At Nobu Malibu, Dream Time With the Famous and Almost Famous – The New York Times

Nobu Malibu may be part of a chain — a gigantic, high-end, international chain — but its pleasures aren’t exactly replicable.

The food is good, better than it needs to be considering the commercial power of the brand and the loyalty of its customer base, but the food is also nothing on its own. Without the charming, erudite server whispering conspiratorially to you that, you know what, the caviar white out really isn’t worth it. Without the celebrity spotting, without the clean cuts of fish, vivid and transparent in the sunlight, without the birds surfing the breeze at eye level and the ocean crashing below ledges of thirsty, flowering succulents.

The food is good, but it’s not the point. If you want a respectable piece of miso cod, you can go to a number of places, including, obviously, any Nobu location. But if you want the salt-spray and the vibes, you’ll have to go to Malibu.