“You say you want a revolution…” and you got it. When Nobu’s original TriBeCa location opened in 1994, the way New Yorkers thought about and ate Japanese food was forever changed.
Now, two decades and 30 Nobus later, the first location is shuttering its doors tomorrow. But fans need not fret—a new location at 195 Broadway in the Financial District will open the first week of April.
“The new space is extraordinary,” says Drew Nieporent, founding partner of Nobo New York. Like the original 105 Hudson Street location, the Nobu Downtown space will be designed by New York architect David Rockwell. “He did such a great job at the first New York location. Back then, [New York] did not have a restaurant that looked and tasted like what Nobu became.”
The restaurant will celebrate its closing with a special “OG Omakase” dinner menu. The 8-course tasting will feature classics from the early days of Nobu New York, as well as the signature dishes that Nobu made famous.
When Nobu first opened, “Japanese restaurants were very traditionally marketed only to Japanese people. It wasn’t very innovative,” says Nieporent. What has made Nobu so successful, he continues, is that they have a long list of regulars, many of whom have been in excess of 100 times, he says.
“The dish that launched a thousand Nobus is the yellowtail with jalapeno,” says Nieporent. Though the new restaurant will have added menu items, Nieporent notes that most people come back for their classic favorites. “We have one foot in innovation, and one foot in what brought us to the dance. People really love Nobu because they can rely on the dishes they know so well,” says Nieporent.
When Nobu first opened, the restaurant catapulted Chef Nobu Matsuhisa into international fame, as Nobu has expanded across the U.S., and to cities like Dubai, London, Cape Town and Bejing.
“Imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Every terrific chef worldwide not only has come to Nobu, but they have been influenced by Nobu,” says Nieporent. If we can impress colleagues, there’s no greater award than that kind of respect.”
For the sake of Nobu fans everywhere, luckily they’re here to stay.