Nobu – Las Vegas, NV


Nobu –  Las Vegas
4455 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, NV 89169
Tel: 702.693.5090

Nobu, a Japanese-Peruvian fusion restaurant chain following in the footsteps of the original ‘Matsuhisa’.  This chain – was created by Nobu Matsuhisa and Robert deNiro.  This high-end chain of restaurants has a presence in cities across the globe.

My first ever visit to Las Vegas was work related – to attend one of their massive conventions.  Lucky for me, my boss (at the time) shared a love for Japanese food, which resulted in my required attendance for dinner at Nobu.  Located inside the Hard Rock Casino & Hotel, Nobu is tucked away just off the main floor casino.  I didn’t have much time to peruse the menu – as we had decided prior to arriving that we would be having the ‘omakase’ (Chef’s choice) dinner.

They offer two different versions of ‘omakase’.  The first ~$100 included a selection of regular menu items, filtered by preferences and general likes/dislikes as questioned by the server.   The second version ~$150 included some more exotic items, and higher quality ingredients.  This posting covers two separate dining experiences about a year apart – covering both.

BASIC OMAKASE:

After enjoying a round of cocktails to get the evening started, the fun began:

The first dish to arrive was a bluefin toro tartar with black caviar.  Chopped toro sashimi, formed in a circle mold, sitting in a sauce of soy, wasabi, garlic and onion.  This was by far – my absolute favorite!  (My dining companion had issues with caviar, which they gladly accommodated.)

Bluefin toro tartare with (and without) caviar

Bluefin toro tartare with (and without) caviar

Second to arrive was kampachi sashimi, each slice topped with thin slices of jalapeno pepper.  I’ve had this (since) prepared both as-described, and with the ‘new-style sashimi’ twist – where the sashimi is drizzled with smoking-hot oil.  In both cases – the cool buttery kampachi and kick from the jalapeno, match spot-on.

Kampachi sashimi with Jalapeno

Kampachi sashimi with Jalapeno

Third dish, was a seared tuna salad.  Specifically – I believe this was seared ahi-tuna, with two small pieces of maki (snow crab wrapped with daikon), dressed with a ponzu & daikon dressing.  Unanimous decision –  this was superb.

Seared tuna salad

Seared tuna salad

Fourth, was announced as Nobu’s signature dish – black cod in miso.  Baked black cod in a sweet miso sauce, garnished with a fried shiso leaf, and umeboshi.  My dining companion selected this as their favorite at the end of the evening.

Black Cod with Miso

Black Cod with Miso

Fifth to arrive was the rock shrimp tempura with creamy spicy sauce.  The sauce is a spicy mayo, where the spice heat-level is quite low.  Of all of the dishes – this was the least interesting.  Still very addictive, but it seemed a little too common for this setting.

Rock Shrimp in creamy-spicy sauce

Rock Shrimp in creamy-spicy sauce

Next a plate of Nigiri Sushi arrived – with a basic selection of items.  Well made, and presented – as expected.

Nigiri Sushi

Nigiri Sushi

Lastly – a small bento box arrived containing the dessert course.  Removing the lid, uncovered a flourless chocolate cake, green tea ice cream, and a white chocolate sauce.  The photographed dish was the special birthday presentation they provided – containing the same items – but with a nice birthday flair.

Flourless chocolate cake with green tea ice cream

Flourless chocolate cake with green tea ice cream

Overall – this dining experience does sit as one of the more memorable.   Each dish was very well done, tasted great, and all parties enjoyed every single dish!

SPECIAL OMAKASE:

Again, starting the meal with a round of cocktails, we eagerly awaited the food tour to begin:

Trio of Ceviches:  An oyster shooter (fresh oyster with a citrus sauce and an egg yolk), Lobster Ceviche & Caviar:  (not my favorite – it seemed as though they forgot to add a sauce), and bluefin toro tartar with caviar (similar to the basic omakase – one of my favorites)!

Trio of Ceviches

Trio of Ceviches

Next was a kampachi sashimi, dressed with diced shallots, grated daikon and yuzu.

Kampachi Sashimi

Kampachi Sashimi

Another sashimi dish arrived next, containing seared salmon with micro greens, dill, and a light miso dressing.

Seared Salmon

Seared Salmon

Then came the sharkfin.   I don’t have a photo of this dish, but probably for the best as I’m sure this may trigger some comments that eating this promotes cruelty to sharks.  It was prepared in such a way that it looked like a semi-opaque, gelatinous noodle, served in a shallow dish coated with a similar looking sauce.  No real discernable flavor – just a unique texture.   Not something I’d ever intentionally order or crave to eat.

