Nobu Matsuhisa is an international, renowned name in the culinary world. We know Mr. Matsuhisa on a first-name basis, Nobu. Rappers throw his name around in verses and it feels like the entertainment elite has made his restaurant a staple when they’re in need of their sushi fix. I was lucky enough to visit the flagship Nobu when it was still in Tribeca, but most recently, we were invited to try the restaurant’s pre-fix lunch menu at the renovated Miami location inside the historic Eden Roc Hotel.
Before we give you a run down of what the pre-fix menu entails, let me share that it’s quite affordable – really. The name Nobu carries a glitzy stigma that makes it seem slightly unattainable and although, yes, the place oozes elegance and prestige, these new lunch menus are affordable (even more so than some other places you can visit in neighboring restaurants found in Brickell or South Beach.)
Below is a quick breakdown of the two lunch options available. We’ll preface the overview by saying the options are plenty (vegetarian dishes included) and that perhaps the most difficult part of your lunch experience, will be having to settle on any just one item when you really want them all.
Option 1: Lunch Pre-Fix Menu $28 (One Cold and One Hot Dish)
Spinach Salad Dry Miso
Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice
Nobu Style Tiradito
Heirloom Tomato Ceviche
The standout item here without a doubt was the Spinach Salad with Dry Miso. I know it sounds incredibly anticlimactic, but it was just effortless and so tasteful. With a light miso dressing, it burst with flavor and texture making us want to eat healthy forever. The Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice was also pretty memorable if you’re hoping to stick with the fish theme.
Spring Chicken Donburi (with choice of Anticucho, Wasabi Pepper or Black pepper Teriyaki)
Pan Seared Branzino Shiso Salsa
Kin Crab Ama-zu
Lobster Uni Ikura – Chuka Soba
Undoubtedly everything on the hot dish options was amazing. My personal favorite was the Spring Chicken Donburi, which was quite a surprise since I’m a huge seafood fanatic looking for any excuse to second-guess a chicken dish. I just loved the innovative bento-box take and the accompanying colorful vegetables made eating healthy a fun task. The Pan Seared Branzino also deserves a shout out, since it was meticulously seared and very fresh.
Nobu Style Shaved Ice Dessert
Daily Ice Cream, Frozen Fiji Water, Condensed Milk, Fruit Sauces and Surprises
Holy perfection in dessert. This is honestly the kind of refreshing dessert you’ll want to have (and crave) all summer long. This pound of shaved ice is atop what can be deemed vanilla ice cream with tiny, chewable surprises when you dig in, which turn out to be delightful small chunks of mochi.
Option #2: The Nobu Signature Lunch $35
*Option #1 gives you the freedom to tailor your lunch experience by choosing dishes from the different categories. Option #2 already selects the dishes for you, making it a tad bit easier to avoid the stress of choosing the right thing.
Sant en Mori – Yellowtail Jalapeño, Fluke Dry Miso, Salmon Tartar
Rock Shrimp Tempura with Trip of Sauces
Black Cod with Miso
Our real big winner here is the Black Cod Miso. Filets of fish are marinated for three days in mirin, sake, white miso, and sugar. They are broiled to order and are given a spare presentation on a ’90s-style white square plate on top of a bright-green banana leaf. The plate is decorated with miso dots and an elegant spear of pink-and-white hajikami ginger. It’s the kind of plate that gives the saying, “food is at,” true meaning. Honorable mention also goes out to the Rock Shrimp Tempura with a combo of three different sauces. There were sweet, savory and spicy flavors to delicately coat the crisp layer of the rock shrimp that we devoured.
And of course, this option also brings the Nobu Style Shaved Ice Dessert for the win.
The drinks are just as enticing. We tried the Mia Margarita with Carralejo Añejo Passion Fruit, Honey, Lime and Shichimi, as well as the Seasonal Sake Fresca, a blend of Hokusetsu Sake, which is extracted using a slow drip process that highlights delicate flavors of a 72-hour seasonal fruit infusion. You’d be silly not to treat yourself to any cocktail that takes more than three days to soak up flavors.
Mel’s take: Don’t be intimated by the name, the new Nobu lunch offers so much for so little (when compared to other neighboring counterparts.) This is your chance to try the world-famous restaurant and not feel guilty that perhaps you dove too deep into your pockets. To any true foodie, coming to Nobu is always an experience. You’ll leave with a true understanding as to why Mr. Nobu has rightly claimed the Godfather title of Japanese fusion.
Standout dish: The Black Cod Miso is one of the dishes that has given Nobu its appropriate notoriety. It’s sort of the signature dish that has helped to launch the global empire that today we know as Nobu. Many have cloned the notorious Black Cod dish, but no one quite gets the technique of a multi-day sake-miso marinade like Nobu. This is the dish that will never go out of style – it stands the test of time and it’s quite frankly phenomenal.