Nobu Hiro

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Location
2939 Spafford Street #105
(take Fifth Street east past the Police Station
in the Fifth Street Plaza shopping center with Jade Garden)
Hours
Temporarily Closed for "technical difficulties"
Mon Closed
Tue-Sun lunch 11:00AM-2:30PM, dinner 4:30PM-9:00PM
Phone
(530) 753-2200
Menus
Main menu
Buffet Menu.JPG

Nobu Hiro offers a lunchtime sushi buffet from 11am to 2:30pm; Monday-Thursday it's $10.99 (plus tax), Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays it's $11.99 (plus tax). Their dinner buffet is $15.99 (???? from 4:30pm-5:30pm).

Nobu has drastically improved their selection (now having similar variety to Fuji's). For the dinner buffet they added fried oysters, salmon teriyaki, tempura, gyoza, several hand rolls (including unagi and spicy salmon), fried bananas, smoked salmon nigiri, Hawaii roll, red rose roll, vegetable tempura roll, Sacramento King's roll, and rainbow roll, along with all their old favorites. In addition you may now order Sashimi (unlimited order, tuna, salmon, albacore, mackerel or yellow tail).

During lunch they serve tempura, chicken katsu, edamame and noodles at a table in the back corner, if you get tired of eating only sushi. They also have several specialty sushi rolls with cooked tempura batter in them. Often the food is missing, so you may need to ask your waiter to bring out more.

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Many people say that it is the freshest sushi buffet in Davis. The main attraction, which contributes to the perceived freshness, is that you order from their buffet menu directly to the sushi chef (or to the waitress if you are at a table). When it's busy, they'll also come around with plates of sushi like a dim sum place. A common theme of complaints over the years of reviews is related to service, which is sometimes slow or inaccurate or even outright rude. One waitress has been dubbed the "Sushi Nazi," a name given in reference to the "[wiki]Soup Nazi" from an episode of [wiki]Seinfeld.

Nobu Hiro was originally named Sushi Nobu, and many people still call it by this name. They had to rename shortly after opening due to a lawsuit from a restaurant of the same name in New York. Their advertisement has the word sushi over "Nobu", but both their menu and business card clearly state their name as being "NOBU HIRO Japanese Restaurant". Their advertisements still (as of 2005-09-30) say "Sushi Nobu" though (Is this still true?). Visa and Mastercard accepted.

Nobu Hiro amusements

Find the spelling mistakes on the menu: "crzay monkey roll", "Califonia roll", ...

Fish labeling exposé

Nobu Hiro was featured on channel 3's [WWW]expose on sushi restaurants who do not serve the species of fish they advertise. Nobu's snapper nigiri was genetically analyzed to be tilapia, a closely related fish that is at a minimum one sixth the price of red snapper. Red snapper is actually over fished, and some might argue that restaurants should not be serving this item anyway, due to the ecological consequences. However, if you want to avoid this trickery at a buffet you are out of luck, Fuji Chef was also caught doing the same. In fact, out of the eight sushi restaurants tested in Sacramento and Davis, Mikuni was the only one that actually gave red snapper.

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2011-01-15 23:06:02   The great sushi buffet I have never had, the sushi and sashimi are very delicious , the price is cheap for the all you can eat sushi in this area, definitely going back . —Feng


2011-01-30 16:09:28   I just went there for my first time today after reading the reviews on Yelp. We decided to go for the all-you-can-eat lunch. I expected terrible service, since that is what the reviews said, but honestly it wasn't too bad. They were full but one waitress was extremely nice and helpful. The other, the one I can only assume is nicknaed "sushi nazi" wasn't all that unbearable. Yeah she looks at you like you are a pile of steamy dog poo, but she took our orders and gave us our food. Can't really ask for more. The sushi was FANTASTIC! 10 times better than Fuji, plus it was fresh. The egg rolls were freshly made (took a little longer to get out than the sushi, but so worth it). And I can honestly say that they were the best egg rolls I have ever eaten, I swear. I am not really brave when it comes to sushi, so I can't really comment on alot of the rolls, but my date ordered pretty much everything lol. The only one he didn't like was the "911 roll" which he said tasted like "mexican food". But overall, best place in Davis for sushi. —TaylorSams


