A fine arts background is evident in Chef Nobu Yamazaki’s modern Japanese cuisine. A relief to DC, where until recently, Japanese cuisine was a fairly quotidian display of standard sushi. Eventually Yamazaki would take the role of chef at his parent’s restaurant, Sushi Taro. But Yamazaki wasn’t always bound to DC dining. Over the years he staged and worked at Ozushi in the Tokyo prefecture of Japan.
Frustrated by the lack of interest by non-Japanese diners in authentic Japanese food, he temporarily closed the family restaurant for several weeks, hoping a drastic makeover would mean a change in direction for Japanese food, besides the sleeker decor. The facelift worked.
Behind the wooden counter in the context of his brand new modern dining room, Yamazaki works his magic, grating fresh wasabi and lovingly preparing and plating the food in front of the diner on pottery spun by a small producer in Pennsylvania. Seasonal rarities like fresh bamboo drastically distinguish the chef’s cuisine from formulaic and hackneyed American impostors. Yamazaki is slowly proving that the balanced delicate flavors at the heart of Japanese cuisine can have a captive audience.
When he’s not busy winning over diners to authentic Japanese cookery, Yamazaki is a member the Sushi Society of Washington, DC, and has won numerous sushi contests, including the first US Sushi Skill Grand Championship, and the Silver Award at the All Japan Sushi Competition. And in what spare time remains, this generous, talented chef is a member of an informal young chefs club in Washington, DC. He also makes a killer turtle broth.