Chef Nobuo Fukuda's new restaurant, Nobuo at Teeter House, is undoubtedly the most anticipated opening of the past year.
When his last eatery, Sea Saw, went out with a bang and a whole lot of hamachi last June, fans of the James Beard Award winner's stunning modern Japanese cuisine were only comforted by the fact that he was not leaving the Phoenix area.
Yes, he assured us, he planned to come back with a new concept -- a combination of izakaya comfort food and his signature creative sashimi tasting menus. Yes, he confirmed in February, he negotiated with the city to get a lease on the historic Teeter House building, right across from fellow Beard winner Chris Bianco's bangin' pizza joint at downtown's Heritage Square.
Now, after many months of planning and construction, he's about to open his doors.
But there's a BIG caveat.
Fukuda tells me that the public should not expect the place to be fully up and running for a few weeks. Wednesday will be the beginning of a soft opening with a very limited menu, available only for lunch.
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You see, Fukuda still hasn't been able to use the kitchen at Teeter House. The renovations have been extensive, and final touches are still being made to the space. He tells me that the first two weeks will really be "practice" for him and his loyal kitchen team from Sea Saw. They'll being ordering, slowly expanding the menu offerings, getting settled in, and gearing up for dinner service, which will begin on the 27th.
Fukuda's backers are the folks behind Roka Akor and Bombay Spice, JNK Restaurant Group. However, the company's website for Nobuo at Teeter House is still under construction.
In the meantime, Fukuda plans to announce updates and info about his grand opening (about three weeks out) on Facebook. Like the farewell party for Sea Saw, it will be a casual, family-style dining event.
Chow Bella will keep you posted, too.