Robert De Niro spent four years trying to get business partner Nobuyuki Matsuhisa to launch Nobu.
The 'Raging Bull' actor - who co-owns the brand and also has his own restaurant, the TriBeCa Grill - saw potential in the Japanese chef and followed his career before "eventually" getting him to open their flagship eatery in New York in 1994.
He said: "It took around four years from me asking him to getting the first Nobu up and running in New York.
"He wasn't ready to move at first and I understood that. But I had opened the TriBeCa Grill and was looking for another opportunity.
"I kept up with Nobu's career through my restaurant partner, Drew [Nieporent], and eventually convinced him to come out to New York. "
Now there are Nobu restaurants in over five continents and De Niro insists each restaurant is unique as they have an "appreciation" for each area.
He told Britain's GQ magazine: "Nobu has a real care and appreciation for all our different locations. It has taken a while, but we've fine-tuned our expertise so we know how to handle any problems. If a restaurant is struggling in the off-season, or a chef is having issues, we can find a solution. Nobu cares about everyone. I'm not sure if he cares about me."