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[CUISINE] Nobu Matsuhisa - Man Who Spiced Up Sushi & DiNiro

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  • madchinaman
    Nobu Matsuhisa, the man who spiced up sushi By S. Irene Virbila, Times Staff Writer http://www.latimes.com/features/lifestyle/la-et-
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 13 3:23 PM
      Nobu Matsuhisa, the man who spiced up sushi
      By S. Irene Virbila, Times Staff Writer

      In a wildly polyglot city — where Midwesterners live next to
      Oaxacans; Taiwanese, Armenians and Russians mingle with Hollywood
      hipsters; and Tongans live side by side with native Californians — is
      it any wonder that their various cuisines have blurred into each
      other too?

      Los Angeles is fusion central and has been since its founding. Just
      look in anybody's pantry. Ingredients, techniques and recipes from
      far-flung places mingle throughout local kitchens. And what about our
      restaurants? By now, they've offered practically every combination
      you can think of — Korean-Creole, Oaxacan nouvelle, Franco-Japanese,
      pan-Asian, Filipino-Mediterranean, Thai-Italian … and on and on.

      Most such marriages barely take a comet ride through the culinary
      skies before fickle gastronauts are off to chase the next new thing.
      But the one fusion that has stuck, and that Los Angeles has exported
      to the rest of the world, is Nobu Matsuhisa's revved-up sushi.

      Before the now world-famous Japanese chef came to Southern
      California, he worked in Peru, where he began incorporating hot
      chiles into his sushi and sashimi dishes. In L.A., he used not only
      chile, but garlic, caviar, olive oil, even butter. His original
      restaurant, Matsuhisa, on La Cienega's restaurant row, was a runaway
      hit when it opened in 1987. He'd found a flavor profile that made
      sense to Angelenos craving ever more vivid food.

      Matsuhisa's new-style sashimi, with warm olive oil poured over the
      raw fish, was a sensation. Angelenos swooned over yellowtail sashimi
      garnished with rings of fiery red pepper. He cut squid to look like
      pasta and tossed it in garlic and butter. He tried out all sorts of
      wacky ingredients and combinations. You never knew what would appear
      on that night's blackboard of specials. And with stars waiting in
      line for a seat in the inner sanctum, sushi was suddenly glamorous.

      In 1994, when Matsuhisa opened Nobu in New York — financed in part by
      his biggest fan, Robert De Niro — the Los Angeles chef took
      Manhattan. He went on to open restaurants in Tokyo and London and
      Milan, Italy, essentially colonizing the world with his eccentric
      Latin American-Japanese fusion sushi.

      Chefs who worked with Matsuhisa merely had to whisper his name, and
      backers came running. In L.A., we're already on the third or fourth
      generation of chefs influenced by his high-flying fusion and yet
      we're just as crazy about Matsuhisa's sushi as ever.

      And in the chic, design-conscious setting of his various Nobus, it
      defines worldliness.
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