On Saturday, March 23rd, at noon, I called Nobu Miami to make a reservation for that evening. The phone was answered immediately by a friendly voice saying, “Thank you for calling Nobu Miami, this is Nicole, how may I help you?” I said hello and that I wanted to make a reservation for that evening. Nicole asked about what time I was looking for. I said I’d prefer between 7 and 8 PM. Nicole asked how many people were in my party, and I said two. She informed me that the only available times were 6:15 or 10:15. I selected 6:15. Nicole was courteous and professional throughout the entire conversation. She asked me for my name, phone number and email address to send a confirmation to. I gave her all of my information, and she kindly repeated everything back to me for correctness. I asked about parking, and she explained that the restaurant was located inside the Eden Roc Hotel and that valet was available outside. She also explained that the cost varied depending on if we were guests at the hotel and how long we planned on staying, which was a nice touch that I appreciated. She seemed very knowledgeable about the area and concept. I imagined that she had a smile on at all times as her voice was always cheerful. Nicole answered my questions about the location politely and patiently. She thanked me for calling and finished by wishing me a good afternoon. I received an email from Nubo soon afterward. I had a positive feeling and looked forward to dining at Nubo after making the reservation and receiving the follow-up email.
My guest and I arrived at the historic hotel Eden Roc at 4525 Collins Avenue in Miami Beach at roughly 6 PM. Nobu Miami is located inside. We were planning on valeting our car because of the busy location and because Nicole, the reservationist, suggested it. Unfortunately, the valet lot was, and the valet staff was no longer taking cars. Luckily for us, we found a public parking space nearby. The outside entry area was clean. The front door was opened for us by one of the hotel staff members.
We entered Nobu right on time for our reservation at 6:15. We were welcomed at the podium with smiles from the two hosts who initiated the greeting. The lobby and entry area was well lit and organized. The podium was well maintained and clutter free. I said that we had a reservation and host #2 asked for my name as she looked us up on the computer. The tone and demeanor from both of the hosts were welcoming and patient and never rushed. They both made direct eye contact with my guest and I. Host #1 happily escorted us to the table which was ideally located in the center of the room. We were able to see most of the restaurant; the open style kitchen and sushi bar, the main dining room, and bar area. The host pulled out the chair for my guest, and I was seated in a banquet. We were both seated and comfortable before she genuinely said, “please enjoy your evening.” She and the other hosts were seen throughout the evening seating other guests in the same professional manner. The entire host staff was all well groomed and appropriately dressed. I noticed them working together and with other staff members throughout our dinner, and a few times I saw host #2 monitoring tables with her iPad.
We sat down at approximately 6:17 PM. Our table was ideally located in the center of the room. We were able to see most of the restaurant; the open style kitchen and sushi bar, the main dining room, and bar area, which was starting to fill up. Our table was already nicely set with chopsticks, beautiful soy sauce container, and water glasses. At 6:19 PM Jose, our server, approached the table. He smiled and made eye contact with both my guest and me, as he greeted and welcomed us. He was well spoken, clear, friendly and polite. He asked if we would care for water, and we ordered still water. He offered us the drink menu and opened it up to show us the different selections inside. He pointed out the signature cocktails and wines by the glass and by the bottle. We explained that we’d be ordering a wine by the glass. He said he’d give us a minute to look over the list and our water would be on the way. Within 30 seconds after Jose left the table, another staff member came over and filled our water glasses with still water, which stayed full the entire evening. Jose returned to the table right away and said, “Gentlemen, can I answer anything for you regarding our featured wines by the glass?” My guest ordered the Ameztoi Rose, and I ordered the Squealing Sauvignon Blanc. Jose told us that we made excellent selections and that the wines would be right out. Our wines were professionally delivered and served from a clean tray by another staff member. Although he did not name the wines, he knew exactly who was getting which wine. He smiled and walked away. Jose returned within two minutes at roughly 6:28 with the dinner menus. After asking how we were enjoying our wine, he proceeded to present the menus to us. He demonstrated full knowledge of the entire menu by pointing out specific items. He asked if we had dined at Nobu before and we said no. He once again said, “welcome” and explain the concept of Nobu. He suggested sharing different items and said, “I can help create a platter of sushi, sashimi, and maki rolls if you’d like,” which was an excellent suggested. He let us look over the menu for a few moments but always stayed available and readily accessible. At 6:36 Jose returned to our table and asked if he could answer any questions for us. We declined, as we had already decided. We took Jose’s suggestion and decided to share several dishes.
