The first time I ate at Nobu was in Tokyo and it took a bit of luck to make it happen. A friend and I were nearing the end of our time in Japan and decided to call and see if maybe, just maybe, the famed restaurant could fit us in that evening. To our surprise they had two seats left at the far corner of the sushi counter. They didn’t feel like the star table at first but they ended up being the best seats in the house. The friendly sushi chefs slipped us delicious samples and house secrets all night. The cherry on top was when Nobu Matsuhisa himself dropped in and proceeded to go from table-to-table warmly greeting guests and inquiring about the food. Since then I’ve been a fan of the restaurants and specifically the rock shrimp tempura with creamy, spicy mayo.
Nobu Beijing opened in April 2011 with a big party attended by celebrity guest Jackie Chan. Located in the JW Marriott in the Chao Yang District of the city, it boasts all the hallmarks of a Nobu eatery. David Rockwell designed the luxurious interior and the menu features signature dishes like miso black cod and toro tartare with caviar.
The restaurant shut down for some renovations the week before I arrived and reopened the night before I left. That was actually a couple days later than the website stated, which could explain why the dining room was nearly empty when I arrived for dinner. The food however was just as delicious as expected. Highlights included the yellowtail with jalapeño cut roll that I dipped in a tart citrus-soy sauce and the unagi coated in a light, sweet glaze. I won’t go into too much detail on the rock shrimp tempura- that dish sells itself.
The kitchen closed several hours early and by the time the bill came, my date and I were the last two in the restaurant. The competition among high-end restaurants in Beijing is tough and for good reason. There are several Michelin starred chefs working in the city and food bloggers are constantly focused on finding the new thing. However, I’m optimistic that the consistently excellent food and service will keep this Nobu location on the “must-eat” lists of those in the know.
Photos courtesy of Nobu Beijing (Top) and Sarah Dallof