Dine While Watching Professional Tennis
One of the biggest events in the desert is the annual BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. My husband Bill and I attended a night match last Friday evening, and we chose to try one of the three new pop-up restaurants overlooking the new Stadium 2 facility. In fact, Stadium 2 is the only Tennis Stadium in the world where you can watch professional tennis while experiencing ‘foodie dining.'
We chose Nobu as I was always a big fan of Nobu’s original restaurant in Los Angeles, Matsuhisa, which was always outstanding and one of my favorites. This concept is a little different for the desert as it’s essentially a pop-up restaurant in that it’s temporary and will only be open during the tennis tournament.
Jam Packed Upon Arrival
We arrived at 6 PM, and Nobu was jam-packed with a line out the door. Nobu doesn't accept reservations at this special pop-up location. It’s first come first served and for our visit they had a two-hour wait both for tables and the popular sushi bar.
They did have several seats available along the window overlooking the new smaller “center court” and we took those even though they were down a long hallway leading to a service exit. Not the greatest location but the view of the court and the players were great.
Service left a lot to be desired as they were just slammed. The wait staff was very knowledgeable about the menu and very personable so I have to think that if the place wasn’t so crazy busy it would have been a different experience service-wise.
The Nobu Food Experience
We started off with a California Roll and a Bigeye Tuna hand roll. Neither one was anything that I’d order there again. Not that it was bad; it just wasn’t anything special or even above par considering the high price tag. We did enjoy a couple of Nobu Tacos made with tuna that were very tasty, one bite wonders. We’d have those again.
Our waiter suggested we try the Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno and the Fluke Sashimi with Dried Red Miso and Yazu Sauce. These items are clearly the stars of the menu. The fish was exquisite, and the sauces were delicate and flavorful, enhancing the fish and not over-powering it.
We had Columbian ATP tennis player Alejandro Falla and his wife seated on our left, and they were very interesting to talk to as we all enjoyed our meals. We also met another couple seated on our right that it turns out has been on our web site for a long time to keep up with the desert real estate scene.
Overall I'd say that Nobu at Indian Wells Tennis Garden was a fun experience, and the Indian Wells Tennis Garden setting is highly recommended. That said; Sushi and wine for two was about $400 without the gratuity! Nobu is open February 28th to March 16th and you must have a tennis admission ticket for entry to the restaurant.
Photos courtesy Nobu® and Watkins Landmark Construction®