N/Naka Knocked Me Out…

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Unbeknownst to me, my husband delved deep and researched “Unusual Los Angeles Restaurants” to fulfill my foodie desires.

He found n/naka in the unassuming Palms neighborhood and made a reservation.

He left a note by my bed inviting me to an exotic meal. I wrote him back and accepted.

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n/naka photo:icaralot.wordpress.com

Last Friday night we dressed up and cruised to the untrendy Overland address. I cannot believe how many times I have passed n/naka and never noticed it.

There was street parking available as well as valet, but we all know my distain for valet when 10 steps away you can self park, but that’s my issue.

We were early because one never knows about the rapidly changing traffic patterns of the 10 Freeway.

They graciously welcomed us and we were seated immediately.

N/Naka Interior
N/Naka Interior

Saki Zuke was ordered and we awaited the opening number of our 13 course extravaganza.

I must admit that Japanese food is my favorite meal of choice, especially when the creamiest most delicious uni is involved.

The presentation was beautiful, the food undeniably great and the service attentive and non-invasive. We did engage with our lovely server, Yuna and she presented an interesting oral scenario with each course.

I shall turn my restaurant review into a food photo gallery as literally, every single item on the was superb.

There are 2 menus to select from. The Modern Kaiseki consists of 13 courses at $165 per person with an optional $85 wine pairing. There is also a Vegetarian Tasting 13 course meal for $150.

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1. A PAIRING OF SOMETHING COMMON AND SOMETHING UNIQUE

FANNY BAY OYSTER WITH UNI, IKURA, ORANGE AND KUMQUAT JELLY FENNEL VICHYSSOISE

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2. SEASONAL INGREDIENTS PRESENTED AS AN APPETIZER

GRILLED SQUID STUFFED WITH SNOW CRAB, SQUID INK SAUCE, FRIED RENKON LOTUS ROOT WITH LOBSTER

GRILLED DUCK WITH MISO,  BIG EYE TUNA YAMAIMO, WASABI

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3. MODERN INTERPRETATION OF SASHIMI

JAPANESE SCALLOP WITH PAMELO, DILL, BELL PEPPER GELEE,  BEET AND SORREL PESTO

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TASMANIAN SEA TROUT, WITH DAIKON RADISH, CARROT, GOBO ROOT WHITE MISO SOUP

4. TRADITIONAL SASHIMI

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OH TORO, AKA MUTSU, SHIMA AJI, KUMAMOTO OYSTER, OCTOPUS

5. STEAMED/FRIED

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CHAWAN MUSHI WITH SNOW CRAB, UNI

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6. GRILLED

FRIED SEABASS WITH GREEN ONION PONZU GLAZE, GINKO NUT, GRILLED BAMBOO SHOOTS

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7. NOT BOUND BY TRADITION, THE CHEF’S CHOICE DISH

SPAGHETTINI WITH ABALONE, PICKLED COD ROE, BURGUNDY TRUFFLE

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8. MEAT COURSE

JAPAN MATSUZAKA WAGYU BEEF A5

 

9. Sunomono

HOTARU IKA, JAPANESE CUCUMBER YUZU MISO 

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10, RICE DISH- SUSHI

AKAMUTSU, TORO, SAYORI, BURI, AMAEBI, UNI

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11. NAMEKO WITH RED MISO SOUP

12. Dessert

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BLOOD ORANGE CHAMPAGNE SORBET, RADISH AND SHISO RELISH

13. MERINGUE ICED CREAM WITH PISTACHIO COOKIE, BLOOD ORANGE SAUCE

Niki Nakayama

The backstory on the three year-old restaurant revolves around Niki Nakayama, a female sushi chef, who was born and raised in Los Angeles. Chef Nakayama began her career at Takao restaurant in Brentwood.

Niki then embarked on a three-year working tour throughout Japan, immersing herself in the essentials of Japanese cuisine, both traditional and cutting-edge.

While working at Shirakawa-Ya Ryokan, (Japanese inn owned by relatives) Niki trained in the art of kaiseki, the traditional Japanese culinary practice that emphasizes the balance and seasonality of a dish.

Upon her return to Los Angeles, Niki opened her first restaurant, Azami Sushi Cafe, which was all about omakase, Inaka, Niki’s second venture, served as a gourmet Japanese take-out by day and an intimate eight-course chef’s table by night.

n/naka has been ten years in the making and is the expansion of Niki’s previous endeavors, applying the ‘artistic and technical notions of kaiseki to create an ever-evolving seasonal narrative within each meal.’

This traditional Japanese culinary art form reflects the changing rhythms of the earth by taking the freshest seasonal ingredients and presenting them in their natural states. n/naka serves vegetables from their own organic garden.

Chef Nakayama meets and greets the diners at each table. She is not only talented, but charming and personable.

If you desire amazing food, great service, an unfussy yet nuanced environment all wrapped up in a unique dining experience, reserve at n/naka…it is well worth the price tag.

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n/naka 3455 South Overland Avenue Los Angeles, California. Reservations only. Open Tuesday-Saturday. Tuesday through Thursday seatings are at 6:30pm and 7:30pm. Friday and Saturday, seatings are at 6pm, 6:30pm and 8:45pm with an early 5:30pm seating on Saturday only. Reservations accepted up to two months to the calendar date. You must make a reservation at least one week in advance. Menu selections are confirmed in advance. All cancellations must be made 48 hours in advance otherwise a late cancellation fee of $85 per person will be charged. It is important to have advance notice as n/naka source ingredients for each individual reservation.

2 Comments

  1. Beautiful food!

  2. The vegetarian menu is also amazing – incredibly unique and
    fresh!

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