We had a stupendous meal at n/naka. Unfortunately I didn’t take pictures but the menu was so perfect that I am reproducing it here.
What a meal!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Pursuit For Perfection.
I am basically going to let the photos tell the story re the food. My husband did an extensive review of the wines we had and so the main focus of this post will be mostly about our wines we brought.
2008 Launois Champagne—consistently excellent. It drinks very straight forward and clean. Not as much bubble fix as some champagnes. It was an excellent start. It was especially good with the uni spring roll.
Uni Spring Roll
Order of tasting:
Drew (sommelier) tasted both the Lopez Heredia and the Lizette so he could recommend which white to have first. He suggested the Lopez to go with the scallop and sword squid dish. The Lopez Heredia showed very well. It was the 2003.
Scallop and nasturtium
Sword squid and daikon radish
2014 BOSCOE Wine Co. Lizette—this wine shows beautifully. Nose very clean and solid. The flavor is real grenache blanc solid, no bite on the finish. An absolutely fine wine to be enjoyed with special dishes like the spot prawn and the porcini.
Santa Barbara Spot prawn, jimmy nardelo peppers, cilantro- an outstanding dish
Grilled porcini, summer greens, black winter truffles
1995 KenWright Pinot Noir, Carter Vineyard. This is an absolutely outstanding wine. The well aged pinto shows very clearly. The nose is beautiful. It doesn’t jump out of the glass, but it is assertive. The flavor is raspberry/blackberry and very full. The finish is absolutely clean and long lasting.
King Salmon, miso mustard, apricot, pork belly
a5 wagyu, shunkyo radish, spring onion, bone marrow
1991 Ridge Zinfandel Essence—I was looking forward to tasting this as I haven’t had it in years. Drew suggested the chocolate dessert in lieu of the chamomile hone, pistachio, dijon mustard. The Essence was lighter than I remembered. It is not as dense as I thought it would be. Ridge only makes it in years when they get superior maturity on some of their Zin grapes. I’m not sure which vineyard these grapes came from. It is worth having now and then.
Providence is definitely the best restaurant in LA. The creativity and care are second to none. The service was absolutely perfect. It is great fun to dig out special
wine to pair with Providence food. We are very fortunate that we can get to this wonderful restaurant a few times a year. We wish it were closer to home. How about a branch in Brentwood, Michael!!
n/Naka is an extraordinary restaurant. Chef Niki Nakayama is a fantastic chef who uses A+ ingredients with a perfect balance of flavors that is plated with incredible artistry. She began her career at Takao, our favorite sushi restaurant in Los Angeles. In fact we were the first customers at Takao.
From their website: “Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, chef Niki Nakayama began her career at the renowned Takao restaurant in Brentwood, working under the guidance of esteemed chefs Takao Izumida and Morihiro Onodera. Committed to exploring new techniques, Niki embarked on a three-year working tour throughout Japan, sampling her way through different regional flavors and 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 under chef Masa Sato in the art of kaiseki the traditional Japanese culinary practice that emphasizes the balance and seasonality of a dish.”
We had champagne to start, then a chablis from their list, a glass of sake and finally red wine.
Champagne – BYO
Red Wine – BYO
We chose the premium Kaiseki menu. This was very expensive but it was an extraordinary experience. I asked them to send me the menu and they did. I have copied it exactly. Basically I will let the photos tell the story.
(A PAIRING OF SOMETHING COMMON AND SOMETHING UNIQUE)
BLUFIN TORO TARTAR, SEA URCHIN, POTATO CHIP
SNOWCRAB WITH IKURA, ENGLISH PEA SOUP
(SEASONAL INGREDIENTS PRESENTED AS AN APPETIZER)
CALAMARI WITH BLUECRAB SQUID INK SAUCE, FRIED RENKON LOTUS ROOT WITH LOBSTER
BLACKCOD MARINATED MISO, SEA JELLY FISH WITH GINGER AND SOY SAUCE
This was unbelievable – absolutely perfect. The lobster was deep fried and you dipped it in the aoli sauce. You then took the quail egg and mixed it with the squid sauce and then ate the calamari. The jelly fish was like a palate cleanser.
(MODERN INTERPRETATION OF SASHIMI)
FRESH JAPANESE SCALLOP, BLACK TRUFFLE, HONEY TRUFFLE, PONZU, GOLD FLAKE
Owan “Still Water”
HUDSON VALLEY FOIE GRAS, DASHI
OH TORO, SHIMA AJI, HIRAME, SHIGOKU OYSTER, NAMA TAKO
AYU WITH SAUTEED FOIE GRAS SET WITH COMPRESSED WATER MELON
BALSAMIC SOY SAUCE
KEGANI/ HAIRY CRAB, SHITAKE, MITSUBA, DASHI
(NOT BOUND BY TRADITION, THE CHEF’S CHOICE DISH)
SPAGHETTINI WITH ABALONE, PICKLED COD ROE, BURGUNDY TRUFFLES
JAPAN MATSUZAKA WAGYU BEEF A5
HOTARU IKA, JAPANESE CUCUMBER, WAKAME, YUZU MISO
YUZU OMOI , KYOTO, JAPAN
(RICE DISH- SUSHI)
AKAMUTSU, TORO, AMAEBI, AJI, IKA, UNI
MELON SORBET, ROSE ALMOND MILK GRANITA
POPCORN ICE CREAM, MALTED MERINGUE, CARAMEL ANISE, CHOCOLATE RAISIN
Bottom line: This is an extraordinary restaurant with a talented and dedicated chef with a service team that is equally dedicated. Just be forewarned this is very expensive.
