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“Better than Ever”
Review of Nobu Honolulu

Nobu Honolulu
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Ranked #148 of 2,622 Restaurants in Honolulu
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$ 50 - US$ 200
Cuisines: Sushi, Asian
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Restaurant details
Good for: Bar Scene, Business meetings, Special Occasion Dining, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, After-hours, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighbourhood: Waikiki
Reviewed 28 March 2018

I've been dinning at Matsuhisa & NOBU since their start and in many of NOBU's locations. It gets better and better and Chef Matt Raso at the Honolulu branch is on a terrific roll. Try the Mochiko Lobster, new wave salmon sashimi and a host of other wonderful treats. Solid decor, 1st rate servers and excellent cocktails and wines make NOBU hard to beat, be it Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York or London.

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Thank _markdbernstein
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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33 - 37 of 815 reviews

Reviewed 26 March 2018

This is a tricky review to write, since I don't want to give the impression that Nobu Honolulu serves bad sushi. It doesn't. But considering a piece of bluefin Otoro is $13 - which is twice the price I've paid for the same thing at Michelin-starred sushi places in Japan - I expect a really great piece of meat with really great knifework. I got neither.

Where Nobu excels is where it's clientele think great sushi lies: overwrought rolls and complicated "fusion" dishes. We had some tasty dishes (the pork-belly is excellent, as is the miso eggplant). But everything that defines a great sushi restaurant - mainly the sashimi and nigiri - is solidly mediocre both in terms of the quality of the meat, and especially in terms of the knifework and presentation.

The service staff are good; the room itself looks very nice. But for all the reviewers calling their dinners a "once in a lifetime experience", I respectfully suggest they've never had good Edo-mae sushi and are assuming because of the pricetag that this is a great meal. Ignoring the price, you can eat a good meal at Nobu. Considering the price, it's an absolute disappointment. And for GREAT sushi, there are better options even in Honolulu if one can't travel to Japan.

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1  Thank JPK_YVR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 March 2018 via mobile

“GETTING BETTER ALL THE TIME” from the Beatles fits Nobu’s mantra. We’ve been going to Nobu since we moved to Oahu six years ago from NYC. While living in NYC we went to Nobu in TriBeCa many times as well as the uptown Nobu. The new Nobu in Honolulu aside from is gorgeous architecture and awesome outdoor bar the food just gets better every time we’ve been there. Last night we had New Style Scallop with Uni. One words describes it:”unreal”. What followed were also out of this world. Two pieces of special whitefish with dry miso, Crispy Rice with spicy tuna, uni taco ,whitefish with grapefruit, mezcal and ponzu. And we finished with Our Sushi Plate with Soft Shell Crab Roll, Fresh Water Eel(unagi) and Botan Ebi. The waitstaff from top to bottom are amazing. Everyone knows exactly what each ingredient that is in your dish is as well as how it’s cooked. Loved their upgraded wine list. Were are former Wine Educators from NYC.

Thank Cfeinberg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 February 2018 via mobile

This was a great experience and great atmosphere. Staff was very attentive and willing to help. I asked one question about the "Nobu sauce" and the poor waiter went skirmishing around trying to get me a definitive answer on its prep (sorry man, it wasn't an intentional test).

We got there a little early to find that our 5:30pm reservation was the first of the evening. As such the doors were locked with a hefty staff meeting going on.

But a great solace is that the bar was open (from 5pm, I believe) and had happy hour going on. It gave us a chance to look at their premium spirit and wine selections. Found myself a Miyagikyo whisky which you are not going to find at too many joints. The bar was littered with premiums on display (especially the Japanese ones) and believe it or not, they weren't terribly priced. This is really a bar you should check out as it has some nice samplings of things in the restaurant along with a terrific atmosphere. It's an outdoor lanai of your dreams with complete open air exposure underneath a wonderful overhang from the building above. If you have ever wondered about the strange shape of the building its in, this is definitely a heavy benefactor of that design. Once the main restaurant was open, our bartender came with a serving tray to take our drinks and escort us to our table. Yes, the bar bill was transferred over to our restaurant ticket.

For food we selected the Chef's Omakase for $200/ea. I felt we got what we paid for in ingredients and I can definitely say I was stuffed at the end, but I think you should be aware that this is not a sushi omakase, its a Nobu restaurant omakase of their offerings. It'll be about 6-8 dishes of their best ingredients, but about halfway through it transitions to hot dishes. Now the hot dishes DID indeed include A5 Wagyu beef which was good and served with their demi glaze sauce. Maybe I'm a purist and would have just served it with some selected salt tastings on the side. The meat was delicious, but admittedly not the best wagyu I've had prepared - that honor went to Morimoto's, not in their Hawaii restaurants (not even close), but at their meat packing district location in New York. But that was their Saga wagyu from a decade ago.

I won't get into full details, as really, all the plates tasted as good as they looked (see pics). Sushi that we did have was on point with some great combinations to counter traditional flavors you expect from all except the amaebi which was locally sourced from Maui and about the best I've ever tasted. There were black truffles everywhere they could find space so you know they didn't skimp. If there was one thing, I would say the abolone dish was a little disappointing as it didnt seem to shine and felt a little pedestrian; though truth be told, if you broke down the sauce, it was the star as soaking the enoki mushrooms in there tasted wonderful.

I'm a bit hypercritical and I would wholeheartedly recommend checking this place out. But in all honesty, I might go ala carte next time as there were selections on the menu that still pique my interest that you may not get on the omakase.

Ambiance in the restaurant is exquisite and they make you feel like a king in there. See if you can get the curtained-off private table next to the omakase-only teppanyaki. Believe it or not, we saw quite a few kids in there (many with iPad distractions on table), so you gotta think it's possible. But at this pricepoint, I think I'd continue to enjoy an adult night with some drinks.

Pro tip: Valet is on the opposite side of the building and a bit unimpressive. Both restaurant and valet are NOT on Alamoana Blvd, so keep that in mind. All that said, though unrelated and unofficial, there are two decently sized parking lots within a block that probably just require a 5min walk or less. And quite frankly, the area is worth walking around again. Enjoy the meal and walk off a little afterwards.

1  Thank J. N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 January 2018

The ambience is somewhat casual. You can definitely tell from the music blasting from the outside.

The food is superb! I'm not really into sushi and sashimi (but Japanese food is not limited to sushi and sashimi). They serve modern Japanese food and all the dishes were simply outstanding. Just a word about the portions, though. These are definitely NOT American portions. It's more like tapas style. We got to try more dishes this way.
Their dessert menu is more western than Japanese.

Service was outstanding. Out waiter was very attentive but not intrusive.

We booked at Opentable and I specified that it was our anniversary and they wrote Happy Anniversary on the dessert plate.

Overall a great experience and we'll go back soon.

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1  Thank Led M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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