Nobu - Happy Hour
By Tara Redfield
It's true that the economy has basically sucked since we kissed the 90's goodbye, but not all bad things have happened as a result...at least happy hours became popular again, or maybe more popular than they have ever been! My point is, that at least now even the most renowned restaurants aren't afraid of offering cheaper versions of the real deal in order to maintain decent business in a non-flourishing economy. So thanks economy for sucking, now I can enjoy happy hour at classic restaurants, like Nobu, without sacrificing rent money!
La Cienega Boulevard, North of Wilshire, also referred to as "Restaurant Row" is actually walking distance from my apartment. I knew it was, but I finally confirmed it for the first time by walking to Nobu, the world renowned sushi restaurant, for Happy Hour last Friday. I made a stop at Cheyenne's new apartment, which was gorgeous, and then we strolled to the face of Nobu's front doors.
The hostess motioned gracefully with her long arms to the bar entrance at the left. The horseshoe shaped lounges or seats at the bar? Lounges. The menu was enticing; divided into cold tapas and hot tapas and the happy hour drink specials were in line with any competition, $4 beers, $6 wines, $7 mixed drinks, $9 small Junmai (sake) and $9 specialty martinis and cocktails.
After a slow and calm consideration we decided on the Baby Artichoke Salad with Crispy Leeks, Wagyu and Foie Gras Gyoza, Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice, and Scallops with Truffle Panko Crust. I ordered a Champagne 95, Torres Orange Liqeuer, Creme de Peche, Pineapple and Champagne, to sip leisurely while Cheyenne, who can handle sake like a pro, ordered the Junmai.
The first bite of the artichoke salad was a puzzle of tastes, there were so many subtle pieces of flavor. It took our tongues a few bites to put the different pieces together. There were soft kicks of lemon, gentle waves of truffle, and precise pokes of rice wine vinegar. The crispy leeks added the pleasant texture of sweet crunch among the tangy smoothness of the artichoke shreds. The experience was flavorful and clean.
Every bite of meat should taste as rich and entitled as the Wagyu/Foie Gras mix hiding in Nobu's gyoza. They only serve two at a time, but, I easily, could have eaten four or five. They tasted like strips of sweet silken meat lightly tangled with salt and herbs, rolled into balls of savory perfection and then wrapped in a sheet of egyptian cotton dough. There isn't a lot more to say, they were triumphant.
Just as we were finishing the gyoza, a familiar voice laced with charm announced, "Tara Redfield! Is that you?!" It was my friend Claudis! I knew that he worked there, but I wasn't sure if he would be in that night. I'm glad that he was! This guy is funny, like Will- Smith-watch-your-back funny. Seriously. I like that the odds of running into friends almost everywhere I eat in LA are always very high. Anyway, back to the food!
The spicy tuna crispy rice didn't beat Katsuya's version in my opinion, but the scallops were a tasty adventure. To me they tasted like seafood french toast. The outside was lightly crispy and then when I took a bite a soft buttery center introduced itself.
Since I had just gotten back from a 10 day trip on the east coast I was still in vacation mode and enjoyed another Champagne 95. When the check came, I had apparently been ordering like I was on vacation all night! Although this was a pricier happy hour, I had eaten numerous little heavens at Nobu. I could not complain.
903 N La Cienega Blvd
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