2011-02-01 16:38:30   Reading some of these reviews calling the fish here fresh makes me seriously question whether these people have ever had fresh fish in their lives. This stuff is and tastes frozen. Even the rice was terrible. How do you mess up rice? Then you go and roll sushi with it??? Even the produce had all the signs of having sat around for a LONG time. I guess some folks would be happy with literally anything. Avoid this restaurant at all costs if you have any self respect. Seriously, for a whole host of reasons I don't want to bore anyone with: AVOID THIS PLACE! That anyone would dare to call this the "best" anything (even in a little city like this) pains me to no end.

Worst restaurant in Davis. Hands down! —Kevin23


2011-02-26 00:50:13   I went to sushi nobu yesterday , the serves was not that bad, the waitress brought everything to my table so I don' t even to stand up for once like other place have to pick up everything by yourself, the sushi was pretty good, the salmon was the best. I got regular dinning serves for a buffet price, I feel great, I don' t understand why somebody said such bad words to a person or restaurant in the review , they are just normal people like others. —Silly33


2011-03-01 18:39:22   My family owns a chain of sushi restaurants so I can easily tell the difference between good and bad quality fish. And trust me on this, the kind of sushi served here is one of the worst quality of sushi I've ever had. Perhaps it's because I went there for dinner buffet on a Monday night, but I don't think that justifies for the WalMart quality sushi they serve. If you are on a tight budget, Davis sushi buffet is your best option. If money is not an issue, go to Zen Toro. —thewiseone


2011-03-07 01:07:34   I came here every weekend since they opened in 2004, I am the regular here, everybody knows me , treat me like families , I like their sushi a lot, fish always good . I always like to sit at sushi bar and enjoy talk to the sushi man, they were always nice to me, this my best sushi place in Davis so far. —Tonyshlba


2011-03-27 22:33:19   The first time i tried this place for lunch buffet it wasn't too bad. The service was mediocre and the food was average buffet. The 2nd time, the fish just didn't taste good and I was hesitant to eat more trying to avoid an upset stomach but it was too late... not going to recommend this place —C.Ling


2011-04-01 15:12:02   Good place. I have liked everything I have had. The only real complaint I have is the lack of selection for the buffet compared to some other places in town. —SeanPatch


2011-04-27 03:02:12   Ate here with my family who were visiting. Overall, we thought that the sashimi/nigiri was much fresher compared to other places in town - as stated in the description. Much better than Davis Sushi Buffet. The menu's not as large as that of the other places in town, but covers all the necessary bases - good mix of raw/not-raw and various rolls.

Unfortunately, I was somewhat less than thrilled by some of their other rolls. The California roll tasted "right" but the rice wasn't very sticky - it felt a bit too watery for my liking, but this could be a one-time thing. In addition, their fried items tended to use more or less the same batter - the katsu, the tempura, and the donut ALL used the same kind of batter, but your mileage may vary on that one. Another con was the rather "dirty" (according to my mother) condiment dishes off to the back of the restaurant.

If you plan to eat lots of raw fish, this is the place for you. If you like eating other things as well, you may want to consider the ones downtown.


2011-05-05 03:46:43   Lunch buffet is off the hook!! The Alaska Roll is so good!! Actually... pretty much everything there is really good. Go! —alissaw995


