This story first appeared in the Aug. 17 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
The starved-for-new-restaurant residents of Malibu, who don't have all that many choices, are practically dancing on PCH as Michael Chow has just started to let it slip to his regulars -- and exclusively to The Hollywood Reporter – that Mr. Chow will slide on into to what will be Nobu's old space in the Cross Creek Mall in Malibu.
Nobu, of course, is imminently moving across the Pacific Coast Highway to its souped-up new locale.
"It's very user-friendly," is Michael Chow's reasoning for suddenly opening up a Westside cantina. "We're just taking over the space. Nobu and I share the same clientele -- we're buddies, so to speak. One day people eat Chinese, the next day Japanese. Our places are very close in Tribeca, they're complementary. So Malibu is really a no-brainer."
That clientele is a heady mix of celebs, execs, music people, fashion people, art people -- and people who can afford expensive Asian food.
The beachy version of Mr. Chow will open in about three months' time, before Christmas, with the same menu as Beverly Hills and, as Chow notes, "the usual suspects. I've opened restaurants all over the world, but I've never heard people more excited about any place than this."
Chinese food for Christmas in Malibu? "We missed the summer," he sighs. "But what can you do? I don't really go to the beach anyway."