If you equate food and love, just head to n/naka.
Two Michelin star chef Niki Nakayama…presented a lovely Valentine meal that was both sexy and sweet. Her attention to detail is magnificent.
It would be a great disservice not to mention the Service, for it was exemplary. I personally like to engage with those taking orders and serving food. The line between familiar and professional was perfect. A special nod to Bryan, who made our journey through the menu both informative and an adventure. (And belongs to the foodie tribe…here here)
Twelve courses and the attention to detail on every plate was as if Yayoi Kusama was designing the plates. Every element had purpose. The dishes themselves came out hot or ice cold depending upon desired temperature.
So, what do you start with when you wanna say I love you? Chef Niki presents SAKIZUKE…lobster three ways. I melt; add a hint of truffle and I am puddy in her hands and it’s only the first course.
It’s my first time at n/naka. Both Drew and Chef Brando have been trying to get me there for months. And God Bless they made it happen.
I must make mention of the YAKIMONO. I have never been a fan of baked or fried oysters (keep them raw and fresh) and this was sublime. Add a little caviar and yuzu and I am yours. Chef Niki had me wanting more. Shockingly, Enzo, (not a huge oyster fan) loved every bite as well.
Chef Niki changes the menu at every meal except for the SHIIZAKANA. This remains a constant at every meal, and after one bite and you know why. Spaghetti, Abalone Pickled Cod Roe, and Truffles. All four of us wondering if it would be too gauche to lick our plates.
The NIKU, had the right balance of sweet and savory. The A5 Wagyu Beef simply melted in your mouth with a touch of duck liver and cherry balsamic soy. Heavenly.
It takes decades to master this level of perfection and Chef Niki delivers on all fronts.
She ends with the sweetest palate cleansing desserts. Blood Orange Sorbet with a Lychee Nata de Coco…and a Strawberry Entremet, Feuilletine Crunch, Sesame Ice Cream with Fresh Strawberry Preserve.
With a slight nod to Italian and French cuisine, Chef Niki delivers a spectacular Japanese dining experience.
How could you not feel loved after this exquisite dining experience? With a personal visit from Chef Niki thanking us for dining with her…goodbyes are always hard but at n/naka you depart with a homemade matcha brownie and sweet tea leaves, dried fruit and flowers you have personally blended.
Honestly, I can’t wait to come back for more. The only drawback is trying to get a reservation. Having to call on a certain day at precise hours while trying to beat a crowd for a reservation is dehumanizing. I miss the days where you call and talk to a person to make a reservation for the week, or during the month, or even a couple months out.
Lottery tickets, speed dialing, and racing just doesn’t fit with the experience once you walk in the door. But thank God Drew persevered. It took him months before he managed a slot; with only seconds to make the decision he pulled the trigger and got us in. Hallelujah!