How Much You Should Expect To Spend When Dining At Nobu

Higher quality sushi dictates a higher price — or, does it? And when does a price tag remain reasonable for your favorite rolls? Luxury sushi restaurant chain Nobu pushes the boundary and invites sushi fans along for the gourmet ride — but is it worth it?

The first Nobu location was opened in Tribeca, Manhattan in 1994 in partnership with Robert de Niro, reports CNN. (Yes, really.) Since its initial launch, Nobu has continued its celebrity status and, by extension, its high-end offerings with a price tag to match. The sushi chain infamously became the target of conservationist criticism during the mid-2000s for refusing to remove the endangered delicacy bluefin tuna from its menus. But, the bad press hasn't stopped Nobu from emerging as the haunt of such A-list celebrities as Bradley Cooper, Miley Cyrus, Leonardo DiCaprio, and the Kardashians, via The Travel.

Today, at Nobu's first-ever New York Downtown location, offerings boast a much higher price than most other sushi joints in the city — by stark contrast, Many Brooklyn bodegas offer a six-piece California hand roll for under $10. Meanwhile, on the low end, a piece of Tamago sushi at Nobu Downtown runs for $5, but on the high end, a single piece of Toro will rock sushi fans for $17. Cocktails run around $22, and wine is $19-$35 per glass — but, admittedly, the menu features reserve selections from esteemed regions such as Bordeaux and Sonoma County, for sushi sommeliers.

Get ready to indulge ... and spend

The menu at Nobu's Tokyo location offers a similar selection but with a much different layout. Entrees are sold by the meal (lunch or dinner) as opposed to purchasing individual hand rolls of sashimi or nigiri. The average entree ranges from 3200 yen for lunch or up to 13500 yen for dinner — the equivalent of about $24-$100 U.S. dollars, respectively. But, entrees also come with miso soup as rice as accouterments (plus salad, for lunch).

The question remains: Is it worth it? According to a Nobu spokesperson, via CNBC, the average check at Nobu Downtown runs about $135 per person. Chef Nobu, head chef and namesake of the restaurant chain, says higher price equals higher quality ingredients, per the news outlet, which can be particularly important for a restaurant focusing on a dish like sushi. But, at Nobu, the rice is sweetened with monk fruit and imported from Japan, and the wasabi (also imported) is freshly ground on a grater made from shark skin.

Chain-style operations provide both benefits and drawbacks to the dining experience, depending on patrons' personal preferences. As a chain, Nobu offers fairly consistent meals from location to location, whether you're in Jeddah or Istanbul. However, per Eater, this might be considered by some sushi fans as abdicating the authenticity of sushi dining. 

Diners will have to decide for themselves whether the hefty price fits the meal.