7.124 NOBU, NO NO


8 (Sun) May 2016

Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeño


at Nobu

(Nobu Hotel — City of Dreams)

-Parañaque, Manila-

with the family

Master Plan, Part 4 : DreamPlay.
City of Dreams, located in Parañaque, is an entertainment complex consisting of hotels (Nobu, Crown, Hyatt), casinos, restaurants, luxury shops, and DreamPlay.
An indoor theme park based on films by studio DreamWorks…
…such as various mazes and slides (How to Train Your Dragon)…
…make-your-own-movie (Kung Fu Panda)…
… 4D movies (Madagascar etc.) — IZ’s reaction : “I did not enjoy this” (whereas the rest of us got harmlessly shot in the chest/neck, the spray kept hitting him in the face, being shorter)…
… and — my favorite part, even if clearly not for the boys — “baking” gingerbread cookies (Shrek) — not really, they merely rolled out the dough and cut it into rough gingermen shapes, which were collected and transferred into a fake oven that magically produced perfectly formed and fully cooked cookies after a few seconds (presumably, HOPEFULLY, the raw dough was secretly discarded), then redistributed for decorating.

Children’s Day Holiday + Annual Leave, Day 4 (see previously 7.123 Singaporean Tofu).

Together in Manila.  First time this year (see most recently 6.361 Corn Butter Itame).  Taking advantage of Children’s Day, which was a Korean national holiday Thursday.  They flew in Wednesday night.  We’ll be flying back to Seoul tomorrow.

The rooftop pool at Nobu Hotel.
Nobu is a Japanese restaurant chain.  Founded by chef Nobu Matushisa (along with actor Robert De Niro) in 1993.  Launch in New York, currently with 29 locations worldwide (though surprisingly none in Japan — which may be telling — or Peru, where he got started), including Manila.


Been looking forward to trying Nobu.  Though I’m generally skeptical of hyped restaurants by celebrity chefs (see for example 7.035 WT Fuku?), the Nobu brand has sustained success for so long, arguably the most internationally successful of all time, that I had high hopes.  Looking at the menu, I got so excited that “TEIN (Try Every Item at Nobu)” flashed thru my mind.  The wife, who’d watched The Big Short on the plane coming here — the characters eat at Nobu to celebrate — and D, whose favorite food is sushi, were also both quite eager.  Coulda been the perfect end to a perfect day, perfect weekend.



Alas, the food was very disappointing.  From beginning to end, every dish was merely competent, or outright meh.  Like the Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeño, it tasted like yellowtail sashimi … in ponzu sauce … with a piece of jalapeño.  And totally overpriced — the most expensive meal that we may have eaten as a family, and therefore the worst value.

New Style Sashimi – White Fish (2.5) : drizzled in hot sesame oil and soy sauce — tasted like half-cooked fish in sesame oil and soy sauce.
Mixed Seafood Ceviche (1.5) : fishy.
Sashimi Ocean 12 (2.5) : 2,080 PHP (about $50) + 10% tax + 12% service charge.
Toro with Scallion Roll (2.5) + Spicy Tuna Roll (1.5)
Chicken Kushiyaki (2.0)
Lobster with Uni Butter (1.0) : with tax and service charge, this came out to nearly 3,080 PHP (about $75) — for what may have been 100 grams of lobster, at best; the tiny little half-tail was the size of a medium shrimp; and the uni butter — ugh.
Creamy Spicy Crab (1.5) : a few strips of stringy crab, overload with sauce — “creamy spicy” being a mix of mayo and sriracha sauce — then broiled to an oily goo, a technique often referred to as “volcano” at Japanese restaurants in the States.
Zaru Soba (2.5)

THEORY : Nobu made his name with his first Matushisa restaurant at a time and a place and among a customer base — 1987, Beverly Hills, American movie stars — when and where and for whom Japanese food was a new thing, so the standards would’ve been quite low.  That would seem to be his continuing business expansion strategy, as new restaurants pop up in places like Riyadh, Budapest, Cape Town, cities in which Japanese cuisine may still be a novelty.

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