Experience sublime Japanese cuisine at Nobu, the newest outpost of acclaimed master chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa. His innovative blend of classically styled Japanese cuisine incorporates fresh South African seafood and indigenous spices to create unique dishes such as toro tartar, rock shrimp and scallops in yuzu sauce and mochi ice cream. The restaurant is an inviting open space with a fantastic piece of contemporary art adorning the ceiling.
Upon entering Nobu, simple creative sushi and sashimi menus can be sampled over exclusive Hokusetsu sake, a Japanese beer or a unique shochu-based cocktail in the sake-sushi bar lounge. A metal fan-like staircase leads to the 104-cover main dining area and sushi counter, framed by a textured, translucent origami light fixture crawling along the ceiling throughout. Here, guests can dine on broiled black cod with miso, baby abalone in a light garlic sauce, toro taban yaki and fresh yellowtail sashimi with Japapeño.
Nobu, the world's most recognized Japanese restaurant known for its innovative new style Japanese cuisine, started as a business partnership in 1994 between chef Nobu Matsuhisa and his partners actor Robert De Niro, producer Meir Teper, restaurateur Drew Nieporent and managing partner Richie Notar. Nobu draws upon his classical training at sushi bars in Tokyo and his life abroad in Peru, Argentina, and around the world to create a whole new trend in Japanese cuisine.
With the original restaurant in New York, the Nobu brand is now an empire that spans across the globe, with similarly themed restaurants in Aspen, Athens, Beverley Hills, Dallas, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Las Vegas, London (3), Los Angeles, Malibu, Melbourne, Phoenix, Milan, Mykonos, San Diego, The Bahamas, Tokyo and now Cape Town.
Nobu restaurants, all a visual and culinary delight, continue to win unprecedented praise and rave reviews from such publications as the New York Times, the Zagat Surveys, and the Michelin Guide. The restaurants' perennial popularity and devoted following are a tribute to Nobu putting his own spin on traditional Japanese cooking.
Nobu was born in Saitama, Japan, the son of a lumber merchant who died in a traffic accident when the future chef was just seven years old. He traces the beginnings of his professional ambition to the day his older brother took him to a sushi restaurant for the first time. Young Nobu found himself fascinated by everything about the environment. He knew then he was destined for a career in the kitchen.
After graduating from high school, Nobu found a live-in job at a sushi restaurant in Tokyo called Matsuei. When he was 24 years old, Nobu accepted an offer from one of his customers that took him to Lima, Peru to open a restaurant. The impact of his time in Peru cannot be overstated. Nobu began weaving Peruvian influences into his dishes – the beginnings of his signature style. After three years, irreconcilable differences over food cost led Nobu to part with his associates.
After a brief stint in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nobu returned to Japan. Upon returning to Japan, he had an opportunity to open a restaurant in Alaska, which he took. Unfortunately the restaurant burned to the ground during one of his rare nights away from the restaurant.
Broken but not beaten, and with debts to pay on his ruined Alaska enterprise, Nobu went to Los Angeles on the advice of a friend. He took a job at a sushi bar, working and using his income to make good on his commitments. No less than nine years later, after earning his way back to solvency, he opened his own restaurant Matsuhisa in Beverly Hills in 1987.
Matsuhisa was an instant success and became a magnet for food lovers and celebrities alike. It was here that his longtime friendship and business relationship with Robert De Niro began. It was at De Niro’s urging that they opened Nobu in New York City in 1994 with restaurateur Drew Nieporent. Like Matsuhisa, Nobu was a hit.
Notable citations bestowed upon Nobu’s restaurants start with Matsuhisa chosen as one of the Top Ten Restaurant Destinations in the world by the New York Times (1993). Nobu was awarded Best New Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation (1995) and Three Stars by Ruth Reichl of the New York Times (1995). Nobu Next Door was awarded Three Stars by Ruth Reichl of the New York Times (1998). Nobu London was awarded One Michelin Star (1997). Nobu Fifty Seven was awarded Three Stars by Frank Bruni of the New York Times (2005).
Some of Nobu’s personal honors from the culinary community are America’s 10 Best New Chefs by Food and Wine Magazine (1989), Southern California's Rising Stars by Los Angeles Times Magazine (1998), induction into Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America by the James Beard Foundation (2002), and nomination for Outstanding Chef by the James Beard Foundation (1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006).
Nobu currently has 17 restaurants in 13 different cities around the world, with new openings in Waikiki, Melbourne, Los Angeles, and San Diego planned for 2007. Nobu is the author of four cookbooks: Nobu the cookbook (2001), Nobu Now (2005), Japanese Finger Food – nobu style (2006) (in Japanese only), and Nobu West (2006).
Nobu has appeared in several movies: “Casino” (1995), “Austin Power in Goldmember” (2002), and “Memoirs of a Geisha” (2005). He has participated in advertising campaigns for the Gap, Calloway Golf Clubs, Illy, Fiji Water, Lincoln Automobiles, and Rado. He has been a guest on such shows as “The Tonight Show”, “The Today Show” and “Martha.” Nobu donates his time to numerous culinary and charitable events each year.
Nobu resides in Beverly Hills with his wife while his two grown daughters now live in Tokyo. He travels the globe, visiting all of his restaurants and scouting new locations to conquer.
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