Chef Niki Nakayama’s 2 Michelin star, Kaiseki California take utilizing local, seasonal ingredients.
In full disclosure, a reservation at the 2 Michelin starred Kaiseki style Japanese restaurant is not easy to land but definitely worth pursuing. Chef Niki Nakayama’s version is a modern California take utilizing local, seasonal ingredients, some not usually identified with the traditional multi-course style, instilling a unique sense of place to the dining experience. The vibe at n/naka is serene and elegant, the service gracious, the sake and the wine and non-alcoholic pairing well-curated. While the exquisitely plated courses open a window into modern Japanese food they magically manage to balance the old and new in taste and flavors.
The dinner service runs Wednesday through Saturday with a preset thirteen-course menu. The standout course, a Chef’s choice or Shiizakana, is a nontraditional and absolutely delicious spaghetti alla chitarra, a black truffle topped pasta dressed with abalone liver and pickled roe. Since the menu is hyper-seasonal and evolving constantly, the highlights vary with each experience adding unique taste memories. Chef Nakayama and her partner Carole Iida also opened n/soto, a California Japanese style Izakaya during the pandemic offering an evolving bento with a la carte service to follow.