One Fish Raw Bar opened in 2021 in downtown Campbell next-door to Manresa Bread, and what a find it is. Chef-Owner Trent Lidgey opened his small, fine-dining raw bar after stints as sous chef at San Francisco’s Atelier Crenn, chef de cuisine at The Lexington House in Los Gatos, and most notably, sous chef at Uni Restaurant, a modern izakaya in Boston where he oversaw the sashimi program.
The vibe is relaxed and the food meant to be shared tapas-style. There’s a small patio in front with outdoor dining available, as well as seating inside at tables and high-counter seats. There are also seats right at the chef’s counter, reserved for guests partaking of the $185-per-person 11-course sashimi tasting menu. A final option is the 5-course family-style meal ($95-per-person for the standard; $135-per-person for the premium).
Much like Madonna, Adele and Beyonce, this storied chef is so recognized the globe over that you know him readily by simply his first name.
The one and only Nobu Matsuhisa came to town this week to christen the new Japanese-inspired outdoor garden dining space at his Nobu Palo Alto restaurant and hotel, completely transforming what was formerly a florist shop into a zen oasis.
If you have an appetite for fine Japanese cuisine, you owe a debt of gratitude to him. If you appreciate impeccable sushi and sashimi, especially done with groundbreaking global influences such as jalapenos, olive oil, garlic, and lemon, you have him to thank for introducing this new style. Matsuhisa helped turn what was once considered exotic into a mainstay of which we now can’t get enough.
His accomplishments are nothing short of breathtaking, opening 21 restaurants in the United States and Canada alone, not to mention 16 in Europe; five in Mexico and the Caribbean; six in the Middle East and Africa; and eight in Asia and Australia. In all, 56 restaurants across the globe. Moreover, his hotel in downtown Palo Alto is one of 34 operating or in process of opening worldwide.
It’s been quite the journey for Matsuhisa, one that began with the most challenging of circumstances in Japan, when he lost his father at age 8 in a motorcycle accident, only later to get expelled from high school for acting out. Looking to turn his life around at 18, he moved to Tokyo to apprentice in a sushi restaurant. What followed next were a series of soaring highs and crushing blows — moving to Lima to open his first restaurant, only to have that business partnership dissolve badly, then relocating to Alaska to open a Japanese restaurant, only to see it destroyed in an accidental fire less than two months later.
Eventually, armed with a green card, he immigrated to Southern California with his wife and two young daughters for a fresh start. In 1987 he opened Matsuhisa in Beverly Hills. There, a regular nudged him repeatedly to open an outpost in New York until he agreed to do so, debuting restaurant Nobu in Manhattan in 1994. That regular was none other than actor Robert DeNiro, who would go on to partner with Matsuhisa in all his future projects and be instrumental in steering him to opening hotels, too.
Yesterday, I had a chance to spend a few minutes with Matsuhisa in the tranquil garden with its decorative bronze gate, seasonal blooms, and boulders that were hand-picked and flown in from Japan.
As the days warm, I excitedly ready my cucumber seedlings to plant.
Positioning them gently in pots of soil in my yard, I can’t help but already hunger for their snappy crunch and refreshing juiciness to use in salads of all kinds.
Including “Cucumber, Dates, Pistachios,” that’s as simple and straightforward as its name implies.
This light, bright salad is from “Very Good Salads” (Smith Street Books, 2022), of which I received a review copy.
It’s by Shuki Rosenboim and Louisa Allan, who own the proudly named Very Good Falafel in Melbourne, Australia, a tiny 20-seat cafe where falafel is a staple but the salads change regularly with the whim of the seasons.
The cookbook showcases 52 of those vibrant salads and vegetable dishes, from “Broad Bean and Macadamia-Stuffed Artichokes” in spring and “Frozen Grapes, Herbs, Zucchini Flowers” in summer to “Roasted Quince, Pearl Barley, Walnut, Pistachio, Saffron” in autumn and “Beetroot Dip, Pistachio Hazelnut Dukkah” in winter.
By now, we all know how to waffle stuffing or mashed potatoes to crisp up and give new life to leftover sides, especially the day after Thanksgiving.
But “Crispy Potato Waffles” are novel, because they get their start with raw russets, meaning you can skip the step of making mashed potatoes altogether.
I think it results in waffles that taste even more potato-y, too.
The recipe is from the unique “Homage” (Chronicle Books, 2022), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Chris Scott, a “Top Chef” finalist and New York-based chef who’s the owner of Butterfunk Biscuit.
Scott recounts his family’s journey over seven generations, from his great-great-grandmother who was enslaved in Virginia in the mid-1800s to his great-grandmother who migrated to Pennsylvania after the Emancipation Proclamation, and his grandmother Nan who instilled in him a sense of discipline and an unbridled passion for cooking, to finally to his own upbringing in Pennsylvania Amish country and eventual ascendant culinary career in New York.