Excerpt from The New York Times
NEW YORK, NY – Nobu has come a long way in the nearly 23 years since it opened in TriBeCa: The chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa’s innovative Japanese restaurant has become a global empire with more than 30 branches.
Now, prompted by a rent increase, the flagship is moving to the financial district, which is increasingly drawing marquee chefs. Like a number of other downtown projects, Nobu is being installed in a majestic commercial building, the former headquarters of AT&T.
Nobu Downtown is on two levels. A spacious lounge is set in the soaring neoclassical forest of Botticino marble columns in part of the lobby of the building, a landmark that was erected from 1912 to 1922. In the center is a large, circular bar, faced in backlit onyx, serving drinks, bar food and sushi, under black ribbons of wood meant to represent Japanese calligraphy. Upholstery is inspired by weavings from Japan as well as Peru, where Mr. Matsuhisa once lived and worked.
Downstairs, the 152-seat main dining room (about twice the size of the old restaurant and about the size of the dining room at Nobu57 in Midtown) has an undulating ceiling of pale wooden slats. An open kitchen takes up one end, with a sushi bar in front of it. The original Nobu is recalled with walls faced in dark river stones and several angular tree sculptures. Unlike the old place, this one has private dining areas.