If there is one thing that I thank my grandfather for, it's the appreciation and passion for food. As a chef, his influence of cooking has inspired a few of us in the family. And for me, watching the Food Network and various cooking shows on other networks and purchasing cookbooks is a part of my life because of my passion for food.
Martin Yan once told people that its the love of food and the experience of people eating food. Having passion and part of that passion for me is learning a variety of cooking styles, recipes and cooking for family and friends.
Learning about cooking is important and learning from talented chef's and giving the reader the opportunity to recreate their popular dishes is challenging but also quite fun. And learning from the best like Nobu Matsuhisa when it comes to Japanese cuisine or a twist on Japanese cooking is challenging and fun. But the good thing is that Nobu Matsuhisa is one of those chef's that is willing to share with you his recipes in another spectacular cookbook titled "nobu miami - THE PARTY COOKBOOK".
Nobu Matsuhisa is a world renown chef and his first restaurant Matsuhisa was opened in Los Angeles in 1987. In 1994, actor Robert De Niro persuaded Nobu to open Nobu New York City and then in 2000, he and Giorgio Armani opened Nobu Milano. In 2001, Nobu opened Nobu Miami Beach and joining him was Englishman Thomas Buckley who became Nobu's executive chef (he was Nobu's Senior Sous Chef at Nobu London and helped open Nobu Milano and Ubon By Nobu in London).
Nobu has around 21 restaurants worldwide and has released several cookbooks over the years and similar to a few of his other cookbooks, they are very coffee table-like. They are just beautiful and "nobu miami - THE PARTY COOKBOOK" is beautiful!
When you first open the book up, you see these large photos in full color, photographed beautifully and almost making it look like a creative photo book because the photography and the book's overall presentation is quite beautiful.
Nobu inspired by the seafood and fruits from the Caribbean and South America and its accessibility were prime keys in the various ingredients featured in this book. But essentially, the book is Japanese cuisine, the food is fusing Japanese and South American cultural flavors.
Buckley explains that the cookbook returns to Matsuhisa's first culinary adventures in Peru and South America, revisiting some ingredients, finding new items and portray them in the famous "Nobu Style".
The book is broken down into seven chapters. The first five main chapters are:
You will find plenty of recipes in this chapter alone. In fact, nearly 90 pages are dedicated to finger foods in all. For each recipe, two pages are dedicated. One for the recipe itself and the other featuring a full page photograph.
There are recipes such as smoked tofu with tomato, shiso and basil and black grouper cheeks with Jamon IBerico and Caigua Salsa that absolutely looks mouth watering. Octopus carpaccio with yuzu mojo and kobe burgers that simply look delicious.
With so many recipes featured, Nobu and Buckley then get into "Florida Deep Fries" with deep-fried Biscayne Bay Shrimp, scallops and stone crab claws. Spotlighting the seafood but also giving his own twist such as the typical "fish and chips", Nobu's fish and chips feature a twist of salt, green tea powder and curry powder on sweet potato fries. Also, utilizing tomato powder for color.
From Rack of lamb with shiso panko crust, Gregorio's artichoke noodle salad and more. What I like is how for some recipes, Matsuhisa explains certain things that they do at the restaurant such as capping the bones or for Gregorio's artichoke salad, what kind of noodles they use and so forth.
With recipes such as the steamed Chilean sea bass with dry miso or the uni-crusted Florida spiny lobster, there are plenty of awesome recipes, so many beautiful dishes.
Recipes such as black sea bass with jalapeno miso, creamy spicy key largo pink shrimp, Matsuhisa features several of his classic dishes in this chapter.
For desserts, banana harumaki with sesame ice cream, nobu "cigars" with milk chocolate miso mousse, alfajores and many more.
The additional chapters are on additional recipes and cocktail recipes. The additional recipes are a compliment to the main dishes featured. For example, you will see Matsuhisa mention adding 10 garlic chips to the recipe and you can turn to this chapter to figure out how to make garlic chips. So, there are quite a good number of these additional recipes.
And also for each recipe featured with a cocktail, you also get to learn how Nobu makes cocktail recipes such as the Melbourne Mule, Strawberry Bloody Mary and more.
And once you are completed with the dishes, right at the end of the cookbook is a glossary that is like a cookbook dictionary of terminology in alphabetical order.
For example, if you wondered what is "conch", you can go to the glossary and find that it's a mollusk with a single, large, spiral shell and it's pronounced as "conk" and more.
The Nobu cookbooks are always well done. I really like how he introduces the dish, gives a recipe, sometimes adding a little big more background on the dish or its ingredients but Matsuhisa writes a little about his past experience as a cook, his restaurants and a few pieces that are quite inspirational, especially for those who are inspired by his cooking and wanting to become a chef.
"nobu miami - THE PARTY COOKBOOK" is just well done. Photos are large and beautiful, text is easy to read and you get your money's worth for the content featured.
With that being said, compared to other cookbooks out there, one may wonder how they can even make this food if they live in another part of the country or world and don't have access to certain ingredients featured in this cookbook.
