Excruciatingly chic to the highest degree, the Nobu restaurants are among the hardest to get into on three continents. They are the personal inspiration of a Japanese sushi-trained chef, Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, who, with unusual experiences in Peru, Argentina, and Alaska behind him, was fortunate enough to open an establishment in Los Angeles into which part-time restaurant entrepreneur and actor Robert De Niro happened to wander. During those years on the Pacific coast, Nobu began to experiment, combining the pure, fresh, uncomplicated flavors of sushi with the Western flavors of garlic, chili, and coriander. As he attracted a more upscale clientele, he complemented those flavors with luxury ingredients such as truffles and caviar. Nobu: The Cookbook represents the current state of play. Exquisite, expensive, and breathtakingly stylish, this food is designed to impress with its artful simplicity. Perhaps the two most representative dishes are the most celebrated: the New-Style Sushi, in which raw fish is given a sizzling dressing of hot oil; and the beautiful Black Cod with Miso, marinated in sake, mirin, and miso for three days then grilled and baked and served with a single ikebana-like spear of pickled juvenile ginger. Altogether a beautiful production.
There are aspects of this cooking, however, that for all its glamour may require the turning of a blind eye. How many home cooks will be prepared to disembowel a live octopus? And eyebrows may be raised among environmentalists at Nobu’s championing of Arctic sea bass, a fish known before its cosmetic rechristening a few years ago as Patagonian tooth fish and that is likely to become extinct within three years through illegal overfishing in the southern oceans. Food for thought. –Robin Davidson, Amazon.co.uk
From Publishers Weekly
Nobuyuki Matsuhisa began his career modestly swabbing floors and carrying fresh fish at Tokyo’s venerable Matsuei, where he learned the sushi-making secrets that underpin “Nobu” food. Next he worked in Peru and Argentina, adding Latin-American influences to his repertoire. When he opened his flagship Matsuhisa in Beverly Hills in 1987, it was the first step in the making of an international superstar of Japanese-inspired cooking. The interplay of celebrity with fine dining is important to Matsuhisa. Illustrated by stunning photographs byFumihiko Watanabe, the exciting ideas presented here are challenging and full of expansive knowledge. The compositions range from the relatively simple Oysters with Nobu’s Three Salsas to the complex Scallop Filo with Truffle Yuzu Sauce or the signature Latin-style Octopus Tiradito. Many of the dishes present traditional ingredients in fresh interpretations: Chilean Sea Bass with Black Bean (Chinese-style) Sauce, Monkfish Pƒt‚ with Mustard Su-miso Sauce, the Sea Urchin Roe Meringue topped with Frothing Blue Crab, or the Black Cod with Miso (business partner Robert De Niro’s favorite). Many of the traditional Japanese and fresh seafood ingredients will be difficult to find. But since more North Americans are being turned on to sushi as a new way to enjoy fresh fish, this is the perfect time to introduce Matsuhisa to a wider audience.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.