What is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of chain restaurants? Without being pretentious enough to assume that I speak for the masses, I would say that most of us believe it usually revolves around burgers, fries and soda. The entire fast food landscape is littered with chains selling essentially the same fare with small differences in order to set themselves apart from their competition. The concept is simple, getting familiar tastes to clients no matter where they may find themselves in North America or around the world. What began as an exclusively fast food type of set up, in the last couple of decades there has been a distinct increase in the number of franchises aimed at the casual dining, family type restaurants. These have franchised a more traditional sit down type approach, are fully licensed and offer more elaborate types of meals. This is fine for most people. Most people get satisfaction from a night out at these casual dining establishments. These restaurants are safe bets, where the food will be a known quantity and the meal will be a longer more involved experienve. As in many situations, the tastes and desires of the famous are a little more refined than most people. Are there any restaurant chains that cater to the rich and famous? If so, how much can we expect to spend at one of these chains and what are our chances of truly seeing a movie star when we visit?
The chain restaurants to the stars are a little different than those most people are familiar with in that the concept is not always the main selling point. Most restaurant chains that offer a 5 star dining experience are driven by a celebrity chef. With the advent of speciality television channels, celebrity chefs have become popular and, for some of them, as famous as movie stars. Almost everyone knows who Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver and Bobby Flay are, and all of them have a string of restaurants worldwide. These wildly popular television personalities have managed to couple their love for food with their onscreen talent to make their popularity soar. These are all great chefs and their restaurants seem to cater to all types of people. The one thing that they have shown is that there is a possibility of creating a franchise based on quality goods as opposed to quick in and out style dining. Despite being stars in their own right and their restaurants being popular with the regular and wealthy alike, they are not the most famous. The chef who has created a chain of restaurants that is the most often frequented by famous people is Nobu Matsuhisa and his chain of restaurants called Nobu.
Nobu it its beginning
Chef Matsuhisa was born in Japan in 1949. After high school he began working at a restaurant named Matsue Sushi in Tokyo, where he met a Peruvian entrepreneur who invited him to open a restaurant in Peru. This was an eye-opening experience as he had trouble finding ingredients that were common in Japan. This is where he began to develop his signature fusion type cuisine which would place him on the path to worldwide success.
After a few years in Peru and a failed restaurant in Alaska, Nobu arrived in Los Angeles in 1977 and began working in Japanese restaurants. In 1987 he opened Matsuhisa in Beverly Hills and it quickly became popular with Hollywood celebrities. One of his biggest fans was actor Robert De Niro, who partnered with Nobu, restauranteur Drew Nieporent and film producer Meir Teper to open Nobu restaurants, The first was opened in 1994 in New York city and there has been 26 others opened worldwide since then. Although the menus differ they resemble each other in terms of quality and taste profile. Another thing is their popularity with the famous crowds. Not that all 26 cater to the rich and famous, but the price ensures that only those with sizable bank accounts can afford to eat there on a regular basis. You are getting quality as some of his restaurants have been awarded Michelin stars.
Top Nobu Restaurants to see Stars, obvious locations.
The Nobu restaurants are popular with many well known stars. These can often be seen at any of the restaurants, if they happen to be visiting the area. Although you may see stars at any of the locations there are a few of the restaurant where seeing a star is a more common occurrence. They are accessible to everyone willing to pay the price for the food and a great place to rub up against the rich and famous.
5 Nobu Restaurant: Fifty Seven: New York, City
This is Nobu’s uptown New York location. It has become popular with the New York based stars since its opening in 2005 and focusses on many of the classic Nobu dishes. It also has been privy to many original creations through the inclusions of a wood burning oven and Hibachi table. Some of the most popular item from Fifty Seven are classic Nobu recipes such as:
-Sashimi salad : 25$
- King Crab Tempura: 34$
- Bigeye Tuna Roll: 9$
- Yellowtail Tuna: 6$ per piece.
4 Nobu Restaurant: Malibu, California
This restaurant located on Pacific Coast Highway has incredible ocean views and has some patio seating available. This location, close to L.A., provides a great chance to see stars in a wonderful setting. As always the food is the real star, here are popular items from the Malibu specials menu, to be found exclusively at this location:
- Scallop Truffle Chips: market price
- Ribeye Steak with Truffle Butter sauce: 40$
- Lobster Sweet and Sour: 46$
- Albacore with Meyer Lemon: 30$
3 Nobu Restaurant, New York
This was the first restaurant opened in the chain and since its opening in 1994 it has been a desired destination for well known New Yorkers. This restaurant was designed to celebrate the beauty of the Japanese countryside and utilizes natural textures and elements to provide this aura. This is where the signature dishes were created and they highlight the incredible menu.
-Black Cod with Miso: 32$
- Wagyu Beef: 30$ per oz.
- Sea Urchin Tempura: 14$
- Baby Spinach Salad with Flake Sashimi: 20$
2 Nobu Restaurant, London
The London version of Nobu was opened in 1997 and was the first European venture of its type for the chef and his partners. Occupying the first floor of the Metropolitan hotel on Park Lane, this 150 seat restaurant includes a separate sushi bar and large windows providing views of Hyde Park. The restaurant was awarded a Michelin star soon after its opening and has maintained that distinction to this day. Although closing in on its 20th anniversary the restaurant still attracts the brightest stars in the UK capital. There are a few special items sold at the London location:
-Anti-Cucho Peruvian Style Spicy Salmon skewer: 15 $
- Anti-Cucho Peruvian Style Tea Smoked Lamb: 28.50$
- Wagyu and Foie Gras with Spicy Ponzu: 17.50$
- Crispy Pork Belly with Spicy Miso: 16$
1 Nobu Restaurant, West Hollywood, California
This is a relatively new restaurant having opened its doors is 2008. It has quickly become one of the surest of the Nobu Restaurants to catch a glimpse of hollywood stars. This restaurant is separated into three dining rooms, each themed differently and offer a unique experience. One of the differences with the menu at this trendy place is the Tapas menu. Beyond this difference there are still staple menus that are extremely popular:
-Tapas Small Plate: (Salmon Tartar with caviar, Spicy Tuna Nori Chips, Salmon with Karachi Su Miso, Wagyu Lobster Tacos, Fish & Chip Nobu style and Scallop with Truffle and Panko Crust): 12$
- Beef Tobanyaki: 32$
- Black Pepper Crusted Colorado Lamb Truffle Teriyaki: 40$
- Baby Vegetables with Yuzu and White Truffle Butter: 18$
The prices are a little high, but not so over the top that with a little planning. The food is renown for its taste, presentation and quality. If you have the desire for Japanese food and find yourself in one of these locations, call and reserve at one of these restaurants, you never know who you may run in to.
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