Restaurant: N/Naka [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]
Location: 3455 S. Overland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90034. 310.836.6252
Date: August 12, 2022
The Foodie Club returned to N/Naka (again) with the (brief) return of remote member Fred. This meal is part 1 of a 3 big wine meals in 24 hour extravaganza. Woah!
The busy street corner on National.
The empty interior.
Our table — before we got to it.
Welcome drink. Sake mixed with juices.
Sakizuke. Hokkaido Scallop, oyster aioli, fermented asparagus gelee, scallop roe “dust”, beets, carrots, caviar, sunchoke chips.
The sunchoke chip is presented a minute after. I accidentally stuck it on “backward” so as to not maximize the sunflower and leaf motif they intended.
Tomato Okra Salad.
Abalone, uni, tosazu gelee, shiso.
Unagi, duck liver terrine. This had that PB&J quality that certain foie terrine creations do.
Watermelon lime “mojito”.
Shisito, minced wagyu. Very savory.
Corn, squash, yuzu ponzu, thai basil.
Homemade tofu, edamame, ginger soy. Very mild.
Modern Zukuri. Summer Tuna, pickled fennel, yamaimo, uni shoyu.
Uni shoyu for dipping. The instructions were to take some fish, a bit of pickled fennel and dip it. This was quite good. The Yamaimo yam was a bit slimy.
Owan. Shiromi, eggplant, junsai, hasu imo, ume. Very mild dashi-type soup.
Otsukuri. Traditional Sashimi. Ocean trout (looks like salmon), toro, and a white fish.
Yakimono. Binchotan Roasted Unagi, sudachi butter vinaigrette, yuzu pepper, lotus root “kabayaki.” This was actually quite “spicy” with the hefty amount of yuzu-combined pepper. This gave it an almost green coconut curry-like vibe.
Mushimono. Kegani, California Box Crab, egg (tamago), sakura mochi rice, dashi ankake.
Shiizakana. Spaghetti, abalone, pickled cod rod, truffles. The classic N/Naka pasta, double size. Awesome as always, but still small (even doubled).
Niku. A5 Miyazaki Wagyu Beef, arugula, baby corn, roasted peach, citrus fern, onion crumble. Very melt in your mouth beef.
Sunomono. Cucumber, grapes, tomato, shiso cucumber ice. Shot of yuzu juice.
While it tasted like sunomono, the ice gave it a very interesting texture and temperature factor.
Shokuji. Traditional Sushi.
Blue Crab Handroll (as bonus to “fill us up”).
Mizumono. Watermelon Lime Sorbet, compressed watermelon. Very watermelony.
Peach Panna Cotta, peach sorbet, nata de coco, red beans, shiratama, anmitsu. Had that mild, soft, and sweet thing like a Filipino dessert.
Hojicha Latte Gelato – Ceremonial Hojicha Roasted Green Tea base, topped with 70% Valrhona and house-made Hazelnut Brittle — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato –#dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #matcha #Hojicha #GreenTea
Passionfruit yellow bean paste “candy“.
Take home blueberry muffin and tea. Muffin was very gooey and mild — not my taste.
Old Grand Cuvee.
2000 Coche-Dury Meursault 1er Cru Caillerets. BH 93. Awesome and bright. This has now peaked and is drinking beautifully with a fully mature nose of honeysuckle, peach, apricot and very subtle spice notes that can also be found on the enveloping flavors that possess a wonderfully seductive mouth feel and ample dry extract that both completely buffers the still firm acid spine and coats the palate on the long, lingering and strikingly perfumed if ever-so-slightly warm finish. One character that Coche seems to consistently be able to achieve is how his wines are at once generous yet retain a fine sense of focus and precision and this wine certainly displays this. Lovely stuff that is perfect now. Tasted thrice with consistent notes. (Drink starting 2016)
agavin: Nice nose even.
From my cellar: 2001 Coche-Dury Meursault 1er Cru Caillerets. VM 90. High-pitched, high-toned aromas of peach and minerals. Quite dry following the Rougeots, with less texture and pliancy. This is very closed today (my sample from barrel a year ago was far more accessible and giving), but does not seem to have the depth of the Rougeots. Perhaps a bit rigid. This needs at least a few years in the bottle.
A touch closed and “bitter” at first, but opened up to become lovely.
1990 Coche-Dury Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrières. BH 93. An utterly beguiling nose of smoke, minerals and crushed herbs leads to big, muscular, rich and gorgeously nuanced palate staining flavors that offer huge length and real power plus class and breed to burn. I have had wonderful luck with this wine and while it is now fully mature and, it must be said, no longer what it used to be, it should still continue to drink well for another 5 to 10 years, perhaps even a bit longer.
1992 Coche-Dury Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrières. VM 98. The 1992 Meursault Les Perrières 1er Cru from Coche-Dury is a brilliant wine – period. It has a refulgent silvery hue that belies its age. The aromatics are perhaps more Puligny-like than Meursault in style: taut at first with subtle melted butter and yellow flower aromas. It is blessed with astonishing delineation and returning to my glass after 90 minutes…wow…popcorn, roasted almond, beeswax, linseed, certainly more Meursault-like in character. The palate is crisp, fresh and tensile at first, with wonderful salinity. This just gets the taste-buds going and there is tangible mineralité. Like the aromatics, it becomes more Meursault-like with aeration, gaining complexity with rondeur, hazelnut and smoke towards the mercurial finish. This is utterly sublime. Two bottles tasted at Tour d’Argent with consistent notes. (Drink between 2018-2035)
Also very fresh and nice.
2000 Domaine G. Roumier / Christophe Roumier Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Amoureuses. VM 90+. Good medium red. Complex, very floral aromas of strawberry, cinnamon and rose petal. Sweet but also juicy and precise, with the strong floral character following through on the palate. A precise, perfumed wine with lovely cut but no shortage of texture. Stylish, flavorful and quite long.
Some great juice tonight!
Chef Niki comes out to say hi.
Fred and his lovely fiancé (now wife) Maria.
The setting is elegant, minimalist, and very Japanese. N/Naka really is a very special place. All the meals I had here were spectacular. Plus we even did an amazing all foie gras meal here once. The place keeps getting better and better. This is thrice wonderful because often one finds a slight bloom to come off a place on repeat meals. At N/Naka everything is seasonal and constantly rotating.
Coming back to N/Naka after the pandemic I thought they were really firing on all cylinders. This was the best meal I’ve had there since the incredible Foie meal. I think her sushi has gone from “okay” to “great” and with regard to other dishes she has toned down a bit of the “theatrics” slightly but really upped the flavor balance and intensity. There weren’t some of the more interactive dishes of years past, like cooking your own item on hot stones, but the cooking was even more on point.
Service is also spectacular, highlighted all the more by the extremely low understaffed standard currently found in LA.
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