Before visiting friends in Phoenix, I did a little research and presented my friends with a list of places I was interested in dining at. Since my friends are recent transplants themselves, they were eager to check out some restaurants themselves.
Reservations were made at Nobuo at Teeter House weeks prior to my arrival, and I was tickled to find it located in a historic area of downtown Phoenix. The restaurant itself is housed in a little Craftsman bungalow, an izakaya, serving Japanese tapas-style dishes and Japanese craft beers. Chef Nobuo Fukada won the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Southwest Chef 2007.
Our server suggested a tasting menu, but we weren’t interested in all of us eating the same dishes, so we opted to go a la carte, sharing the items instead.
My friends started off with Oyster ($8) served in an Asian soup spoon, topped with spicy daikon, and chives, in a pool of ponzu sauce. Since I am allergic, I took their word that the oysters were plump and bursting with the briny flavors of the ocean.
Tuna Tataki ($20) arrived beautifully seared and served on a bed of roasted beet puree and drizzled with balsamic glaze. The beet puree was impeccable, with rich flavors that would pair well with so many things. I am planning to re-create this when I have some time.
One of our favorite dishes was Shiromi Carpaccio ($18). Thinly sliced white fish is topped with ginger, yuzu kosho, sesame oil, and garlic. The layers of flavors danced on our tongues, and we didn’t leave a drop of the sauce on the plate. The house-made focaccia served alongside is perfect for sopping it all up.
Clam & Mushroom ($20) was so simple. Clams and mushrooms were wrapped in a clear parchment paper pouch along with garlic butter, sake, and soy. It was packed with umami and we wanted to spoon up every bit of the broth left in the pouch.
Crab & Uni Pasta was a special that evening, an unctuous display of the finest ingredients enveloped in al dente pasta. Generous portions of crab sat on top of perfect noodles that have been tossed in uni. It was an absolutely stunning offering.
Saikyo Yaki ($18) was miso-marinated cod cooked to perfection. The fish was so tender and melted in our mouths. Served with hajikami pickled ginger shoots garnish and daikon slaw. This is perfect izakaya fare, meant to accompany whatever you’re sipping on. We thoroughly enjoyed this!
Pork Belly Wrapped in Banana Leaf ($18) is a comfort food enjoyed across many Asian cuisines. Rice and mushrooms are wrapped in a banana leaf with pork belly and served in the leaf. The beautiful aromas of the banana leaf imparted a glorious whiff of the fragrance in the rice, which was my favorite component of this dish. The pork belly was perfectly fatty and well-executed.
We ended with a moist cake that was not only light, but brimming with citrus elements. I can’t recall exactly what it was, but I believe it was grapefruit with huckleberries as garnish.
I enjoyed our visit to Nobuo, especially sitting in the historic building and thinking about the generations that have come through. If you’re planning to visit, make sure you have a reservation. I saw people coming in without reservations only to be turned away.
Nobuo at Teeter House
622 E Adams Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004