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Nobu: The Cookbook Hardcover – September 7, 2001

37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

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,

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.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha USA; 1st edition (September 7, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4770025335
  • ISBN-13: 978-4770025333
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,903 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Sushi_Grrl on February 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I love the local L.A. Nobu restaurants (Matsuhisa and Ubon), and I enjoyed the book from a purely entertainment perspective. The photographs are beautiful, and I found some of the recipes to be fairly do-able. However, it is noteworthy to mention that quite a few ingredients are difficult if not impossible to find in the U.S., even at Japanese specialty markets (Nobu himself admits that he included recipes that have "many ingredients that can only be found in Japan."). These are interesting, but I don't make it to Japan often enough to be able to whip these dishes up for my dinner parties.
Another thing I found somewhat annoying was all of the Hollywood name-dropping the book is peppered with. I don't really care which celebrities have dined in the various Nobu restaurants, nor do I care what their favorite dishes are. The fact that Nobu once made lunch for Princess Di was equally unimportant to me. The thing I really appreciated was learning more about the quality and "kokoro" (heart) that goes into some of the dishes I've enjoyed at Matsuhisa. The book definitely inspired me to go and eat there again soon!
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
'nobu THE cookbook' by Nobuyuki Matsuhisa is Nobu's first cookbook and as he has a new title on the bookstands now, I thought it was high time I got around to reviewing it.

For starters, I must say I rank photographic flash way down on my list of criteria for a good cookbook. I have very little use for cookbooks used to grace a coffee table, since I have no coffee table. So, If impressive looking cookbooks from famous chefs is your cup of tea, then this is an excellent book. Otherwise, it doesn't do a lot for me.

For starters, while the book deals almost exclusively with fish cookery and raw fish dishes, the introductory material on techniques, especially knife techniques is pretty thin. The story on sushi prep is that it takes years to learn everything you need to know about good knife techniques, and we are given but a half a page without even some pictures of the types of knives used in the three techniques described.

I will say that most of the recipes are relatively simple, as long as you have the right skills, but the ingredients for a lot of the dishes are somewhere between difficult and impossible to find. The poster boy for this state of affairs is abalone. Throughout my whole life, I have never seen fresh abalone available on the east coast fishmonger's counter. Now, I suspect this Pacific shellfish is endangered almost to the point of extinction. But, as Bob Kinkaid so eloquently says in his cookbook, high end restaurants can get things which are simply beyond the reach of the average shopper.

If this were a book on classic Japanese cookery, I would have a higher opinion of it, but it is a song to the virtues of Nobu Matsuhisa.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
While many of the recipes we have tried from this book have produced excellent results, it is not for the novice nor for the cook who cannot find exotic ingredients. We live in the San Francisco Bay area and must make special trips to the Asian seafood markets because the local grocer, although high-end, does not carry the exotic varieties of fish and shellfish that he uses. He does not offer suggestions for substitutions.
The food is very good, but you can tell that this is definitely a vanity cookbook. I don't think most home chefs could use this book - it is definitely for the obsessive foodie who would go to any lengths to prepare his recipes. Good for special occasions or for those who have a lot of time and resources for foods.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 3, 2001
Format: Hardcover
After sampling a variety of creations at Nobu-London, I was thrilled to receive this cookbook. However, in the hours between receiving it and reading it, I pondered the seemingly inevitable: I thought I'd be let down, and would discover a shallow book assembled by the Nobu marketing staff.
My passing qualms were misplaced, and I couldn't be more pleased. The writing is lucid, the book readable, the advice welcome and reasonable, the recipes clear, and the range of dishes exciting. Already, I've made 2 superb appetizers, and have a main course marinating in the fridge. Other dishes are to come. My spouse, a non-sushi-eater until a few years ago, has glowed about the dishes sampled thus far, and is anticipating many more soon.
This is not anybody's main cookbook (or even in the main set), but should accessorize any amateur chef's collection when in the mood for fusion food and inspired/inspiring combinations.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Exquisitely beautiful and destined for many joyful hours in the kitchen. This book is rich in stories that tie food to culture.
It is also filled with a treasure trove of easy to follow recipes. Having cooked my way through most of the book after many years of "guessing" the layers that make up Nobu's cuisine, I feel like I have been given wings.
This book provides a strong foundation in both ingredients and techniques but even more impressively it provides a fantastic tutorial on the principles of combining color, texture, and flavor.
The chapter on Nobu Sauces and Basics is well worth the price of the book. Don't just be seduced by the photography, this is a book that you can cook from!!! If you don't like your cookbooks dog-eared and oil stained, you may have to buy two- one
for daily use, the other for your coffee table.
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