Brunch, usually grandiloquent at most beachside hotels, is peaceful at Nobu. There's no DJ, no pool party, and no reason to pull out those uncomfortable six-inch heels.
The restaurant itself is massive, sporting 350 seats, cocoa-colored wood tables, and large chandeliers. Despite its size, Nobu maintains an intimate and cozy feel, especially on a Sunday afternoon. Its brunch, which launched in May, attracts a range of diners, from hungry hotel guests, neighboring locals, and those on business. There's a balance between young and older guests, unlike many of its South Beach brunch counterparts.
On a recent visit to brunch (New Times was invited for a taste), dim lights and a lavish spread of sushi, sashimi, crudo, and other Nobu specialties welcomed guests inside. Unlike its atmosphere during a weekday evening, the ambiance was mellow, a pleasant surprise for anyone who frequents other Miami Beach brunches. The meal to follow doesn't come cheap, though, ranging from $95 to upward of $300 depending upon drink inclusions. The base price, however, includes all small bites and a choice of entrée.
As you wait to be greeted by your waiter or waitress, Nobu encourages brunchgoers to get an early start at the sushi and sashimi bar before a hodgepodge of others bites soon follows. The buffet spread features plates such as tuna tataki, heirloom tomato ceviche, oysters with Nobu salsas, and a selection of Nobu-style salads.
While you nibble, various carts gradually visit your table. Similar to the carts at South Beach eatery Sarsaparilla Club's dim sum brunch, these "yamucha carts," as Nobu calls them, offer bites such as miso waffles, panko chicken with brown butter maple tosazu, and egg "bao" with crab and shiso béarnaise.
While the carts circle, consider one of five dishes as your main course. Make note that most of them are hearty, following more of a lunch vibe than breakfast or brunch. Wagyu, Miami Smokers bacon, and egg compose a toban — a warm porridge-like dish served in a stone pot. There's also shrimp with spicy garlic or wasabi pepper; the fresh crustacean is marinated and drizzled in a light sweet-and-spicy sauce. For vegetarians, there's a roasted cauliflower with jalapeño salsa dish.
Pair your entrée with one of the restaurant's signature brunch cocktails, like a lavender cosmo with orange liqueur and raspberry lavender lemon, or a Japanese bloody mary fused with tomato, ginger, and wasabi.
As the meal winds down, make one last trip, this time to the dessert bar. Though it's small, it offers a range of handcrafted chocolate and berry-infused bites, such as mousses, macarons, and puddings.
Brunch runs Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit noburestaurants.com.
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