Even in unprecedented times, some truths remain eternal. For example, we maintain a deep conviction that a visit to Nobu always results in an unforgettable experience. And our recent dinner at Nobu’s San Diego location proved us correct.
We were enjoying a few days of sun and surf-mex in Pacific Beach this summer when two related desires stirred in our sense memories.
We wanted a taste of local San Diego sea urchin and we wanted sushi. There was no need to think it over. We headed straight to Nobu in the Gaslamp Quarter, recently closed to traffic and transformed into a charming causeway of street-side dining populated by the city’s typically good-looking public. With the brand’s characteristically adroit and accommodating service, we were greeted then seated on the restaurant’s spacious new patio, which wraps around the giant windows of the building’s façade.
We began, as we’d intended, with an order of nigiri, each pristine morsel delicately arranged in a procession of fish-topped warm rice and bearing the freshest flavors. We saved the giant lobes of San Diego uni, or sea urchin, for last, savoring each bite, more orange and oceanic than the sweet golden Santa Barbara variety we love at
home. The abundance of uni in that single bite vastly outweighed the single wan tongue we’d recently been forced to share in a mislabeled, Tostito-and-shrimp covered tiradito at Montecito’s new Rosewood Miramar.
At Nobu, we decided to challenge ourselves beyond our usual orders of the chef’s famous black cod in miso and yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño. This resulted in the rather unique and ingenious squid pasta with light garlic sauce, in which tender slices of squid are shaped to look like pasta shells, smacking of the sea through delightfully savory overtones and bowling us over in ecstasy. We also popped heavenly dumplings filled with Japanese beef and shitake mushrooms and pieces of ginger-soy eggplant into
our mouths as appetizers to match our Matushisa Martinis and Japanese whisky-and-yuzu-infused Nobu Sidecars, unable to resist the description on the menu.
The crowning touch was Nobu’s heavenly Chilean sea bass with dry miso, a buttery, citrus-tinged study in umami topped with a sprinkling of miso for texture and deeper flavor that will give us palpitations next time we have to decide between it and the black cod.
A dessert of mochi-wrapped ice cream was the perfect antidote to the summer weather, its sweet, cool character taming the rich flavors of our feast.
Beyond the elegant, palate-soothing cuisine, the staff at Nobu know how to make guests feel special, with a water glass never empty, no server suggestion gratuitous, and no need unfilled.
The Nobu name globally signals quality and distinction, no matter where one finds themselves, and our experience at Nobu San Diego proved this point splendidly.
When the craving for immaculate sushi and impeccable Japanese dining struck, we knew just where to go. And as always when dining at Nobu, were confident and proven correctly that it was the right call.