Met some friends for dinner tonight and we decided to check out Nobu
at the Waikiki Parc Hotel. Nobu just opened a little over a week ago and to be honest, I didn't even know that famous chef Nobu Matsuhisa was opening a restaurant in Hawaii. But when my friends told me about it, I said shoots! I had never been to a Nobu restaurant before and was really looking forward to the experience.
The restaurant is located on the ground floor of the hotel and I have to say that even the decor of the hotel's lobby was pretty intriguing and interesting! Lots of neon lights and fancy furniture. Pretty cool!
So I'm the last one to get there any my friends are already sitting at the bar, sharing a bottle of sake. I made friends with the bartender (Sarah from Miami Beach) and she told us that the sake supplier for the Nobu restaurants only makes sake for Nobu and no one else. Cool! The sake we drank at the bar was an unfiltered, opaque sake and kind of looked like milk. And it was very very good. I think I had about 5 glasses of it.
We decided that since there are so many Japanese restaurants in town, we would order mostly things that are unique to Nobu and not the usual typical fare. Here's a rundown of our choices for the evening...The bar and lounge area as you walk in. A pretty cool place to just hang and have a few drinks. The bar also has its own pupu menu, but not a complete menu like the restaurant.View of the dining room. Packed!Me and the man himself, Chef Nobu Matsuhisa! Yeah, I know, I need a haircut.
What's cool about him is that he stood at the kitchen's exit and examined each dish before it was served. If he wasn't happy about something, he would explain it to the chef and have it fixed. Talk about hands on! When I told him that I was really hungry and couldn't wait to sample his food, he rubbed my stomach and said, "Looks like you're full already!" A comedian, eh? LOL
We started off eating at the bar as we waited for seats at the sushi bar inside to get available.Here's the blackened cod (butterfish) on butter lettuce cups with fried thin strips of daikon on top. This was so delicious and a perfect way to start the evening's culinary experience!Of course, gotta have sake! This is the Nigori unfiltered sake I mentioned earlier. Just $30 a bottle!Hamachi sashimi with jalepeno. This dish was just okay. Not something I would order again probably. The ponzu was a bit too strong and overwhelming for me and took away from the quality of the fish.
Then we got seated inside...let the eating begin!Scallops on renkon chips. I think this was my favorite dish of the night. I could've eaten this all night.Check out the selection of fresh fishSushi chefs hard at work. The sushi chef working in front of me was a really cool guy and I had fun talking story with him.
Now the sushi...orders are by individual piece (1 piece) instead of the usual two per order and varied from $3-$5 to market price.Amaebi and hamachi. Both were very good but I have had better hamachi elsewhere. Still good though.Kampachi. (Sorry the pic is not so great). This was good, but not great.The salmon...now this was da bomb. I think this was the best salmon sushi I had ever had and my friend Orbs agreed with me. So soft and melty! Yummy!Uni tempura. Not a big fan of uni but Evil Bunny really wanted to try this so I did too. Hmm....good if you're a uni fan. Not me. Also came with mushroom, chili, and shiso leaf tempuraOyster shooters!!! Off the menu item by the way...
We also had fresh oysters at the beginning of the meal but I was so hungry I just ate mine without piccing it. Same goes for my order of unagi sushi. Oops! ^_^;;;Evil Bunny tried the mushroom soup as well. She said it was good.At this point, was getting kind of full but wanted to try one last thing so we ordered something called "golden eye" sushi. The chef said it was red snapper. Again, off the menu. A good way to cap off the evening's meal!Hey look who stopped by! It's Evil Bunny and Iron Chef Morimoto from the Food Network! I'm not too familiar with the show but apparently he's the man on that show.
Other celebrities in the house tonight were Mayor Mufi and also Barry Flanagan from Hapa. Cool!Before we left, Orbs and Evil Bunny took a photo together with the sushi chefs. A really cool and fun bunch.
Overall, it was a really fun experience. I'm glad I got to go while Nobu himself was still around (he's only here for a week apparently) and had a great time with good friends. The food was excellent and service was friendly as well. I actually ran into a fellow Mid-Pac grad who's a waiter there too. Such a small island.
More so than just a meal, dining at Nobu I think is more of an experience. I would definitely go back someday to try some of the other menu offerings. Check it out!