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Epicuryan: n/naka – 10/11/2014


3455 S Overland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(310) 836-6252

I’ve had Niki Nakayama’s meals 5 occasions now and she or he’s by no means did not impress. With my final go to being over a yr in the past it was effectively previous time for an additional journey to n/naka.

Saki Zuke – Lobster Potato with Chilly Corn Soup, Cream Fraiche, Ikura
Cuvee Jean Phillipe, Limoux, France, ’12
The primary course was designed to pair one thing widespread with one thing distinctive and the delectable sphere of lobster and potato is simply that. The creamy potato is flecked with bits of lobster type of like a gentrified seafood croquette. The nice and cozy savory combination is additional highlighted by the candy chilly cream soup and a fragile citrus fragrance.

Zensai – Lobster Shumai, Grilled Duck, Calamari with Blue Crab, Maguro Poke
Verdejo “Martinsancho”, Rueda, Spain ’12
Niki took a extra conventional strategy with the second course, a mixture of appetizers emphasizing seasonal fare. First up was extra lobster this time in shumai kind with a filling that emphasised the snappy texture of the lobster and a numbing spicy dipping sauce. Subsequent up had been two slivers of duck that provided the proper ratio of tender breast and oily fats topped with succulent aromatic onions. Third was a multifaceted mix of snappy calamari filled with creamy blue crab. The morsel got here with a streak of squid ink that imparted an earthy relish to the dish. In any case that the ultimate course of Poké felt nearly passe although it was nonetheless a number of the highest high quality Poké that I’ve ever had.





Trendy Zukuri – Japanese Scallop with Bell Pepper Gelee, Golden Kiwi, Dill
Pinot Gris, Domaine Schlumberger, Alsace, France, ’12
Leaping again to the modern aspect of issues we had been introduced with 4 slices of alabaster perfection. The creamy delicate mollusk reverberates with the flavors of herbaceous bell pepper, candy kiwi and tart citrus. Regardless of all that was happening, I’d have appreciated a bit extra savory emphasis on the dish.

Owan “Nonetheless Water” – Seabass with Matsutake Mushroom, Dashi Broth
Born Gold, Junmai Daiginjo, Fukui, Japan
One of many joys of late fall and winter is Matsutake season. The mushrooms have a distinctly sharp woody aroma that lends itself effectively to soup. The dashi broth is on the lighter aspect, nonetheless savory however leaving loads of room for the twisting bitter twang of the citrus in addition to the flavour of the mushroom. The accompanying sake is equally as focus, bursting with floral grace however ending candy and clear.

Otsukuri – Bluefin Tuna O-Toro, Tai, Shima Aji, Nama Tako, Kumamoto Oyster, Uni
Miyasaka, Yawaraka Junmai, Nagano Japan
Our fifth course consisted of little treasure bins crammed with quite a lot of immaculate sashimi. The O-toro was an apparent standout, as was the uni, however the nama tako was in all probability essentially the most surprising shock the contemporary octopus has a supple slickness that I discover enchanting although I acknowledge it could be off-putting to some.

Yakimono – Pompano with Candy Child Bell Pepper, Inexperienced Onion
Viognier, Ampelos, Santa Ynez, CA, ’11
This was in all probability the weakest course of the night time for me. The grilled fish has a distinctly firmer texture than many of the different programs and the vinegar-ed sauce was a contact too astringent for my liking.

Mushimono/Agemono – Chawanmushi, Uni, Snow Crab, White Truffle
Muller Thurgau, Alto Adige, Italy, ’12
Issues obtained proper again on target with the steamed dish, a bit of bowl of silken egg custard crammed with treasures like uni and snow crab. If that wasn’t sufficient the course is completed with a beneficiant topping of white truffle imparting a sublime perfume to the bounty of hearty egg and heady shellfish.

Shiizakana – Spaghettini with Abalone, Pickled Cod Roe, Burgundy Truffles
Sancere, Pascal Jolivet, Loire Valley, France, ’12
I am undecided if that is Niki’s signature dish, however I’ve had the nice fortune to strive it on every of my final two visits. The pasta is cooked very al dente and dredged with pungent cod roe. Slices of abalone and Burgundy truffle add depth and texture to the dish whereas the sprouts convey the the slightest contact of cool verdant reduction.

