Best Sign of Urban Renewal - 2010
Nobuo at Teeter House
As of press time, James Beard Award-winning chef Nobuo Fukuda's brand-new izakaya (Japanese-style tavern) is the hot ticket in the Phoenix culinary scene, set inside a beautifully renovated historic bungalow built in 1899. As if Fukuda's reputation as the Valley's premier Japanese chef weren't enough of a draw (his cult of devotees remains strong from his days at the now-defunct Sea Saw), he's created a cozy, welcoming space that happens to be right across from another James Beard winner's legendary restaurant: Chris Bianco's celebrated pizzeria. But while Pizzeria Bianco is inevitably a night on the town (lengthy wait included), Nobuo at Teeter House aims to bring you in for a simple lunch, a casual nosh with a cocktail, or a relaxed dinner of shareable small plates like house-cured salmon with basil oil and pecorino Romano, braised pork belly tucked into soft, steamed buns, warm duck salad with yuzu vinaigrette, and okonomiyaki, a scrumptious seafood pancake topped with sticky-sweet sauce, Japanese mayo, dried aonori seaweed, and shaved dried bonito (a beloved street food that goes well with beer). If you need proof that downtown's on the upswing, Fukuda's move from Scottsdale to here makes a very strong case for the future.