Nobu 57: Spankin' it all over town!
I know what you're thinking. How could I have let Mainland go last week, and then Pegu, and then Frank's AMAZING piece about San Sebastian which literally mentions specific restaurants and details what they're serving, while simultaneously revealing that he's "never been there" and "would like to try it." I hope he emailed the article personally to Bill Keller with a link to Expedia.
As Frank's seed spreads into Television reviewing and Travel writing, I decided to hawk my nooner on 14th and 9th for mere pennies! Why? Because this week is all about promiscuity. To wit, Nobu births Nobu 57, to which Frank applies his monocle and royal princely gaze:
"The name says it all. This isn't a new dining experience. It's an old one on a different block, Nobu in a different dress."
"Its menu and its food elicit not so much a stab as a full-on body blow of the familiar."
A stab/body blow of familiarity? Interesting. Is that more like a “pants-exploding artillery fire of mediocrity” or a “shit-smattering explosion of comfort”? Either way you interpret it, one thing is certain: no kind of blow, body or other, is familiar to this guy
Well, in case you found the language confusing, allow me to interpret:
Not only is this the second franchise of a restaurant that exists downtown already, but it is a copy of a restaurant that has created the template for upscale Japanese dining, and so, like a virile truck driver on a national circuit with a homebody wife who can’t count to ten, Nobu has one legitimate child and many, many, many restaurants that conspicuously take after it, all over the country.
in the words of the late Robert Palmer, “simply irresistible.”
Most exemplary of this phenomenon, the oft-imitated black cod: “Here it is, a plump wedge of miso-glazed black cod, the culinary equivalent of a Cole Porter standard, covered and interpreted by so many artists...”
THAT IS SO INSENSITIVE! Just cause it’s a black cod you have to use a BLACK MUSICIAN?? What’s next, Frank, will CHIEF SITTING BULL provide you with an appropriate descriptive vehicle for RED SNAPPER? How about some MICHELLE KWAN RICE, you bigot!
What? What’s that you say? Cole Porter’s white? [gulp] Sorry. It is I who should be more sensitive. Let's forget this whole argument.
The famed African-American cod that Nobu so geniusly coated in miso might be so familiar “that you may not recall where and when you experienced it first.
That place was probably Nobu, and that time might have been 1994, when the restaurant opened in TriBeCa.”
Let’s seeeeee. 1994—I’m pretty sure in 1994 I was shoveling an “after-school snack” of melon-sized Costco muffins and Lucky Charms into my face with a lacrosse stick while watching my mother prepare the dinner I was to eat in T minues 7 MINUTES. (What were you people trying to do to me???)
“TIME OUT!!!!! Can you fit a game hen through my face cage? I’m peckish. Thanks”
"The familiarity of Nobu 57 reflects more than its sire's genes and zest for reproduction. It reflects - and is compounded by - its sire's broader legacy."
ZEST FOR REPRODUCTION!!! While this reads like a section of your Addison-Wesley 8th grade history textbook, let not its genes and legacy talk distract you from the fact that it is about sluttiness. (Also, this is another one of those passages that you're going to want to read aloud in British English while rolling your R's to get the full appreciation.)
"Nobu is to Matsuri and Koi as McDonald's is to Wendy's: a tutor and template."
What an instructive comparison!
Chef Matsuhisa, poised for vengeance outside Frank's apartment door with brothers Saul and Mario.
So after all this exhausting work, including a torrid night of sequentially banging both Nobu and Newbu, Frank concludes that Matsuhisa still has the original magic, three stars' worth.
"What mattered was that black cod. I'm almost convinced that Mr. Matsuhisa maintains a secret tank in which the fish toss back Jacques Torres chocolates and watch 'Finding Nemo' while they fatten."
Akin to his comment in April about Kobe beef at Shaburi: "As it cost $69 for about seven ounces, I hope and assume the pampering includes Tivo, Opus One spritzers and bovine facials."
Well, at least we know they all end up in the plush velvet Napoleonic drawing room which must line the Count's countly interior. Meanwhile, I'm going to go shoot cans of dogfood off a fence and chew on jerky with the chicken from Pathmark. Later!