For an appetizer, we ordered two maki rolls. The Nobu House Roll and The Spicy Scallop Roll. The Spicy Scallop Roll is made with fresh scallops and was tightly rolled. The Nobu House Roll was much larger and had a combination of tuna, salmon whitefish, crab, avocado, and tobiko. It was rich and delicious. We also enjoyed a bowl of freshly steamed edamame topped with just the perfect amount of salt. For an entree, I ordered The Pan Seared Scallops with Jalapeño Salsa, which was terrific. The three large scallops were cooked to perfection, still slightly moist in the center, and topped with not-so-spicy jalapeño salsa. There were a few types of fresh greens served in the middle. My dish was exceptional, and the presentation was elegant, but it could have been served with more vegetables or a starch. My guest ordered The Brick Oven Roasted Octopus with Miso Anticucho Sauce. This entree was incredible and memorable. The octopus was tender and seasoned just right. The anticucho sauce was full of flavor. The dish was finished with small roasted tomatoes, chives, and a grilled lime wedge. For dessert, we ordered The Black Forest. The dish was an incredible mix of chocolate sponge cake, chocolate pate, cheesecake, and cherry ice cream. It was served with drizzled cherry sauce. It was an exquisite end to a wonderful dinner. Within one minute after Jose left our table, another support staff member brought over two share plates. At approximately 6:47 our maki rolls were served by another staff member who pointed out the items by name and asked us if we needed anything. Within one minute Jose stopped by to ask if we were enjoying our appetizers and we said yes. At this time, we noticed Jose’s section was getting full. He had at least two other two-top tables next to use and a large table with about nine adults. He was giving the same excellent service to the other guests by suggestion items, creating platters, and open bottles of wine. We enjoyed our maki rolls while watching the restaurant fill up. At 7:02 PM our appetizer and share plates were cleared by Jose, and new share plates were brought over by a support staff member. At 7:10 the scallops were delivered which we enjoyed together, followed by the octopus. Each time something was delivered, it was always announced by name, and Jose always stopped by our table to make sure we were enjoying each item. At about 7:25 we asked Jose to add an order of edamame to our order, and it was delivered quickly. At 7:35 our table was completely cleared and cleaned by a support staff member. At about the same time, the lights in the restaurant dimmed slightly as the entire restaurant became full.
I visited the restroom at 7:36 PM. The restrooms were located at the front of the restaurant so I was able to observe the entire staff working throughout the restaurant and the host staff acknowledged me as I passed by. There were two uni-sex bathrooms, I chose the one to the left. The restroom was nicely decorated, clean, well stocked, odor free, and with an empty trash can. When I returned to the table, I noticed my napkin had been refolded for me, which was a nice touch. Jose stopped by with dessert menus at 7:42 and let us know he would make suggestions if we wanted. He returned at 7:47 and asked if we had any questions. We decided on The Black Forest dessert. Jose offered hot beverages, and I order The Nobu Shiso tea. The tea was delivered at 7:50 and the dessert dish was served at 7:55 by Jose. He stopped by again a few minuted later to check on us, we were doing great. Once the dessert plate was cleared at 8:04, Jose stopped again to ask if we needed anything else, we said we were great and would take the check, which he brought to us right away. We paid for dinner with a credit card at 8:08. Jose thanked us sincerely with eye contact. He enhanced our dining experience. At about 8:00 PM as we were finishing our dessert, we asked one of the servers if we could speak to a manager about making a future reservation for a large party, he politely said, “absolutely, I will have someone come right over.” We noticed a few people who may have been the floor managers during our visit working hard alongside the entire staff, but since a manager never visited our table, we asked to speak to one. Alessa came to the table immediately and politely introduced herself to my guest and I. We told her we were planning a 50th birthday party for 20-25 people in about two weeks and wanted to ask a few questions. Alessa was upbeat and very friendly. She explained that they had unique menu options for large parties and would be happy to get my contact information to follow up with me with more ideas. I also asked if there was a private area for large parties. Alisa said they were setting up for a large group in a private area at that time and showed it to me. She took my business card and said she would contact me on Monday. At the time of this writing I just received a well-crafted, informative email from her. She was professional and enthusiastically answered all of my questions.
