n/naka

3455 S. Overland Ave.
Palms, CA 90034
310-836-6252
n/naka +

Anne Fishbein Egg tofu

Details

  • Wed.-Thu., seatings begin at 6:30 p.m.; Fri., seatings begin at 6 p.m.; Sat., seatings begin at 5:30 p.m.
When you’re in the realm of ultra-expensive meals — the ones that hit well over three figures before you’ve even considered a glass of wine, let alone tax and tip — it can be hard to discern true value. Of course, it depends what’s important to you. Luxurious surroundings? Obsequious service? If your main interest is in food, in particular gorgeously plated, highly fussed over, brightly seasonal, modern Japanese cuisine, we recommend n/naka, the quiet Palms kaiseki restaurant run by Niki Nakayama. Nakayama says she may be the only female kaiseki chef in the world — kaiseki being the formal, multicourse, seasonal style of Japanese dining. Regardless of whether she is unique in that regard, her restaurant and food (much of it grown in the restaurant’s garden) certainly are singular in Los Angeles. The 13 courses will take you through different aspects of the season, be it a “modern interpretation of sashimi” composed of kanpachi with bell pepper gelée, jalapeño gelée and avocado sauce, or her “chef’s choice dish,” which is usually a stunning spaghettini with shaved black abalone, pickled cod roe and Burgundian truffles. The quiet room and humble service have a calming effect, allowing you to fully concentrate on the meal before you. As a way to blow a couple hundred bucks, you could do a lot worse. —Besha Rodell
Read our full review.

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