2011-06-23 17:10:43   HORRIBLE SERVICE. Perhaps the worst in Davis - read on for details. I went here with a friend around 7pm on a weekday last month for the dinner buffet. There were maybe 5 or 6 people aside from us, and a couple left soon after our arrival. We were seated at the leftmost end of the counter, and we started ordering. We quickly realized that our chef could not remember more than 2 or 3 items at the same time - whenever we ordered more, he consistently failed to provide us with a roll here, or a plate of sashimi there. Frustration mounted as he took and fulfilled others' orders above ours, despite the fact that we reminded him several times that he still needed to give us our food. Out of the 2 hours that we sat there putting up with their shit-quality service, a good 50 minutes were spent waiting for food. Ridiculous. And speaking of ridiculous things, when a bug crawled across our menu, the waitress (the Nazi one, assuming from her terrible attitude) handed us a piece of paper towel and basically told us to take care of it. So I had to pick it up, squish it, and go throw it away in the bathroom trashcan. Obviously, I will never be coming back here, unless they change the owner (again) to somebody who cares about whether or not his customers are able to eat in his restaurant. —miniaggie


2011-08-05 08:24:17   The food was tasty, but I got a very distinct impression that they intend to save money on the lunch buffet by starving their patrons. It took a long time to get what we ordered at our table and the staff did not visit our table very often. I did not leave hungry but I only had an hour for lunch so I ate a lot less than the last time I was here. Our waitress was nice, I think the nazi is gone. UPDATE: I went her again april 2012 and I me and my friend were one of two tables in the whole restaurant, service was very slow, we had to keep flagging down our server. The sushi nazi was rude but at least she would come to your table. Be prepared to do a lot of waving if you go here for lunch. —DagonJones


2011-08-16 16:39:18   The customer service is excellent here. :D The food is yummy. And I will definitely come back here. —PaulV


2011-10-09 18:18:32   I've been twice recently. Once for lunch once for dinner. Worst service ever. Both times I spent a significant amount of time waiting for my orders to arrive. I had to reorder dishes multiple times as they would frequently forget it. Waters were never refilled without a reminder. Also, during my lunch buffet, one of the waitresses were smirking/laughing at me while I ordered my food. What the fuck is up with that? —WeiChun


2011-10-25 19:03:41   Best sushi buffet in Davis! Cheaper than Fuji and you don't have to stand on the sidewalk for an hour! Food is made as you ask for it—it doesn't get fresher than that. They have a fantastic selection too—not just the "cheap stuff!" Good service—chefs are very friendly and funny at times. —toriac


2011-12-16 16:49:01   food not bad, SERVICE IS HORRIBLE! never ever going back there rather spend the extra money some place else and get good food and service. —JeffA


2012-01-14 19:18:05   I thought overall it was decent considering the price and portion size, however the quality of their sashimi is highly questionable. The salmon was pretty slimy and the tuna had little to no color, it was all probably previously frozen...I will probably go again but avoid the raw selection, especially after reading that they were serving raw tilapia instead of red snapper, totally gross. Makes me wonder what else they offer up as something it's not. Their donut and tempura banana is pretty good, but I will say the banana needs some chocolate sauce or something to pep it up. —sfaul


2012-02-26 09:11:40   To the above poster, sfaul, raw fish must be frozen in order to kill the parasites, so you best hope "it was all probably previously frozen." Now with the review: The sashimi is actually quite fresh though the pieces are small. The rolls are a little bland but still enjoyable. Service is actually quite good. The sushi chefs are very attentive to those sitting at the bar and food comes out relatively fast considering there are only two chefs most of the time. For the price this place gets 4 stars. —JoshuaW


2012-02-26 19:23:26   As someone who does not like sushi AT ALL, I was not thrilled to come here for dinner one night with my boyfriend. Boy was I wrong, because by the end of the night I LOVED sushi! The food is that good here. —ElizabethWood


2012-03-18 19:10:12   I have eaten here many times over the years with family and friends. In my opinion, it's the best sushi buffet in Davis — they have the most nigiri and the freshest nigiri sushi. Yes, the service is a little strange sometimes, but I've gotten used to it and it's really not that bad. A few people here say that the fish is not fresh; frankly I don't know what they're talking about. All I can say is, it's all too easy to criticize. —GregKuperberg


2012-03-26 21:45:27   Good sushi buffet. Went here with the boyfriend back in October. We both didn't know which rolls we wanted and the chefs were so friendly and helpful! They just started handing us different kinds of rolls and all of them were great, except for one that had salmon skin on the outside (I'm just not a big salmon fan though). Very good and reasonably priced, we're planning on going there again one day :) As for the waitress, well, we didn't really have to deal with her because we sat at the counter, but we could tell she could be stand-offish to put it politely. Definitely still worth going though! —CoriV


2012-04-22 23:07:06   What happened to you, sushi Nobu (or now Nobu Hiro)??!!

