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Matsuhisa turned down De Niro partnership offer

Taxi Driver star De Niro approached Matsuhisa at his eaterie in Los Angeles in the early 1990s and proposed to open a sister branch of Nobu in his native New York.

But the baffled businessman had no idea who De Niro was, and turned down the offer – and the actor was forced to ask several more times before Matsuhisa agreed.

The restaurateur tells The Sunday Times Magazine, “Back then, one of my customers was Robert De Niro. I didn’t know who he was to begin with, but every time he was in L.A. he’d book a table. His favourite meal was baked black cod marinated in miso.

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“Then one day he asked me if I’d open a restaurant with him in New York. I was afraid of expanding, so I said no. But he kept coming back, and several years later I agreed. He’s been a business partner ever since.”

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