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15. October 2011: Restaurant Matsuhisa by Nobu

| October 23, 2011 | 0 Comments

I had once the pleasure of dining at Matsuhisa by Nobu in December 2010 in Zurich at the Rive Gauche. While the food was truly great back then, it was just somewhat overpriced. Still, as I was sure the food was going to be truly amazing again, I decided, that I had to try the Restaurant Matsuhisa by Nobu being part of the Astir Palace Resort I resided in.

I decided to have the Omakase menu (EUR 75.00 if you have it between 7:30pm and 8:30pm; EUR 95.00 if you have it after 8:30pm) which is a seven course dinner with the signature dishes of Matsuhisa Nobu.

The menu started with a salmon tartar with caviar and wasabi crumbs on top, the whole thing served in a little bowl of soy sauce. The salmon tartar itself was good, the caviar itself was good too – if you, as suggested by the waiter, mixed the ingredients and had them in one bite, the dish exponentially won in quality and taste.

The second course servedw as sashimi of seabass with concentrated chili. The seabass sashimi was definitely rich in taste and the chili extract gave it the little special extra kick. Also, the chili extract was pretty spicy as one would expect of chili, so the coriander they served with it served perfectly to take out a bit of the spiciness. The seabass was absolutely tender and just tasteful.

The third course of the Omakase menu was a selection of fresh greens served with tuna, octopus, and shrimps with a onion-soy-sauce. The tuna was great in taste – fresh tuna which was only turned quickly in the pan, perfect in taste. The octopus was fresh and not chewy at all, and the shrimps were shrimps – good, and that was it. The fresh greens were normal to good. Some greens were truly amazing and overwhelmingly intense in taste (unfortunately, I could not figure what green it was), while others were just pretty normal salad. Frankly, the soy-onion-sauce was not my piece of cake but it somehow fit the dish. Still, in my opinion, the dish would be as good as it was or even better without the soy-onion-sauce.

The fourth course was a black cod which has been marinated in miso sauce for three days. It was served with the exact same miso sauce but refined with Japanese lemon. The waiter suggested us to put some lemon on top of the fish in case it was too sweet – and that definitely helps, I figured. The black cod was a dream come true, absolutely tender, rich in taste, a dream (sorry, I’m repeating myself but I cannot find any better words). The fish was served with some ginger to neutralize the sweet taste at the end of the dish – and also that helped but frankly, eating ginger without anything in addition is also pretty special – and not my cup of tea. But the fourth course was definitely outstanding.

The fifth course of the Omakase menu came with some noise. It was served in a bowl which had boiling content – a mixture of soy sauce and sake in which the beef, the shitaki mushrooms, some kind of white mushrooms, and broccoli was cooked. The shitaki mushrooms, the white mushrooms, and the broccoli was quite good – the beed was outstanding. The slices were thin, but as they were only shortly cooked in that mixture of sake and soy sauce, they were pretty much in the meat stage of “medium” when ready to be eaten. Also, the mixture of sake and soy sauce made the whole dish great in taste – I cannot point at it but I can tell you: truly amazing!

As another main course, we were served a miso soup with clams and tofu. To begin with, I did not try the tofu (as it just did not look appealing at all) but I tried the clams (there were three of them: one okay, one closed, so I could not eat it, and one empty which made it then “one clam”). So, the miso soup was okay, but that is already it – nothing really outstanding.

Luckily, there came a second part with the sixth course, a selection of different sashimi: tuna, hering, crab, and seabass. Additionally, they served us with some kind of Japanese sweet omelet (which I did not try as I did not feel like eating anything sweet after having had that much food) and another thing wrapped in seaweed. I do not know what was in that seaweed (I only tried a small bite) but it definitely does not belong on such a plate as it was just repulsive. The four different kinds of sashimi with a bit of wasabi and soy sauce on the other hand were outstandingly tasteful.

As a seventh course we were served a “Whiskey Cappucino”. While we were expecting something quite fluid, it was actually a combination of different layers: chocolate as a basis, crunchies as a second layer, ice cream as a third layer, and finally, whiskey foam as a fourth, top-layer. The waiter recommended us to dig deep and have a spoon of everything and it was definitely worth it. The taste combination was great – I’m not a big fan of sweets, but frankly, it was great in taste. Especially the combination of the different kinds of ingredients and the different forms they were served in – outstanding.

Overall, I can truly and frankly say that the Omakase menu by Matsuhisa is definitely worth trying. The quality of the dishes is outstanding, the tastes are great and overwhelming, not surprisingly new but absolutely at the top level! Even thinking about the dishes is great – it just makes your mouth watery.

But not only the dishes which are served in the Restaurant Matsuhisa by Nobu are oustanding. The atmosphere of the restaurant is amazing. It is having this Japanese flair created by a combination of dark wood, bright and wide windows, the whole room parted in different separées. And, not to forget, the view is once more truly amazing as the restaurant is located right next to the ocean and you get to look over the sea – beautiful! Truly beautiful!

Not to talk about the fact that you can watch the Japanese cooks prepare your dishes as they are at the side of the restaurant openly visible to the customers – and the Japanese welcome shout each time a new customer walks in. One waiter starts and then all the waiters in the restaurant call the new arrivers welcome – loud, disturbing at first, but definitely having its own charm.

And well, the service itself is definitely great too. The waiter who was responsible for our table was always there when needed, was very attentive – our glasses have never been empty – and, once more being very Greek apparently, served us in a high speed the first three courses (until I told him to please not hurry that much so we can enjoy our dinner). One can see though that some waiters lack a bit in experience when it comes to small details like from which side are you supposed to take away the plate and from which side are you supposed to serve it. Not that it is bothering or anything but when once a colleague of his a bit older took our plates, one could see the difference.

Finally, not that it is really something to judge a restaurant upon, but I have to admit that the fact that the people visiting the restaurant definitely belonged to the upper 10.000 of Athens, and also looked respectively pretty, increases the experience at such a restaurant.

Overall, I must admit, dining at the Restaurant Matsuhisa by Nobu in the Astir Palace Resort is definitely worth going, and even driving all the way from Athens if you have to. The food is delicious, not having much truly surprising elements, the location is outstandingly amazing, the service is at a truly high level, the prices are definitely high but fair for what you get. To summarize and keep it short: Go! It’s worth it!


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Contact Details:

Matsuhisa by Nobu

Astir Palace

Apollonos Street 40

16671 Vouliagmeni (GR)

Tel.: +30 21 08 96 05 10

Fax: +30 21 08 96 25 20

E-Mail: contact@matsuhisaathens.com

Homepage: http://www.matsuhisaathens.com

About the Author:

I started the blog in October 2009, while living in Milan which I definitely consider to be one of the food capitals of the world. I was in touch with food since my early childhood (as my father is a former chef). Whenever I can, I travel the world to discover new places, to meet people but mostly to try local dishes and to find hidden gems! If you know a place worth going, please drop a line to: info@thediningexperience.org. Currently, I am a member of the following food-related associations: Chevalier @Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Zurich-Ville; Membre Gourmet Dégustateur @Ordre Mondial des Gourmets Dégustateurs [OMGD]; Gesellschafter @Goldener Fisch and Member @Slowfood Convivium Zurich City.

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