This was my favorite sushi buffet around town when I was a student at Davis a few years back. So when we came back for Picnic Day yesterday, it only makes sense to hit up our favorite restaurants and relive the good old days, right? NOT!

Based on past experiences, I would have easily given this place 4-5 stars. But after the HORRIBLE SERVICE and MAJOR DROP in sushi quality we experienced last night, I am giving them 1 star only because I can't give 0 or negative stars!

Our group of 9 were seated at the corner next to the fried-stuff-self-serve table. Immediately we noticed that there were only 2 sushi chefs, 1 waitress, and 1 (very young) girl pouring water and passing out plates for Picnic day dinner shift (what a joke!). The waitress (older woman with her glasses) seemed grumpy and annoyed from the beginning. 3 people from our group ordered dinner boxes, 6 of us wanted the dinner buffet ($15.99 + tax). Cheap for a Saturday night sushi buffet you think? Aha, but you will see why in a few minutes.

First round, we asked for a few orders of nigiri, and some rolls. The waitress didn't bother writing anything down but just said "that's it?". We waited for a long time for food, but half of our order never came because she FORGOT. The few things that came were very small. the fish on the nigiri was so thin and tiny it can't even cover the chunk of rice it was threw on top of. The 'rolls' were only 4 unevenly cut pieces consists of mostly rice. We were hungry, so we ate them anyway. After that, she NEVER came back to our table. We sat there waiting and waiting, seeing the other girl bringing plates after plates of food to the tables on the other side of the restaurant while our half of the room got ZERO attention. After 20 minutes of down time, We finally flagged the older woman down trying to order 1 of each row on the menu (it's a little over 20 rolls), hoping that whatever she remembers to bring will be enough to feed the 6 of us. When we did that, it pissed her off and she said "too many people now, we don't order, it will take forever. Just bring out rolls and you take what you want ok?!" Yea ok, you wanna do it dim sum style? That's ok, but why is it that 2 minutes after you said that we see the younger girl taking orders for another table? WTF?

Another 10 minutes of waiting, then older woman came and DUMPED a few random "rolls" at our table. We see no hope with this woman, so we tried to get some service from the younger girl since she seemed to be friendlier with the other side of the room. it's funny because now both of them avoid our table at all cost, like we're poisonous. They would seek alternate route to get back to the chefs and not walk by our table once. Plates of food would come out from the chefs at the bar, and the younger girl will bring them directly to the other side of the room. We are furious by now, and the 3 people in our group who had dinner boxes were long done just sitting there and waiting for us. Finally, the younger girl had to bring some soda to the next table, and even though she had her back towards us, we got her attention. She turned around, dropped her smile, and made a noise with her nose. We order a few hand rolls, hoping the rice would get us full. she just nodded and walked away.

Another 15 minutes of waiting. Our hand rolls NEVER came. Older woman came with a few random rolls on tray and said "you want sushi?" We took whatever is on there and ate in silence, trying not to leave hungry.

Oh yea, there is a 15% tip automatically added to your bill if you came in a group of 5 or more. The dinner box crew paid some tips because they at least got what they ordered. But no, the buffet crew refused to pay tip after being TREATED LIKE CRAP and still feeling HUNGRY after a "BUFFET". The buffet crew calculated the amount on our own(which is $15.99 + tax each), placed exact change on the table and headed for the door. The older women CHASED US DOWN and yelled "EXCUSE ME! YOU HAVE TO PAY!!!" It's on the table you crazy rude woman, if you hate your job so much you should just quit. Enjoy your non-existing tip compensating the non-existing service we received. Oh by the way, I'm Cantonese too and I understood every word you said.

