So last night, I'm at Nobu Next Door, digging into my black cod miso and pondering whether it was a tad overcooked when this high and chirpy voice piped up 3 feet from me. "Oh my god, it's so good to see you! I haven't seen you in so long. It's so good to see you!" said voice kept exclaiming. After awhile, the voice starts grating on my nerves. My friend Buddha across the table is nodding his head towards the voice and I nod, thinking he's equally annoyed. And then I finally took a good look at who was talking. Holy crap, it was SJP.
So of course a celebrity sighting makes any dinner that much better. But the meal was actually pretty good. We all did the restaurant week menu. Nobu Next Door had a very strong start. All the appetizers were fabulous. Mika had the yellowtail tartare, which had extremely fresh fish and a wonderful wasabi kick. I had the lobster tempura, which was equally fabulous. Tender lobster meat was encased in fluffy tempura batter. Eaten with a slice of jalapeno, red onion, a sprig of cilantro and some ponzu sauce, it was a wonderful blend of Mexican and Asian flavors. my apologies for the low quality of pictures. Nobu's romantic lighting doesn't work well with my iPhone.
For my entree I picked the aforementioned broiled black cod with miso. The fish itself is so flavorful, evidence that the cod was marinated for the requisite 2 to 3 days. The skin was crisp. The meat, I thought, was a tad overdone. It wasn't as flaky or tender as I would've liked. Truth be told, I've had better black cod miso at Nobu imitators ... but then again, those other restaurants didn't have a Sarah Jessica Parker soundtrack going while I ate my black cod.
I should also mention that we shared some specials: kobe beef gyoza and softshell crab with watermelon. The kobe beef gyoza was nothing to write home about. Fine meat, I suppose, is best left barely cooked; certainly not mashed, macerated and stuffed into a dumpling. It could have been any old type of meat stuffed in the gyoza, really. The soft shell crabs, however, where spectacular. Lightly breaded with panko and served with grilled yellow watermelon, the melange of crisp and juicy textures, and rich and fresh flavors were just a pleasure to eat. I would order that again.
For dessert, we were all given the bento box, which contained a molten chocolate cake and a scoop of green tea ice cream. The cake was good but nothing special, and by then I was so stuffed that I had to give half of it to Mika (who didn't need arm twisting to oblige). While not all parts of my meal were stellar, this was definitely a dinner to remember. I'd love to go back to Nobu Next Door, for sure, and try the other intriguing dishes on the menu.
Nobu Next Door is located at 105 Hudson Street between Franklin and N. Moore, New York, NY 10013. Tel. 212-334-4445