Chef Nobuo Fukuda Officially Planning Downtown Izakaya
After about three and a half months of negotiations with the City of Phoenix and the city's Historical Preservation Office, chef Nobuo Fukuda is officially planning to open a new restaurant, Nobuo at Teeter House, this June or July.
The location, across from Pizzeria Bianco in the hundred-year-old Teeter House, couldn't be better. Fukuda, formerly of Sea Saw, and pizzaiolo Chris Bianco are both recipients of the prestigious James Beard Award, which will bring even more buzz to Heritage Square as a foodie destination.
Fukuda says the city approached him in late September or early October, and since then, he's been working on a remodel plan. Originally, he thought he could move right in and start lunch service, adding changes gradually, but the century-old floors need to be restored. After an eight-week construction period, he'll have new floors, a new kitchen, and dining room space for about 36 guests. Eventually he'll be able to seat about two dozen people on the patio as well.
Lunch service will be "simple, 'my-style' Japanese," Fukuda says. That includes dishes using Bob McClendon's organic produce, sandwiches (like his fried soft-shell crab on focaccia), steamed pork buns, and bento boxes. There will also be sweets and an Asian tea service through the afternoon, including Chinese-style tea and several kinds of Japanese tea, such as genmaicha, hojicha, sencha, and bancha.
In the evening, Fukuda will serve a combination of his signature cutting-edge sashimi, which he made famous at Sea Saw, as well as homey izakaya foods like steamed clams with cabbage. Only about four counter seats will be available for by-reservation-only omakase dining.
Fukuda heads off to Japan on Monday for vacation and research -- including a three-day tea seminar and cocktails at his friend's hotspot in Ginza, Bar High Five -- and he'll be back in town for the Matsuri, which takes place at Heritage Square the last weekend in February.
Stop by the Teeter House during Matsuri and Fukuda will be offering a ji-biiru tasting -- that's Japan's version of microbrews, and it's hard-to-find stuff in the states. Don't look for Sapporo or Kirin.