12.05.2005

Restaurant Review #93: Matsuhisa, Restaurant Row, Beverly Hills

I am sad to report that I have a very negative review of this restaurant, and I didn't even get to eat there. My friend made reservations several days in advance and asked for a quiet table. The person who took the reservation promised him that we would get a quiet table against the wall (apparently these tables are called dining 5 and dining 6, if anyone else is interested, and may actually need to be reserved a month in advance).

When we arrived, staff first didn't bother to ask for a last name and had us confused with another party of the same first name. We were upset that they said we could only sit on the patio or at the sushi bar. Sitting on the patio, it seemed like we might end up sharing our table with strangers. Plus, if I wanted to eat dinner in a plastic tent, I would have gone camping, not to a nice restaurant. Sitting at the sushi bar is fine for a lot of people, but it's just not my cup of tea, especially when I want to have private conversation over dinner.

Once staff realized that we were not the party we thought they were (that there were two of us, not three, should have been a big hint), they said that they did indeed have a table indoors for us. However, it was not against the wall--it was in the middle of the room, and we were probably six inches from the tables on either side of us. Yes, I am sad to report that Matsuhisa is yet another restaurant that tries to cram too many tables into too little space, effectively creating cafeteria-style dining in what is supposed to be a fine restaurant. Also, there was a crying baby in the dining room, and the restaurant's decor was not interesting or impressive at all. Overall, the dining room was noisy, crowded, and chaotic. They also were selling Nobu's cookbook and bottled sauces at the hostess stand, which I thought was tacky (I started wondering if I was at Cracker Barrel).

On top of that, the service left a lot to be desired. They botched our reservation, weren't accomodating or helpful about fixing it, and threw a wrench into what was supposed to be a lovely, relaxing evening. Since I couldn't hear my friend from 18 inches away, and had no faith in the restaurant to not screw up our meal as well, we left without even taking a sip of water.

The moral of the story is, if you want to eat Nobu's food, go to Nobu Malibu.

So how did the night turn out? Sushi Masu, an old favorite, saved the day. The restaurant was peaceful, quiet, and not overcrowded; staff was very friendly and attentive, and the food was delicious--and much cheaper to boot.

Matuhisa
129 N La Cienega Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
(310) 659-9639

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

We went to Matsuhisa to celebrate a very special birthday last night. We all ordered the $80.000 or the $100.00 omakase dinner hoping to enjoy the magical creations that made Matsuhisa or Nobu so special. We were all very disappointed by the uninspiring, simple menu, and below average service that we received. It is very obvious that the “magic” no longer exist and it has become just another very expensive chain restaurant.

The menu on the $80.00 omakase included miso soup! The wait between each dish felt like eternity…more than 20 minutes. Our omakase dinner did not include any of Matsuhisa’s signature dishes. The food presentations were simple and each dish was quite ordinary.

It is ashamed that Nobu Matsuhisa has even let his flagship restaurant go down to waste. We had a similar experience in Nobu Miami. This will probably be our last visit to this restaurant. There are many Japanese restaurants in Los Angeles that offer a much better dining experience!!!

Foodie Universe said...

I had a couple of good experiences at Nobu Malibu, but those were both over a year ago. I wonder if the quality there has changed?

You are right. There are many outstanding Japanese options in this city. There is no reason for anyone to put up with subpar food and service. Miso soup has no place in an omakase dinner, which is supposed to showcase the best of what the chef has to offer.