A chef so renowned, he’s known among discerning gourmets across the planet just by his first name. We’re obviously talking Nobu Matsuhisa, the crafty culinary genius from the land of the rising sun who, by lucky circumstance, instigated the Japanese-Peruvian food trend in the early 1970s.
Fast forward to 2017, and Matsuhisa is at the helm of a hospitality empire that spans the globe, having even expanded to hotel properties. But his main focus very much remains restaurants, and one of the newest outposts to open is in New York City’s financial district. Called Nobu Downtown, the restaurant actually relocated from a few blocks north in Nolita to the bigger and certainly much grander premises of the landmark at&t building.
It occupies 12,500 sq.ft. [approx. 1,161 sqm.], set across a ground floor space with a soaring high ceiling, and more importantly, robust marble columns that support it, and an additional basement area. Matsuhisa tapped Rockwell Group, an acclaimed local practice, to create matching settings, and if you ask us, it turned out quite allright.
Situated right in the middle, in between four massive columns, is a circular bar marked by backlit onyx panels and situated right below a suspended brushstroke sculpture inspired by calligraphy, and which serves as a focal point of the space. The lounge area dotted with various seating arrangements, including a section that flanks the entire back wall, using an expansive and artfully layered wooden board as a backdrop.
A modern staircase of concrete and glass leads to the dining area downstairs, and here the interior design seems much more evident thanks to an expansive and an undulating wooden canopy inspired by traditional Japanese kirigami. the main dining room is flanked by a 13-seat sushi bar, crafted from blackened steel. Off to the side, two shelving units, filled with ceramic sake carafs, form the walls of an intimate sake room.
So, what’s cooking at Nobu Downtown? Obviously, all of its coveted signature dishes, such as black cod miso, yellowtail jalapeño and rock shrimp tempura, but also new menu items, including downtown style hand rolls for two, short ribs with jalapeño salsa, and bigeye tuna tataki with truffle eryngii mushrooms, in addition to innovative omakase and osusume menus at the sushi bar.
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