At a Glance
What is it?
An outpost of the Asian fusion restaurant made famous by its celebrity devotees in LA and NYC.
Where is it?
At Caesars Palace on the Center Strip.
What kind of food is served?
All things Asian from sushi to hot dishes.
What is the atmosphere like?
Sleek, modern, lounge-like.
How is the service?
They only hire the best and the brightest here.
What are the prices like?
It’s very expensive but no unexpected for a restaurant of this caliber.
What else do I need to know?
What’s the bottom line?
Nobu has become synonymous with the concept of upscale Asian cuisine for a reason.
Chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa gained notoriety in the United States when he opened his eponymously named Matsuhisa in Beverly Hills in 1987. It attracted a wave of celebrity endorsers and became one of the hottest of hot-spot restaurants in LA. Since then he has opened dozens of Matsuhisa and Nobu branded restaurants around the globe including one at this flagship location at Caesars Palace, which comes with its very own Nobu branded hotel tower.
The Caesars restaurant is the focus of this review, but I’m confident that aside from decor and some menu specifics, the experience of dining at either of them will be just as special.
The dining room is casually elegant, with lots of low-slung furniture, soft lighting, and luxurious accents like leather padded walls. It’s lovely and has a hip ultra-lounge feel to it, millions of miles from the cheesy/tacky decor of most Asian restaurants in this town that love to put bamboo on the walls and Chinese lanterns above the tables and call it a day.
The menu covers a wide spectrum of Asian-inspired dishes, some with a Peruvian flair coming from his years running a restaurant there in the 1970s.
Sushi and sashimi are big draws here with dozens of options available including albacore, fresh water eel, octopus, shrimp, snow crab, squid, and more. You can get California, lobster, tuna, and other rolls plus some interesting additions in the “cold dishes” section such as spicy miso chips with scallops, salmon with caviar, or yellowtail with jalapeno.
For those who don’t do raw fish, like me, there are plenty of other options including black code miso; shrimp with wasabi pepper; a variety of tempura; toban-yaki tenderloin, seafood and more; brick oven dishes like Alaskan king crab legs or a whole Maine lobster; grill items such as a beef tenderloin or lamb chops; and kushiyaki skewers of beef, chicken, squid, pork belly miso, and others.
Overall the menu is four pages long so if you can’t find something you want you are simply being too picky.
I sampled the chicken kushiyaki, two skewers of tender grilled chicken in a simple teriyaki (you can choose anticucho if you prefer). The meat was perfect and the sauce struck a fantastic blend of sweet and salty. It couldn’t have been any better.
I also tried the gyoza, tender potsticker-like dumplings filled with Wagyu beef and served with a tangy soy sauce. These were even better than the kushiyaki if it is at all possible and I devoured all six of them that came on the plate.
These two dishes were more than enough food for me but I eat on the light side of things so if you order some of the smaller plates you may want to consider getting 2-3 per person.
Prices are high. Single piece sushi and sashimi runs from $6-$22 with dinners in the $58-$90 range; rolls are $4-$35 depending what you get and if you want it hand rolled or cut; small plates run $10-$70 and full dinners are anywhere from $30-$70. My relatively small meal along with a cocktail priced out at around $70 before tax and tip.
Service was fantastic – personable and fast but not rushed.
Nobu is one of those special occasion restaurants and is not really made for those who think Asian food is served in take out containers with pandas on the side. The price may turn some away but if you can afford it you will probably walk out feeling like it was worth it.
Worth noting… Nobu got its start in Vegas at The Hard Rock Hotel but that outlet closed when the hotel did in 2020. It will reopen when the hotel reopens as Virgin Las Vegas but in the meantime, there is a pop-up version at Bally’s, which should be open through most of 2020.