My Picnic Day was awesome except this terrible dining experience. Needless to say, I will never return and will tell everyone I know not to come here again unless they change ownership. —WanyiLiang


2012-04-25 10:14:14   My girlfriend swears that this is the best sushi buffet in town, so I took some out-of-town friends to lunch here on the day after Picnic Day. Unfortunately, we had a horrible experience and I doubt I'll ever return.

The wait to get a table was long, but I expected that since it was Picnic Day weekend. However, I did not expect that we would sit at the table without service for over 20 minutes once inside. There was only one waitress in the room and all the tables were crowded, so I understood that service would be slow. But this was ridiculous. When she took orders from our table, she didn't write it down, so when she returned she had only brought half of our order. And to make matters worse, she did not return to our table for another 20 minutes.

Even more disappointing than the service was the food. During our first round of sushi, the rolls were loose and would fall apart as soon as they were touched by a chopstick. The sashimi was okay, but the portions they gave were extremely small. Maybe I'm used to Mikuni and Davis Sushi Buffet where a full size roll is given when ordered, but here they only gave half-sized rolls, which was definitely not enough to feed our table during our 20 minute waits. The sushi was a little better on our second round, but the quality was on-par, if not below, Davis Sushi Buffet. Disappointing, since I've heard that Sushi Nobu is distinguished from the other buffets because of their quality. If not for the side table that had gyoza, egg rolls, and edamame, I'm sure we would have starved. We eventually left because we couldn't stand sitting there anymore, even though we were still hungry and had not gotten our money's worth for a sushi buffet.

I know that Picnic Day weekend is not the best time to try a restaurant, so I might return someday in the future to give them a second try. But for now, I'm just extremely disappointed with my Sushi Nobu experience. —AlexHirsch


2012-10-15 23:25:41   I used to go to Sushi Nobu fairly often, and it was usually all right, especially if you came alone or with one friend and sat right at the bar. But there were a few times that really stood out, and not in a good way. Once, we waited half an hour to get a table when there was only one other couple in the restaurant, and when we finally sat down, we had to wait another twenty minutes before we got fed up and asked the waitress to get us water and take our order. She took our orders, then proceeded to bring back completely different rolls than what we had asked for. While looking around we noticed the couple in the corner (same couple who had been there before us) was sitting there looking pissed off with unopened chopsticks and empty glasses of water. After a while longer, they got up and left. I don't even think they had their order taken.
The bad service happened fairly often, but the sushi was okay, and fairly inexpensive for Davis, so we all shrugged it off.

But the worst was when three friend and I all came down with violent food poisoning after a lunch at Sushi Nobu. We each spent 12 hours vomiting every half hour and couldn't keep anything besides water and chicken broth for about three days. We stopped eating there after that. —timcampi



2012-11-08 16:09:43   I've only ever sat at the bar, but I believe the comments regarding poor service to the tables. Luckily the bar avoids that problem. I have never had a problem in any of my 10+ visits. (What can I say? I love sushi!) The rolls look shiny and fresh, and are consistently delicious! In my opinion, Nobu Hiro has the best rolls out of any of Davis's sushi buffets have to offer. Sometimes their sashimi can be a little skimpy, but is always great. If you ask for doughnuts or fried bananas, it may take a few minutes for them to get to you — they are fried right then and there.
Definitely my first choice in sushi buffets in Davis. —SeanOtt


2012-12-01 14:22:19   I was not happy with their buffet. The nigiri sushi and Sashimi were extremely small, as if they're giving me a teaser instead of the real thing. If you've eaten good sushi, this would be an immediate turn off. Gyoza came fried which wasn't indicated on the menu. Shrimp tempura wasn't golden brown and while it tasted fine, it looked undercooked. No workers there were Japanese, which made the dining experience less authentic. —TetsutoYabuki