For those who are passionate about cooking and enjoy looking for alternate ingredients, that is great but for those who cant' find the ingredients in their local area, I'm sure that this book can be difficult for them. Some spices can be purchased online but depending on your geographic area, the dishes featured on this cookbook may be too difficult for some to recreate. Especially for those wanting the same taste
Also, it's not exactly a low-priced cookbook. For those understanding that Nobu is a restaurant typically serving gourmet food from celebrities to upper class groups and a chef and its restaurants that emphasizes its quality of food and ingredients, the book's quality must match the chef's cuisine quality and for Nobu Matsuhisa, it's about high quality.
This book features prime ingredients to recreate tasty and delicious food that some may have tried at his restaurant or for those that just heard about how fantastic Nobu's dishes are or have a passion for Japanese cuisine incorporating South American/Caribbean ingredients and want to recreate it themselves.
As mentioned, the book comes off like a beautiful photography book that I wouldn't be surprised if someone kept on their coffee table. It's not just a cook book but it can be admired because of its overall presentation and beautiful photography. So, the quality of the book matches the quality of his food.
I own a lot of cookbooks and I have to say that Nobu Matsuhisa's cookbooks are one of the classiest cookbooks out there. I can easily recommend this book for those familiar with Nobu's food or his cuisine but for those that are buying this for the main reason of wanting to own a "Japanese cookbook" to learn how to make basic sushi, sashimi or miso soup, this book may not be what you are looking for.
This is a book that extends to Nobu's brand of food which is using high quality ingredients, especially in the case of this book as its food is based on cuisine courtesy of nobu Miami and incorporating Nobu's past and present Japanese/South American recipes.
So, if you wanted to make "Crispy Biscayne Bay Shrimp", you can try this recipe which needs a cup of sake, potato starch, salt, lemon and peanut oil but then you will see that you need 2 tsp. of shichimi spice powder. If you live in an area that has a Japanese or Asian grocery store, you may be able to find the shichimi powder easy. But if you don't, fortunately, you can purchase it online but you will run into several recipes that require certain spices or ingredients not normally found at a local grocery store.
But I would assume most people who are interested in Nobu's book are familiar with the quality of the food and really want to create some of those fantastic dishes featured at his restaurants and both Nobu and Buckley deliver!
Overall, "nobu miami - THE PARTY COOKBOOK" is definitely awesome in presentation, a beautiful book with many photos that showcases the beautiful dish and also features plenty of recipes that will definitely satisfy the Nobu fan.
on November 1, 2008
This is a great cookbook. So few cookbooks out there are this good. Now I was hesitant at first because other Nobu cookbooks have been reviewed as being too difficult or the items are not easy to find. This time its different. It does help to live in Florida. Certain recipies do call for Key West conch and pink shrimp from Key Largo and if you live anywhere in Florida or have access to Florida seafood then pick up a copy of Nobu Miami.
Skimming through the book, the photos are gorgeous, which should satisfy even the most harder skeptic after reading the price. I think its worth the price you pay for it. Its filled with recipes and side stories from Nobu and Executive Chef Thomas Buckley, who runs the Nobu Miami restaurant in beautiful upscale South Beach. Nobu has a heartwarming piece about how hard it was to start out as just another sushi chef in Tokyo. Years learning how to prepared sushi where met with diappointment as he was used as a gopher by the other chefs. He wanted to quit many times but each time he failed he decided not to quit. Since those humble beginnings, he has opened Nobu restaurants all over the world.
But enough about the celebrity chef and more about the recipes. At first glance, they don't appear that hard to put together, especially considering the easy access to all the seafood mentioned.
In the Tampa Bay area, the Cuban influnece is really strong, so a typical Cuban meal would be pork marinated with Mojo seasonings with a plate of black beans and rice. Nobu does a Japanese twist with that old standby in creating Seared Striped Bass with Black beans and rice. There's also numerous variations on how to cook Florida lobster from the Keys. If you're a scuba driver, go Lobstering and try out the spiny lobster tempura. I love stone crab claws and when I go over to St Pete beach, its the first thing I look for. There's a wonderful recipe for tempura stone crab claws. In fact all the food photos in this book make me wanted to take the 4-four drive into Miami and just eat at Nobu's.
The cookbook covers finger foods, luncheons, intimate dinners, Nobu classics, desserts, and pages of additional recipes (if all the other recipes aren't enough.) Even the cocktail recipes look worth trying out.
I like the first section on finger foods the best. It was a good idea that the book publishers placed it upfront because in Florida, year round the weather is mild, so a lot of people entertain at home. You sit outside, inside a screened-in back patio (the only way to dine outside without monster-sized moustiques dining on you) usually with a big outside grill and entertain while you eat. The finger foods all have very little prep time so you can whip up a batch and move on to other things. The next section was the intimate dinners. I like the recipe for "Havana Club" roast duck, Ceviche soup, and my favorite being the Pumpkin mini-chawan mushi. The last one makes great use of a hollowed out pumpkin for the soup bowl. I love dishes that take natural items and transform them into something practical. On a side note, there's a great Vietnamese restaurant on Gandy Blvd (South Tampa area) that has excellent homemade coconut ice cream served in a coconut shell. Its those little artistic touches that really make the differences. Even for those who ignore stuff like that would probably miss it, if it was just coconut ice cream thrown in some ordinary white bowl.
If you already know the basics of Japanese cooking then you can make most of the recipes here.
I recommend this cookbook to anyone that love Japanese cooking and wants to take that next plunge into a Floridaesque fusion.