Nobu Matsuhisa spends most of his days traveling to the various restaurants in his growing global empire, so that he can make sure the food and the service are up to his high standards. Eater recently caught up with the chef when he was checking in on the three New York restaurants he runs with Drew Nieporent and the Myriad Restaurant Group, all of which are still popular after all these years. In the interview below, the chef chats about travel, quality control, and the new set of dishes he and his team created for Nobu Next Door's brand new brunch menu:
Where were you coming from before you landed in New York?
Before here, I was in Moscow, London, and Dubai. I arrived in New York two days ago, and I'm leaving tomorrow morning for Japan. I've been traveling 10 months a year, for four or five years. I never stay more than a whole month in the same place.
When you walk into the original Nobu, what do you think about?
You know what, I feel like I'm back at home. This is my first Nobu restaurant. Next year will be 20 years. There are a lot of people that have been working a long time here, and a long time makes it feel like a family. For me, it's like all the family is growing, all the Nobu restaurant people. So that's the key to opening a lot of restaurants — because all the kids take care of the new place.
How do you keep things consistent across all the restaurants?
It's like a team. People have been working a long time and they understand the restaurant's philosophy, and the chefs understand the quality of the products we use on our menus. I travel and taste and discuss with the chefs — sometimes someone needs to fix it, sometimes it's great, sometimes I get an idea from them. Communication is a big help to us.
Why did you decide to launch brunch at Nobu Next Door?
At Nobu Next Door, we don't do lunch. But the neighborhood... big change. 25 years ago it was dead, but now it's a lot of families. So we tried to do Sunday brunch, and now it's like a big success. We have the hotel, and the hotel means serving international foods — we use waffles, we use steak and eggs, and it's more like Western-style. But it's still the basic Nobu food. So, people like this food.
What are you excited about?
I created like a scrambled egg and rice donburi because I travel all over the world, and at every hotel, they have eggs. But Nobu is a Japanese restaurant, and we use steamed rice, seaweed, and grilled salmon, because grilled fish is very traditional with the Japanese breakfast. Then, we make the scrambled eggs with tomato juice, because eggs go well with an umami taste. Then salmon eggs on top. So, all the international food comes in one bowl.
Where do you eat when you're in New York?
How can I do that? I have three restaurants. I was at 57 last night, maybe I have to try here today.
So you just eat in your restaurants?
Yeah, yeah, I eat almost all my food year-round. That's why I have a sense, more than anybody, of how my food should taste.
· All Coverage of Nobu Next Door [~ENY~]
[Top photo: Nobu Next Door]