Robert De Niro - Matsuhisa Turned Down De Niro Partnership Offer
ROBERT DE NIRO had to badger restaurant boss NOBUYUKI MATSUHISA to join him as a business partner - because the Japanese tycoon failed to recognise the Hollywood legend.
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.
"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."