef banquet for $688 a person. That’s right, for the very low price of nearly $700 you can experience this seven-course meal. Who needs to pay rent anyway?
12. The Nobu cookbook lets you attempt meals at home
Released in 2013, the Nobu cookbook lets you try out some of the famous chef’s recipes at home. In addition to the recipes, the book also explores Chef Nobu’s journey in creating each dish. It’s 300 pages of seafood that is sure to make you feel like a master chef.