Cooking with Nobu Matsuhisa

Seared Tuna with Vinegar Miso Ceviche Dressing

Vinegar Miso
• 5 oz. white miso
• Pinch mustard powder
• 1 tsp. rice vinegar
Ceviche Dressing
• 2 tbsp. lemon juice
• 1 tsp. yuzu juice
• 1 ⁄4 tsp. salt
• 1⁄2 tsp soy sauce or tamari
• 1⁄4 tsp. garlic minced
• 1⁄4 tsp. ginger grated
• 1⁄4 tsp. black pepper
• 1⁄2 tsp. aji amarillo paste
• 2 tsp. grape seed oil
• 14 oz. rectangular fillet of tuna belly, sashimi quality
• To taste salt and black pepper
• 8 oz. mesclun greens
• fresh daikon slices


  1. Mix all ingredients of vinegar miso.
  2. Mix all ingredients of ceviche dressing.
  3. Combine vinegar miso, ceviche dressing, and grape seed oil.
  4. Sprinkle tuna belly with salt and pepper and sear the surface with a kitchen torch. Cut into 1⁄2-in. (1-cm) thick slices.
  5. Arrange the mesclun greens, daikon slices, and tuna slices on a plate.
  6. Spoon the vinegar-miso-ceviche dressing over the tuna slices.

Food, Art, Flavour – Nobu Matsuhisa

Chef Nobu Matsuhisa trained in traditional sushi establishments in Tokyo, Japan before traveling to Peru, Argentina, and Alaska. He opened his restaurant Matsuhisa in Beverly Hills in 1987, which soon became a favourite of celebrities and connoisseurs alike. Today, there are 28 Nobu restaurants around the world.

When Robert De Niro first ate at the Beverly Hills hotspot Matsuhisa, he was so taken by the inventive cooking that he made it his mission to strike up a friendship with the chef. A native of Saitama, Japan, Nobuyuki Matushisa had spent time living and working in South America, and he found ways to seamlessly fold bright Peruvian flavors into the food of his homeland. He didn’t know it at the time, but his brazen approach to fusion was about to alter the meaning of Japanese cuisine in America—and turn “Nobu” into an international brand name.

In 2004, Matsuhisa joined forces with De Niro and restaurateur Drew Nieporent to open his eponymous flagship in NYC. Twenty years later, in a city dotted with indistinguishable Japanese joints, the Tribeca institution remains a destination for classics like jalapeño-accented yellowtail and Chilean sea bass with miso. It has also spawned a global empire, with Nobu restaurants in far-flung locales like Turkey and Hong Kong, and even became a favoured point of reference for rappers (“I might walk in Nobu with no shoes,” warns Kanye in “See Me Now”) boasting about their lavish lifestyles.

I could never have predicted how far I’ve come. The greatest lesson is patience.

His father was killed in a car accident when Nobu was just a child, but the tragedy fostered a close-knit relationship with his mother, grandmother, and brothers, often revolving around the kitchen. “My mother and grandmother taught me about traditional Japanese food as a young boy,” he recalls. “They also told me food was not just cooking, but a way to show care. My love for food originated from them. Just like them, I put in my heart when I cook. “

His first big break came in the form of an apprenticeship at Matsuei in Tokyo, where “continuous effort” eventually helped him to become sushi chef. “I always remember the first time I went to a sushi restaurant in Japan. My brother brought me when I was around eleven years old. There was a lot of energy, with sushi chefs welcoming guests and yelling out names of fish and food. I was very taken by the experience, and I knew at that moment that I wanted to become a sushi chef,” he says.

When he moved from Japan to Lima to open a restaurant with his business partner, Nobu discovered that Japanese ingredients were scarce. Being forced to experiment with South American ones proved to be serendipitous, as it eventually led to creations like miso-anticucho sauce and the reimagining of raw, spicy tiradito—all hallmarks of his distinct culinary imprint.

“I could never have predicted how far I’ve come. Everything I do is step by step. The greatest lesson is patience. I’ve made mistakes in the past and have had big obstacles in my career,” he admits. “But I remained passionate and dedicated to cooking and making others smile with my food. “

Hamachi with Jalepeno, Tiradito, Whitefish with Dry Miso, Soft-shell Crab roll, Rock-shrimp tempura, Sashimi salad – are some of his signature dishes.