Chef Nobu Matsuhisa spends the weekend at his restaurant, Matsuhisa Vail |

Chef Nobu Matsuhisa spends the weekend at his restaurant, Matsuhisa Vail

Kim Fuller
Special to the Daily

VAIL — Nobuyuki Matsuhisa is known to the world as "Nobu." When the acclaimed chef proprietor of Nobu and Matsuhisa restaurants visits Vail, he sets aside a little of his schedule to explore and enjoy the area, but the majority of his time is spent at Matsuhisa Vail.

Nobu was in town on Saturday, and guests lined up to take photos with him during a busy dinner service in the restaurant.

"Mostly, I come to spend time to chef and work with the management teams, and I like to see all my staff here," Nobu said during a brief interview on Saturday night after he stepped out from working behind the sushi bar.

Nobu opened his first restaurant in the United States, Matsuhisa in Beverly Hills, California, in 1987. Nobu now has more than 40 restaurants in the world, spanning across five continents.

'Unique Community'

Matsuhisa Vail celebrated its five-year anniversary in August, and the restaurant is currently in the midst of its sixth winter season.

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"We remind ourselves everyday how lucky we are to live in and be supported by such a great and unique community," said manager Jordan Harrill. "We really can't thank our customers enough. They make our jobs possible."

Harrill said the Matsuhisa Vail team always works to infuse Nobu's passion and expertise into the morale of the staff and into the culinary experience of every guest.

"He has a very humble approach to making you want to be your best every day," Harrill said. "Whether he is in the sushi bar talking about his idea of perfection, by the sauté station introducing a new dish or in the dining room reminding us the importance of execution and great hospitality, you feel the genuine care he has for you and your place in the Matsuhisa family."

Nobu's new-style Japanese cuisine draws influence from his classical training in Tokyo and his life abroad in Peru, Argentina and around the world, showcasing signature dishes such as yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno, black cod miso and white fish tiradito.

'Enjoy what you do'

"When Nobu is in-house, we as the staff really feel and feed off of his energy," Harrill said. "Part of his philosophy is to have fun and enjoy what you do. When we see his passion in real time, it serves as a great reminder to us how lucky we are to be a part of this team."

Nobu seemed to have a lot of stories and commonalities to share with the international guests visiting Matsuhisa Vail this past weekend. And for every guest who likes to say "thank you" to Nobu personally, he is always sure to say "thank you" in return.

"People always appreciate the great food and great service in my restaurants," he said, "but I have to say 'thank you' to them, because they come here and enjoy."