My recent dinner at Nobu Malibu couldn’t have been more perfect if it had been scripted by a Hollywood screenwriter. The sun was setting. Beautiful people were congregating at the bar. The salt air in the wide-open dining room on Malibu’s Carbon Beach was scented with perfume, and the valets parked the steady stream of Bentleys and Benzes with style and smiles. Then, almoston cue, a tanned and trim Jeff Probst (the long-serving host of TV’s seminal reality show Survivor) started regaling his friends with behind-the-scenes Survivor stories at the next table. It was a quintessential Southern California scene even before the plates of Nobu’s famously creative and succulent sushi were served.
Of course, Nobu’s brand of Japanese cuisine is hardly new. In fact, one could say that Nobu Matsuhisa invented new-style sushi when he opened his first restaurant in Tribeca in 1994, and he’s been opening new Nobu locations in the world’s most exclusive destinations ever since.
I’ve been to Nobu in New York City and Matsuhisa in Aspen, but neither location boasts the vibe—or the view—of Nobu Malibu. Every seat in the dining room and bar has an ocean view, and our table out on the balcony was literally perched over the beach. The sound of the waves was soothing but not so loud as to prevent us from overhearing the inside Survivor scoop from the enthusiastic Emmy winner next to us.
Every dish that our knowledgeable server, Austin, surprised us with (I asked him simply to bring us what adventurous and experienced Nobu lovers would enjoy) combined flavor, texture, and presentation in interesting and satisfying ways. I highly recommend these Nobu staples: new-style salmon, toro tartare, black cod miso, and albacore with meyer lemon. The sea urchin with quail egg, rosemary oyster, and the salmon and avocado wrapped in cucumber were the perfect complement. The crab and snapper specials were delicious too. But what surprised me the most was the beef.
Instead of sushi, my colleague, Randy, the videographer who joined me for dinner after we’d spent all day shooting drone video at several exclusive Southern California resorts (be sure to check out oceanhomemag.com to see the reports), opted for a full-on steak—Nobu style. He raved about the toban-yaki beef that was cooked to perfection while I enjoyed the sushi; then we tried the wagyu with blue cheese per Austin’s suggestion. My mouth waters even now as I remember how good it was. In fact, it might have been my favorite.
The sad truth is we ate so much that we actually felt full. But not so full as to skip dessert. Randy went for the fruit cobbler while I couldn’t help myself and opted for the Valrhona dark chocolate fondant with matcha green tea ice cream.
Take my advice. Don’t skip dessert.
And take it from Jeff Probst. Be sure to watch the upcoming season of Survivor.