This is a super recipe. I forgot to take a photo so all I have is the wrapped leftovers. By the way the leftovers are wonderful – just a couple of minutes in the microwave to warm.
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons half and half
1 cup shredded Gruyere – divided into 1/2 cup portions
1 cup diced black forest ham
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease 9 or 10 inch casserole dish with nonstick spray
Whisk eggs with the milk and half and half until smooth
Add ham, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup of the cheese. Stir to incorporate.
Pour into the prepared baking dish and top with remaining cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes or until eggs are just set and golden in color
Remove from oven and sprinkle with chives. Omelette with deflate slightly as it cools
Tip: Replace the ham with sautéed mushrooms to make this dish vegetarian
Providence is the best restaurant in Los Angeles. I can’t think of any misses whether it be sourcing of ingredients, execution of dishes, creativity, service – this is just a perfect restaurant. We brought special wines as this was a special occasion.
Wines – Champagne – Bellecart- Salmon……..1982 Corton Charlemagne – Dubreuil-Fontaine …..1982 Corton Clos du Roi – Dubreuil-Fontaine
Cocktail – cremant de bourgogne, st. germaine, yuzu, basil seeds
Uni – white garlic chip, wasabi, serrano chili
Lox – caviar, gold leaf, dill powder, egg yolk
Abalone – hot to be dipped into wagyu fat fondue
Tuna sashimi, oro blanco (grapefruit), shallot yogurt, nori rice cracker, shiso
Royal Oscetra caviar, rose gelee, lemon creme fraiche served with
Grilled brioche spread with wagyu fat, lime slice
Prawn tartare – ebi furikake, smoked sesame, prawn roe, freeze dried mandarin, nori
foie gras terrine, mulberry puree, nasturtium leaves, foccacia
not pictured – white asparagus, morels, fava beans
Wagyu – smoked miso, smoked sesame, onion, radish, turnip, smoked mustard sauce
It doesn’t get better than this – great good, extraordinary wine and perfect service.
I haven’t been to Spago since the new renovation. We finally made it back and the space is lovely. We sat at our regular table which was the table closest to the garden. We were greeted royally by Tracy and Laurent. Chef Tetsu Yahagi even came out of the kitchen to greet us. This is service that is A+++. We didn’t know if they still did a tasting menu that was specially created for frequent diners. Chef Yahagi said he was happy to do a special tasting menu and we where thrilled as he is a terrific creative chef who executes each dish to perfection. Bottom line – Spago is still one of the best restaurants in Los Angeles and we won’t wait so long to return. We ordered Pierre Peters champagne from their list to start. We BYO’d our white and red wine.
BYO red wine
BYO white wine
Signature dish – spicy tuna tartar in a sesame miso cone
Smoked salmon mousse in a tomato cracker on the right, oscetra caviar, maple syrup macaroon, bacon confit, egg yolk jam on the left
Sterling Farms white sturgeon caviar, sunny side up egg, rye crisp, potato chip espuma
Tomales Bay Oysters 3 ways
a. Raw oyster with leek ash mignonette
b. Fried oyster beignet with squid ink aioli
c. Oyster salad, chili caviar, baby leeks marinated in oyster juice
Six Hour Abalone “Chawan -mushi,” Petrified Chicken “Dashi” Faux “Bottarga,” Chives
Buckwheat noodles, Santa Barbara uni, nori compote
Multi-grain crisp Dover Sole, mascarpone emulsion, deep-fried bones (edible and crisp) English peas, bacon ragout
Sweet pea agnolotti, celery root, parmigiano reggiano, French black truffles
Grilled Sonoma Lamb Rack, Homage to “Pre-Sale”, French Brittany seaweeds, “Kobu-jime” Cucumber, Glasswort, Olives, Emulsion of mushroom, lamb jus and chicken stock
A wonderful meal served beautifully – can’t ask for better than this.
Hard to believe that it has been almost five years since we have eaten at Jose Andres’ Bazaar. We tend to order our favorites as we know the kitchen will do them right. Jose Andres doesn’t have to be there to deliver a great meal – he has trained his kitchen staff to be extraordinary. This is not a restaurant that is an outpost restaurant with an absent chef – this is a well-oiled “machine” that delivers excellent well-executed food.
I will do the wines first:
BYO Krug to start
Final BYO Wine
Cotton Candy Foie Gras – the cold foie gras terrine is rolled in corn nuts then encased in the sweet cotton candy – thank goodness foie gras is back in California – a wonderful beginning.
Tortilla de Patatas “New Way” – warm potato foam, caramelized onion with a slow cooked egg 63 and topped with chives and crispy small dice of croutons – I did miss the hollowed out “egg presentation” but the taste was perfect
American Caviar Blini – Crème fraîche, steamed buns, caviar and topped with lemon air – a one bite wonder
Japanese taco – BBQ eel, shiso leaf, cucumber, wasabi, chicharron – The cucumber functioned as the wrapper and the eel was sushi bar spectacular. The chicharron (the skin of the pork) were deep fried and served as the crunchy topping for the eel.
Sautéed shrimp, garlic, guindilla pepper, parsley puree – perfectly cooked shrimp with perfect saucing – we inhaled this dish and then immediately asked for bread to sop up the sauce
Croquetas de pollo – Chicken and béchamel fritters – an old favorite
“Philly Cheesesteak”- air bread filled with oozing cheddar cheese and topped with Wagyu Beef – I just love this dish and make it a point to order it every single time.
Acorn-fed, free-range Ibérico ham —- Jamon Iberica de Bellota Fermin – – this ham is extraordinary and worth the extravagance. It is served with Catalan style toasted La Brea baguette with tomato –
Bazaar is fun – not fine dining but good food. We like going early before the “crush.”