Kersten Rettig: Get To Know Nobu Again

Since making its Dallas debut in 2005, Nobu has been a constant bright star in the Dallas dining constellation.

It wasn’t the first elevated Japanese restaurant and sushi bar in Dallas; Tei Tei Robata Bar opened in 1998 and continues to delight, and it’s not the hottest little gem box of a sushi restaurant such as Tatsu or Shoyo, both extraordinary dining experiences; but it is quite notable.

So how did Nobu come to Dallas?

A Rosewood Hotels and Resorts executive named Elias Assaly was tasked with finding a tenant for the space that had been occupied by Beau Nash and The Conservatory, an in-house hotel restaurant. Elias sought out Nobu, brought them to the Crescent, and signed the deal. Apparently, it wasn’t a hard sell for Nobu.

Nobu Matsuhisa was one of the first international celebrity chefs to codify Dallas as an international dining destination, worthy of hosting his eighth of now 50 worldwide locations of Nobu. The restaurant’s May 2005 opening was the food event of the year, with Nobu and his business partner Robert DeNiro mingling with local VIPs (we didn’t have “influencers” back then), adding a great deal of cachet to the restaurant, which propelled its momentum for years.

Nobu Matsuhisa and Kersten Rettig share a laugh. PHOTO: Nobu

Reps say Nobu makes the rounds at each of his restaurants at least once a year. He was in Dallas recently for The Taste of Nobu, a ticketed event where guests indulged in the best Nobu has to offer, from passed sushi and canapes to live chef stations and hand-crafted cocktails. Nobu was approachable and mingled with guests. The day of the event coincided with the breaking news that his friend and business partner, Robert DeNiro, had become a father again at the age of 79. I asked Nobu about it, and he said, “I’ve known about it for a long time but couldn’t say anything.” We had some fun banter about it which was caught by a photographer. “He’s my hero!” Nobu laughed.  

Today, Nobu is as relevant as ever and continues to shine, with Executive Sushi Chef Mitsuhiro Eguchi and Executive Chef Antonio Rendon leading the kitchen.

Nobu’s signature dish, Black Cod with Miso, is often emulated but never exactly duplicated.  The rich, sweet miso glaze and tender black cod are as intoxicatingly good today as they were when I first dined at Nobu in 2007. The menu hasn’t changed dramatically in that time. The line up of Shuko (snacks), cold dishes, and hot dishes such as cod, nigiri, sashimi, and sushi maki offers wide appeal to adventurous and reticent diners.

Some of my favorite dishes include crispy rice with either avocado, spicy salmon or tuna.  This is an approachable dish with cubes of crispy rice satisfyingly chewy, sturdy enough for a shmear of spicy salmon, but light. The Hearts of Palm Salad with jalapeño dressing is fabulous and shareable.

Nobu’s tacos, tempura, sushi maki, and streams of nigiri and sashimi are excellent options for large, shareable platters. If you’re more of an “I want my own entrée type,” the beef tenderloin is sublime and offers three different preparation options, Teriyaki, Wasabi Pepper, or Anticucho Sauce, a tangy Peruvian condiment.

Nobu doesn’t identify as a steakhouse, but there are some steakhouse elements to it, including a bone-in Ribeye Hoba Yaki with Truffle Amazu Butter Ponzu, seabass prepared several ways, lamb chops, salads, sides, desserts, and an exceptional wine list. Beef eaters can also enjoy the Japanese A5 Wagyu sold by the ounce.

If it’s an Omakase experience you seek, Nobu has it. The chef’s choice menu is $200 per person and will take you through a culinary journey created before your eyes,

If you’d like to have the journey in your jammies, well, you can have that too.

Nobu now offers a “Nobu at Home” experience, which includes a specially-curated set menu, sushi platter, or a la carte items, and Nobu cocktails, sake, and wines.

Nobu at Home options include a Classic Family Style Dinner which represents some of the most popular items, Yellowtail Jalapeño, Tuna Sashimi Salad, Black Cod with Miso, Grilled Chicken with Anticucho Sauce and Sushi; the Wagyu Taco Box includes the fixings for 20 A5 Wagyu tacos; you can order gorgeous Sashimi plates and even Nobu’s own Champagne ‘Louis de Sacy’, Grand Cru Brut, NV. Next time it’s just too hot to cook, consider this.

Having Nobu at home would be a cool party trick, but the restaurant is gorgeous and the service attentive, warm but not intrusive. The people watching is great, too, so I enjoy eating there.

If you just want a taste of Nobu, not an entire evening, go to Tanoshi Hour, Nobu’s version of Happy Hour. Every Sunday to Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m., you can pop in for a few light bites and drinks.

Nobu, like any restaurant with exceptionally high-quality fish and other menu items, is not inexpensive.  Trust me, you do not want to eat budget sushi. Nobu is an elevated night out, for dates, friend group dinners, business dinners, and celebrations.  It’s a gem, tucked away in one of Dallas’ prettiest and most well-established luxury hotels. If you’ve never been, now is the time to get to know Nobu.  And, if it’s been a while, it’s time to revisit.

400 Crescent Court
Parking: Valet or Self Park

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Kersten Rettig

Kersten Rettig is the only DFW Food/Travel writer with luxury hospitality leadership experience and a former restaurant owner, employee, and chief marketing officer. Kersten's worked on the inside and has the insight and experience to tell the stories to the outside. She's a Park Cities resident, mom, wife and a decent cook. Follow her on Instagram @KerstenEats.

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