Nothing about this place is as great as its reputation.

So said the late, great Seymour Britchky about the Coach House way back in the 1980’s. But anyone who’s suffered through the overpriced, so-so sushi at Nobu knows exactly what he was talking about.

Our gripes: constantly describing things as “spicy” the menu when they’re not, a mushy, not-spicy-at-all “spicy” tuna roll that could’ve been rolled out by any all-you-can-eat sushi joint, a twenty-dollar hearts of palm salad that has to be the most overpriced restaurant dish in town, and finally, the ruination of a bunch of crab by baking it with a load of (once again) not-so-spicy mayonnaise.

Nobu Matsuhisha, like his down-market rival Roy Yamaguchi, may have been an innovator at one time, but his ideas have been co-opted by so many chefs and restaurants that the whole experience at either place feels as stale as yesterday’s toast.

And whichever one of them (we’re assuming it was one of them) invented the whole mayonnaise with Japanese seafood thing, should be shot….because baking mayonnaise on top of a bunch of crab is the worst idea since someone deep fried a Twinkie.

On the other hand, the urchin tempura was well nigh perfect — light as a feather and beautifully composed.

Which is what you could say about much of the crowd here — none of whom seems to be paying the slightest attention to the food, or the prices. Which is exactly the way the management likes it.

On the plus side, the service, despite the constant crush of SoCal hipsters, is invariably welcoming, fast and friendly.

So steeped in mediocrity (and mayonnaise) was our last meal here (the last of half a dozen over the years), that we’ll opt for Roy’s the next time we’re hankerin’ for hamachi. The parade of eye-candy may be missed, but at least the prices will be lower.

Our two sushi rolls and three small plates meal for two came to $103 with no booze.


In the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino

4455 Paradise Road

Las Vegas, NV 89169


9 thoughts on “No No NOBU

  1. No comments on the cold starters or cooked dishes–fresh scallops inexplicably seasoned with red peppers so as to eliminate any sweet subtlety of the scallop, a flavorless rib-eye slathered with fried onions, boring fried shrimp (accidentally delivered to my table by server).

    Glad to see you avoiding the hipster joint for the Outback owned chain.

  2. So where does one go on or near the Strip for first-rate sushi? The two other sushi spots ELV advocates, Sen of Japan and Red Rock’s Hachi, are both quite a hike.

  3. If you want the best innovative sushi in town by the most careful and precise chef, then you will go to Osaka on West Lake Mead. Luis and Alex were trained by the master Papasan. The crown formerly held by Sushi Fever and Sushi Avenue has been overtaken by Osaka on West Lake Mead. You will never regret it.

  4. “So where does one go on or near the Strip for first-rate sushi?” Shibuya has never disappointed me.

  5. When I lived in the States I figured that mayo was a way to make sushi more palatable to American, specifically, midwestern, tastes. Then I moved to Japan and discovered that the Japanese are mayo crazy! They even use it on tacos, in place of sour cream. Like it or not, it seems to be truly Japanese.

  6. I’ve eaten at all of the above off the strip and quite frankly I’ve been disappointed by the poor quality of the product. Since Shintaro closed in the Bellagio, being replaced by that abomination to Sushi (Yellowtail), getting super fresh, high quality fish is hard to come by. However, I think Sushi Roku in Caesar’s Forum shops does an exceptionally good job at procuring the really good stuff. I like to go on Tuesdays or Fridays when the fish arrives fresh. I know it’s a chain, however I am extremely particular about quality and right now, IMOHO, they seem to be the only ones getting it right. Note to other local Sushi restaurants: Stop serving bad UNI.

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