Atlanta’s newest hospitality additions offer first-class Japanese elegance and food that is heavenly
Story by Mary Welch Photos by Grady McGill
Now that the hotel, Nobu Atlanta, and its flagship restaurant came to Atlanta, we can testify: “It’s really special. It’s a big deal!”
Nobu Atlanta is a 150-room hotel nestled around the corner of Buckhead’s Phipps Plaza with a restaurant, rooftop pool, corporate conference space and spa facilities. Upon entering, the Asian influence of muted browns and textured wallpaper give a sense of serenity, Japanese minimalism and, after being greeted with a cold towel and a cup of tea upon arrival, cool luxury. The service, both in the hotel and restaurant, was impeccable.
We stayed in the Momiji Suite, which is 825 square feet of pure bliss. The living room, kitchen area and half bath had a businesslike atmosphere with leather and woods while the bedroom offered an oasis of calm and peace. The huge master bathroom featured a deep, deep tub, separate rainfall shower, Natura Bissé bath amenities, Dyson hair dryer and hair straightener (loved them) and two sets of bathrobes, one a terrycloth for après bath and another patterned silky one for… we don’t know exactly …fantasize you’re a movie star, drink wine and enjoy the luxurious accommodations? Anyway, it worked!
It’s like heaven!
Those exuberant words came out of our companion as he tasted a variety of dishes at this famed restaurant. Nobu was founded by world-renowned Chef Nobu Matsuhisa as well as film producer Meir Teper and Robert (needs no introduction) De Niro. While all the restaurants across the world (including the dozen or so, like Atlanta, where there is a restaurant inside the hotel) are decorated slightly differently, they all exhibited a casual warmth that makes you feel welcomed, even if you’re not a superstar. The large open sushi bar and kitchen brought a bit of energy to the room and made it more intimate.
While there were a few in suits and an unfortunate few in shorts, dining at Nobu is more of a business casual atmosphere where again the focus is on relaxing and enjoying a meal that will thrill and, in a tapas sort of way, encourage you to order more and more.
The menu is divided into a couple of sections: Shuko (appetizers), tacos, kushiyaki (skewered protein), cold dishes, hot dishes and sushi. We started with crispy okra with spicy tosazu sauce, which was so light it almost floated away. Perfection. We then ordered two tacos, lobster and wagyu. They were small — two bites each — but were so packed with flavor that one felt sated and ready for the next dish.
It was difficult selecting the cold dishes so we went with our amazing server’s suggestion: tai with dried miso. Tai, a Pacific sea bream, is a Japanese delicacy and Nobu’s chef invented dried miso. The paper-thin fish floated in olive oil and truly melted in our mouths. Crispy rice with spicy tuna was a surprise as there were six crispy rice squares — almost like dice — that you dipped in soy sauce and added the tuna. We finished the cold starters with salmon belly sashimi with wasabi salsa, which was heaven and added a little tartness to our selections.
For the hot dishes, the lamb chops served with gochujang honey were cooked to perfection and the rock shrimp tempura with a butter ponzu was different from the tempura that we’ve had in other restaurants. We followed the hot dishes with the chef’s selections of sushi and a flaming Baked Alaska.
So, does Nobu Atlanta and its restaurant live up to all the Hollywood hype? Actually, it does. It’s a superstar hotel and restaurant that deserve a standing ovation for excellence and a reservation.