The award-winning, Peruvian-Japanese restaurant chef and co-founder Nobu Matsuhisa injected into the dining lexicon nearly 30 years ago is opening its first location in the nation’s capital on Tuesday, September 12.
“It’s time for us to join the family here,” general manager George Lipson tells Eater about bringing Nobu’s signature brand of cooking, service, and style to Washington D.C.
The opening menu includes classic dishes ranging from meticulously assembled sushi rolls to black cod marinated in miso for three days. “This is what Nobu is about: simplicity,” director of operations Leong Loh says. “If someone is coming in and expecting sparks flying — that’s not what we do.” Fans of Peruvian cuisine can expect to find ceviches, anticucho dishes flavored with multiple pepper sauces (aji amarillo and aji panca figure prominently), and a tiradito featuring thinly sliced fluke accented with cilantro, spicy rocoto sauce, citrusy yuzu, and soy salt. (Stay tuned for additional intel about the food.)
Lipson is joined at the new addition to the West End (2525 M Street NW) by executive chef Eudy Camilo Cruz, executive sushi chef Sung Cho, and bar manager Thuy Hong. Cruz worked at Nobu 57 in New York City for over a decade, and will oversee the dozens of chefs assigned to work in the open kitchen, sushi bar, and prep areas that comprise the kitchen here.
Lipson says the restaurant can accommodate around 220 people inside; room for 30 more will be added when an exterior patio is completed. He notes that omakase-style tastings will not be a part of the initial roll out. Lunch service is expected to follow in the coming months as well.
Happy hour specials are also under consideration. For now, Hong plans to entice patrons with Kikori Japanese rice whiskey — “It’s really light, almost like a shochu,” she says — which will be barrel-aged at the restaurant for at least a month, select Japanese beers, and a special “25th and M” cocktail featuring Casamigos tequila, as well as a whiskey drink including hand-carved ice, and a scorched orange peel.
The restaurant is scheduled to begin taking reservations (202-871-6565; noburestaurants.com) at 10 a.m.
Nobu DC is projected to operate from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday to start. Residents of 2501 M Street are being offered exclusive take-out options as well as reservations for dining in.