Uni, roasted cauliflower, potato strings, a cauliflower purée, topped with 24k gold flakes
I’ve heard good things about n/naka, a restaurant started by Chef Niki Nakayama, who trained in Japan at a Ryokan (Japanese inn). Her parents are also fish distributors, so she grew up understanding seafood. The cuisine emphasizes on kaiseki style, which is a traditional Japanese culinary practice focusing on the balance and seasonality of each dish. It’s fun to learn about the different fresh ingredients coming from the chef’s own organic garden.
Shrimp, pickled beet chip, monkfish liver, tuna, halibut ceviche and nori tempura
The 13-course modern kaiseki tasting menu did not disappoint. Here is a look into the n/naka spring menu.
n/naka centerpiece – the rock
Raw scallop with spring peas
Traditional sashimi (toro, halibut, oyster, octopus, stripe jack)
Truffled cod roe abalone pasta
Oyster with citrus sake and uni sushi
Halibut and toro
Spanish mackerel and sweet shrimp
Hot green tea
Chocolate pot de crème
Fresh ingredients, traditional elements, some modern techniques, and my favorite aspect of it all, gorgeous plating. My only critique is the dessert. It didn’t taste like a dessert that was created fresh, so it lacked the detail, quality and aesthetics the other dishes had.
Now onto a light and fresh salad. When I saw the recipe on Saveur, I wanted to make it right away. Imagine the fresh tangy grapefruit juice with buttery avocado, crunchy leaves, and spicy crabmeat come together!
Herb Salad with Crab, Avocado, and Grapefruit
- 1 lb. precooked crabmeat
- 2 dried chiles de árbol or guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
- 1/2 tsp. ground red chili pepper
- A dash of ground cloves
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 ripe Hass avocados
- 1 cup packed cilantro leaves and tender stems
- 1 cup packed watercress leaves and tender stems
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 1 Ruby Red grapefruit, peeled and segmented
- Pat crab dry with paper towels and place in a bowl. Place chiles in another bowl; cover with 1 cup of boiling water and let sit until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain chiles, reserving 1/4 cup soaking liquid. Transfer chiles and soaking liquid, plus red chili pepper, cloves, garlic, and salt to a blender; purée into a smooth paste. Gently toss crab with chile paste until completely coated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; chill 30 minutes.
- Halve, pit, and peel avocado; slice crosswise about ¼" thick and transfer to a bowl. Add cilantro and watercress; set aside.
- Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a 12" nonstick skillet over medium-high. Cook crab, gently stirring occasionally, until browned, 6–8 minutes. Transfer crab to avocado and herb salad. Add remaining oil, plus lime juice, grapefruit, salt, and pepper; toss gently to combine.
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Recipe from Saveur