2013-02-17 19:55:46   OK, I agree the main waitress can be inaccurate in her orders and forget stuff and brusque but she is actually pretty nice. If you're eating all you can eat, just be cheerful and eat whatever she brings- you never know if it might be better than what you were going to order. The prices end up being VASTLY lower than Mikuni, much more small town feel and quieter. The miso soup is vegetarian and soup and salad come with every dinner. Much fresher fish than sushi. We love this food. —JaneBF


2013-03-08 01:08:04   WORST PLACE EVER! DO NOT GO HERE FOR ANYTHING. WORST EXPERIENCE 0.5/10 —sushilover92


2013-03-12 16:51:09   Ate here for lunch today and it was awful. There was one sushi chef and one waiter which of course made service painfully slow, even though there were only about 10 people in the entire restaurant (our table made up 6 of those people). I can forgive that, but what I can't forgive were the tiny portions of sashimi we were served (literally half to 1/3 the size of a normal size cut, I was shocked). It was probably for the best though since the color was off on the tuna and there was a slight fishy taste that was rather stomach turning. The rice was bad too, it wasn't sushi grade, it was overcooked, and it was bland- it had basically none of that tasty sushi rice seasoning. I've loved this restaurant in the past, but it's changed hands so many times, it's not what it once was at all. I was served tiny amounts of poorly prepared food with questionable freshness. I felt ripped off today, shelling out $16.20 for "all you can eat sushi" and a mandatory tip because of our party's size. Guaranteed, I won't be back. —xochiotomi


2013-05-30 12:41:07   This is by far my favorite sushi place. When I first started coming here, I was not impressed with their service. However, I've been coming consistently for over a year now, and the main chef even hands me my favorite dish (a custom dragon hand roll) before I can even ask for it. They are super nice to me now and ask how school is going, things with friends, etc. I will be going back again tonight for yet another trip. —ChristineHaas


2013-09-28 17:49:50   GARBAGE!!! After not coming here for 7 years (for a reason), we decided to give them another try. We came to Nobu today for their lunch buffet. Bad idea, absolutely everything we ate was of poor quality, tasted tired, not fresh, and even I can make better rice. Even my children who love sushi refused to eat this crap. I am puzzled as to how this place is still open after 10+ years. Our server matched the quality of the rotten food, she had the personality of a frog and the enthusiasm of a sloth. The last time we were here years ago for dinner, the food was only slightly better, but we were there near closing and they mopped all around us with some pungent smelling cleaning agent while we ate! Then they proceeded to sit down and eat their own Chinese food, which says it all. Perhaps if they ate the food they served they would realize how terrible it is. Even after Fuji's has slid down hill a lot in the last few years, the food here doesn't even compare. Anybody who thinks this is some great quality food must have never had sushi before, or typically eats from a cesspool. —carlislesingensmide


2013-12-01 22:14:29   Anyone know when they are going to reopen? They've had the "Closed due to technical difficulties" sign on their door for over a month. Just curious. —CalamityJanie


2014-04-02 11:42:43   My roommates and I went here when we lived at Greystone 4 years ago because it was the nearest sushi place. I can count on one hand the number of times we've gone there, with the last visit being 4 years ago. Here is why we never go there: The service is awful and our last visit resulted in food poisoning.

On the service, they took forever to seat us, forever to get food to us, and sometimes they would bring the wrong order. On one visit (second to last, perhaps), my friends and I (four of us total) sat waiting and ready to order for maybe 10+ minutes until the waitress came to take our order. She only took one of my friends' order then left. We were really confused as to why she didn't take the rest of our orders. While waiting for her to return, we noticed that she seated a group that was waiting several slots after us, took all their orders, AND got their food to them. At that, my friend who had her order taken got up and approached the server telling her to return and to take all of our orders. I was iffy about going to eat at Nobu again after that visit. When all my friends and I got food poisoning one by one in the 12 or so hours following dinner, that was the last straw and the last time we'd ever go there. Seriously, there are way better places to get sushi in Davis. —Catrina

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