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Review of Nobu in Malibu, CA

Sunset over the Pacific Ocean from Nobu

Earlier this month, I had a day trip to the Los Angeles suburbs for work.  After a long day of meetings, the 2 associates I was with and I decided we earned the right to go out for a good dinner - after all, we were all heading right back to the airport for red eye flights back to Chicago and New York.  After some googling, we settled on dinner at Nobu in Malibu (not really settling - more like happy to see it was one of the closest options and a spectacular choice).

We hopped in our little Ford rental car and headed to the coast.  You wouldn't think this was the right location with the McDonalds across the street, but sure enough we found the parking lot.  It was only 5:30pm - early for a Thursday we thought - so we dropped off the car at valet and hoped for a table. The valet attendant had a little questioning look as we pulled up - especially when you compare our ride to some of the others in the lot like the Ferrari seen here.

I arrived at the hostess and asked if we could get a table with no reservation.  She looked us over and offered us a spot out on the patio.  We were first warned it was a little chilly tonight with a low of 70 degrees! Being from Chicago I assured her that 70 degrees was acceptable to me.  As we were being seated, we got a glimpse of the end of a beautiful sunset over the Pacific Ocean - even the picture does not do it justice.

We arrived at our table - which was more like a couch with a coffee table and a chair.  It was nice and relaxing for the evening.  The hostess had one final comment - we needed to head out by 7:30p because she had others planning to use that table.  Considering the clientele the restaurant has I started wondering who might be dining after us.

The menu looked fantastic.  We could not decide exactly what we wanted so I choose the Omakase tasting menu (reasonable at $125 a person for what you get) and a house specialty Whiskey Sour.  I wish I paid more attention to all the details because that was one of the best mixed drinks I have had in a while.

Each course was, I think the best term would be, awesome.  The first few courses were various raw dishes with varying styles.  The flavors were expertly blended between the sweet and savory with constant flavor explosions on every bite. Then we arrived at the 2 cooked dishes.  The first was a perfectly cooked piece of sea bass - so tender and flaky - with a beautiful one sided crust, mushrooms and greens.  I could not eat it slow enough - it just wanted to jump into my mouth.  Next was several pieces of buttery wagyu beef served with roasted peppers and Chinese broccoli - Yum!

At this point I was in heaven, but we were not done.  I should point out that it was already 8p and no one was rushing over to push us out of our table.  That whole 7:30p time limit was probably more of a protection for those who just want to sit and enjoy but aren't sampling the fine cuisine.  Now, they bring out one of the most underrated yet so great part of the meal - a hot bowl of miso soup.  The flavor explosions would not quit!

Finally, just as I was ready to throw in the towel, out came dessert.  I was already in a food coma but I wasn't going to let it stop me.  Don't ask exactly what the 3 items are - I could not tell you at that point.  Basically, from left to right was a type of caramel cake almost like flan in some parts, a chocolate piece with ice cream and sauce, and some light sorbet to finish on that lighter note.

Overall, this was a fabulous meal - one that made my red eye flight back on United all the easier to swallow.

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