My guest and I visited the bar after dinner. At approximately 8:15 we walked over to the bar area. We were immediately greeted with smiles from the two bartenders working, who made eye contact with us both. The whole bar was open, so we found seats right in the middle. Liamys greeted us by saying, “welcome gentlemen.” We said hello as we got comfortably seated. He enthusiastically showed us one of the drink menus and pointed out the cocktails, sake, and wine. He was confident, knowledgeable, and helpful with the menu. I said that I was interested in a cocktail made with sake as I looked over the menu and he pointed out and suggested The Matsuhisa Martini which was made with sake, vodka, and sliced cucumber, which I ordered. My guest ordered the Pina Martini which is made with vodka, creme, pineapple juice, fresh lime, and a sun-dried pineapple wheel.
As Liamys started making our drinks, bartender #2 was close by. Even though we didn’t order from her, she jumped in to help him with a few of the ingredients and garnishes. They worked well together. The pour sizes for both cocktails were consistent, and both were served in chilled clean martini glasses. Different shakers were used for our drinks and washed right away. An ice scoop was used. Liamys asked if we were dining at the bar, but we explained that we had already eaten. He was polite and asked how our dinner was, and we said great. We took time to relax and enjoy the wonderful drinks and observed the bar area. Everything was clean, organized, and well maintained. The lighting and music levels were appropriate, and a sports channel was playing on large flat-screen televisions. We arrived at the bar in between dinner turns. The bar stayed empty most of our visit but started to fill up before we departed. Both bartenders stayed busy cleaning the bar top and making conversation with us. We felt welcome by both of them. They were friendly, and their personalities enhanced our experience. As we finished our drinks, Liamys asked if we’d care for another cocktail. We declined by saying, “no thank you.” He then rang up on drinks on the POS system and presented the check in a clean, branded folder. He explained to us that an 18% service charge was already included. The bill was $41.16, and I paid with $60 cash. He immediately went back to the register and returned the correct change with an itemized receipt. Both bartenders smiled and thanked us as we departed, even though the bar area was starting to fill up. They were both just as attentive, friendly, and professional with all of the guests as they were with us.
Nobu Miami is located in a lovely historic Miami Beach hotel. The building was busy with several events that afternoon. We noticed a large convention group and a wedding, along with many other people. The entire building was pristinely maintained. The sidewalks were clean, the lighting was appropriate, and the glass doors and windows were free of streaks or spots. The inside of the restaurant was also beautifully decorated and maintained. The entryway was clean and inviting. The podium was organized and free of debris. The menus had clean, crisp pages and were branded with the Nobu logo. The tables, floors, walls were all clean and free of cracks or stains. The napkins were clean with no holes, and the silverware was polished. The lighting was appropriate with no visible burned out bulbs. We noticed the lighting dim at about 7:30 PM, which was a perfect transition to evening. The temperature was comfortable, and the music was relaxing. The restroom was clean and stocked. The ambiance was calm and romantic with just enough Miami flair.