Next, we started moving to some more substantial eats.  Lobster, seared fois-gras, shiitake mushrooms, and white asparagus puree.  Superb!

Lobster, Fois-gras, shiitake, and white asparagus puree

Lobster, Fois-gras, shiitake, and white asparagus puree

Then came the wagyu beef, grilled asparagus and ponzu.  Believe it or not – I was on the fence with this dish.  Was it good –  definitely yes.   Does wagyu beef taste better than all other beef – this is where I have trouble answering yes…      However, the tender, fatty beef and ponzu sauce – was an absolute perfect match.

Wagyu Beef

Wagyu Beef

Next, we were served a small bowl of asari miso (soup with baby clams), and an offering of nigiri sushi.  Compare this selection against the basic omakase, and it’s clear how they step-up to a completely different league – amaebi, escolar, giant clam, kampachi, o-toro (amazing).

Nigiri Sushi

Nigiri Sushi

Finally – the dessert course.  A nice (not too sweet) selection of biscotti, and caramel flavored quenelles of what I thought was marscarpone.

Biscotti & caramel quenelles

Biscotti & caramel quenelles

Overall – the special omakase seemed as though it was a parade of expensive ingredients, for the sake of nothing more than to try and use them…  If I’m faced with the decision between the two options again – I am almost certain I would choose the basic omakase, as there wasn’t a single item that I didn’t like.

Las Vegas is now full of celebrity-chef endorsed restaurants – but if you win a few on the casino floor and have a couple hours to enjoy a nice meal – I’d suggest giving Nobu’s omakase a toss of the dice.

Nobu (Hard Rock) on Urbanspoon

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9 thoughts on “Nobu – Las Vegas, NV

  1. Very nice to see the contrast between the two levels of available omakase meals at Nobu LVS. I didn’t realize there was such a heavy emphasis on the ‘raw’ side in terms of the dishes. The nigiri do look very well formed and delicious!

    Not being well versed on the cuisine of Peru, but wondered what exactly is being brought in from that Latin American nation to the creations experienced here. Is it more pronounced on the a la carte menu?

      • They do seem to use that word a little loosely at Nobu – as I believe a ceviche is defined by the fish actually being ‘cooked’/denatured by citric acid.

        That was actually something we talked about at the table – as the chopped raw lobster really wasn’t that appetizing to a lot of us. I figured — that had it been sitting in some lemon juice for a little while, it might have made it a little more palatable?

  2. Great post o-toro! The differences in Omakase were interesting to read about. My experience with Matsuhisa (the restaurant, and i guess the chef) is quite similar to your experience at Nobu. Im curious though – did you find the serving sizes a bit disconcerting? IE, not a lot of small dishes like one might experience at a sushi-ko, or a kaiseki style dining experience, but bigger, more substantial dishes (5 pieces of nigiri in one course, for example)?

    • I’ve never really thought about it like that. I guess I never expected the Nobu omakase to be equivalent to – or attempt to create a kaiseki-ryori. Probably because I think of the latter as an evolving selection of seasonal items – where this was more of a degustation of Nobu’s celebrated dishes.

      The nigiri course was definitely the largest — but it was also the last food course in all three of my visits. I do recall (during my very first visit) the server asking if we would like to order more nigiri, as this was the last dish before the final dessert course. I only remember this because I ordered a round of uni and aji, as many had never tried these before and figured this was a safe place to try them.

      As for the rest of the dishes – the photos make some of the items look bigger than they were. i.e. the black-cod was probably the equivalent in size to the 3-slices of kampachi & jalapeno. The rock-shrimp were probably U40 shrimp – so again similar in size to the other dishes.

      • Ah. They look huge :)

        I didnt mean kaiseki ryori in terms of the inspiration – but more along the lines of an overall flow or pattern to the dishes themselves. It definitely seems a lot more haphazard and like you said, a showcase of famous dishes.

        On another note, do they have a tempura bar at Nobu? The one at Matsuhisa is !!!

  3. I can only speak for Nobu LVS – looked like it was a standard sushi-bar.

    I’ve ate at a tempura bar once in Tokyo. I can’t remember the name, but it was known for their eel tempura. When the chef pulled one out from behind the counter – pegged it to the cutting board with an icepick – I was mesmerized.

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