Books: Cooking by Cuisine -> Cooking Japanese
Nobu: The Cookbook
Published: September 1, 2001
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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
Nobu Matsuhisa should need little introduction. With his multinational and ever expanding empire of twelve restaurants in the United States, United Kingdom, Italy and
Japan--others will be coming soon to Paris and Sydney--he has become the most talked-about restaurateur of recent years and arguably the world's greatest sushi chef. This is the man, after all, who has lured legions of celebrities--regulars include
Robert De Niro, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, Barbara Streisand, Giorgio Armani, Demi Moore, Madonna, ... the list goes on--with his unique and original combination of the finest skills and ingredients of Japanese cuisine with an imaginative acceptance
of Western, particularly South American, cooking.
In Nobu: The Cookbook--his first book in any language--Nobu reveals the secrets to his food and indeed the essence of all Japanese cuisine: the art of using very simple techniques to bring out
the latent flavors in the very best ingredients that the world's oceans have to offer. He has presented fifty original recipes for fish and seafood that include all the signature dishes--Matsuhisa Shrimp, Live Octopus Tiradito, Squid Pasta, Black Cod (De
Niro's favorite), New Style Sashimi and Sashimi Salad (Tom Cruise's favorite). There is a chapter dedicated to sushi where readers can learn how to make Nobu's own highly original Soft Shell Crab Roll, Salmon Skin Roll and House Special Roll. Eleven
salad and vegetable dishes and four Nobu dessert recipes have been added so that anyone can recreate that exclusive Nobu dinner in their own kitchen. There is even a special chapter about alcoholic accompaniments.
Nobu: The Cookbook, however, is
not just about food and cooking, it also introduces the story of Nobu's rich and varied life. It is the story of a boy from the country who became one of the most renowned chefs of his generation after working in Peru and Argentina and seeing his first
restaurant in Alaska go up in flames before his eyes. It is the story of a Japanese man who was befriended by America's rich and famous and went into the restaurant business with De Niro in New York, and more recently, Giorgio Armani in Milan. His
friends also appear in the book. There is a foreword by De Niro, an introduction by Martha Stewart and a
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