Niku – Japan Matsuzaka Wagyu Beef A5
Bordeaux, Chateau Haut Beajesour, Saint Estephe, France, ’10
It goes with out saying the meat was cooked completely, tender and threaded with considerable marbling it was like biting right into a pillowy cloud of beefy decadence. The accompanying greens are cooked completely protecting their inherent flavors and crispness whereas selecting up a touch of char and nuance. The wine was a prototypical Bordeaux however the construction and extra austere notes of tar, cocoa, and deep purple fruit do effectively to scrub down the weightiness of the meat.

Sunomono – Black Tiger Shrimp with Avocado, Caviar
Yuzu Omoi, Kyoto, Japan
Our remaining plated course earlier than the nigiri was the night’s “salad” The still-rare prawn is immaculately dressed with avocado, edible flowers and a contact of caviar. The accompanying white miso provides a barely funky sweetness whereas the cool chaser of candy Yuzu Omoi offered a nice punctuation to shut the Kaiseki.

Shokuji – Suzuki
Dewazakura Izumi Judan, Junmai Ginjo, Yamagata, Japan
Nigiri time! First up was a thick minimize of sea bass the nice and cozy pink flesh has a jellied consistency and the coolness of the fish works superbly in opposition to the marginally heat rice.

Shokuji – O-Toro
Dewazakura Izumi Judan, Junmai Ginjo, Yamagata, Japan
Subsequent up was extra of the fabulous toro this time in nigiri kind. The fish would not have a lot obvious marbling however regardless of the understated look the fish nonetheless offers off a decadent oily relish.

Shokuji – Amaebi
Dewazakura Izumi Judan, Junmai Ginjo, Yamagata, Japan
The second plate of sushi started with a stunning amaebi the supple white flesh comes coated in a positive layer of shoyu giving some a lot wanted savor to stability the prawn’s inherent sweetness.

Shokuji – Aji Mackerel
Dewazakura Izumi Judan, Junmai Ginjo, Yamagata, Japan
The aji had a deep pretty redness shaded with shiny silver pores and skin. The chew of the grated ginger tempers the Mackerel’s fishy heft.

Shokuji – Mirugai
Dewazakura Izumi Judan, Junmai Ginjo, Yamagata, Japan
This was the night’s most elaborate sushi presentation, the skinny sliver of mirugai comes sandwiched between a dab of yuzu kocho and a sliver of shiso. The mixture offers the geoduck a mixture of brash tangy spice and floral magnificence.

Shokuji – Uni
Dewazakura Izumi Judan, Junmai Ginjo, Yamagata, Japan
The nigiri ended on a excessive word with a minimalist uni preparation. The brilliant orange roe comes with out the widespread nori wrapper. The result’s unfettered candy saline luxurious wrapped in a lush creamy bundle.

Shokuji – Soba with Tempura Flake
Dewazakura Izumi Judan, Junmai Ginjo, Yamagata, Japan
The ultimate savory is an easy no-frills bowl of soba in a heat dashi broth. The dish feels nearly laughably easy in comparison with the remainder of the meal however the simplicity makes it simple to understand the homey heat and excellent texture of the noodles.

Dessert – Black Sesame Creme Brulee, Ardour Fruit with Coconut Gelee, Seasonal Fruit
Hannya Tou, Candy and Spicy Sake, Fukui, Japan
Dessert consisted of a sampling of treats. The desserts are satisfying sufficient however lack the finesse of the savories and really feel like nearly an afterthought. To be honest, the desserts are higher than the everyday Sushi restaurant fare, however essentially the most fascinating a part of the dessert was the wine pairing. A shot of golden sake that begins out with a Juicy Fruit like sweetness that picks up a rising warmth.


After six visits, the development of programs has grow to be a bit predictable however the method and high quality are as spectacular as ever.

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