Spaghettini with Abalone, Pickled Cod Roe and Truffles
Spaghettini with Abalone, Pickled Cod Roe and Truffles
G. Snyder

58: Spaghettini with Abalone, Pickled Cod Roe and Truffles at n/naka

Leading up to this year's Best of L.A. issue (due out Oct. 4), we'll be counting down, in no particular order, 100 of our favorite dishes.

58: Spaghettini with Abalone, Pickled Cod Roe and Truffles at n/naka.

A meal at n/naka, by its very nature, is full of surprises. A parade of traditional kaiseki courses travels from an unseen kitchen into a zen-like dining room. It's a bit different from the traditional sushi bar view that's often the norm at high-end Japanese restaurants, but having your plates of picturesque sashimi appear almost out of thin air is pretty darn cool.

At some point in the meal there will likely be a course that involves pasta -- chef Niki Nakayama has a special affinity for pasta-making, apparently. If you're lucky enough to come when summer truffles are in season, you might get a dish of thin, swirling spaghetti noodles threaded with razor-thin slices of Monterey baby abalone and tinted with the slightest red hue of briny pickled cod roe. Truffles are shaved over the top and perfume the surrounding airspace with a heady aroma. The pasta is the perfect fusion of Japanese refinement and comforting Italian soulfulness.

Is it a bit strange to dream about pasta after leaving a restaurant known for its wisps of o-toro dotted with caviar and homemade ponzu? Sure, but that's the most fascinating part of a meal at n/naka.


Check out the rest of our 100 of our favorite dishes. Suggestion? Write us a comment.

100: Lukshon's Dan Dan Noodles

99: Cemita de Milanesa at Cemitas Poblanos Elviritas #1

98: Chichen Itza's Cochinita Pibil

97: Tsukemen at Tsujita L.A.

96: La Cevicheria's Bloody Clam Ceviche

95: Duck Shawarma at Momed

94: Peruvian Chicken at Pollo a la Brasa

93: Squash Blossom Quesadilla at Antojitos Carmen

92: Thai Boat Noodles at Pa-Ord

91: Baco Mercat's Bazole

90: Furikake Kettle Corn at A-Frame

89: Live Santa Barbara Spot Prawns at Providence

88: Fried Pig Tails at Night + Market

87: Egg Salad Sandwich at Euro Pane

86: Galbi Jjim at Soban

85: Truffle Honey-Laced Fried Chicken at Manhattan Beach Post

84: Mool Naeng Myun at Yu Chic Naeng Myun

83: Chicken Vampiro at Mexicali Taco & Co

82: Sooo Cali Dog at Dog Haus

81: White Anchovy, Tomato and Fresno Chile Pizza at Pizzeria Mozza

80: Shu Mai at Elite Restaurant

79: Tandoori Chicken at Al-Watan

78: Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding at The Hungry Cat

77: Agedashi Tofu at Izakaya Bincho

76: Pork Chop at Salt's Cure

75: Porcetto at Sotto

74: The Sea Urchin Tostada at La Guerrerense

73: Wood-Roasted English Peas at Tar & Roses

72: Persian Mulberries at Weiser Family Farms

71: Hunan-Style Preserved Pork with Tofu at Hunan Chilli King

70: Brisket Banh Mi at Gjelina Take Away

69: Yukhwe Bibimbap at Oo-Kook Korean BBQ

68: Lamb Pie at Beijing Pie House

67: Son of a Gun's Uni and Burrata

66: Pastrami Reuben at Art's Delicatessen

65: Beef Koobideh at Kabab Mahaleh

64: The Whipper Burger at Hawkins House of Burgers

63: Slippery Shrimp at Yang Chow

62: Whole Channel Island Red Sea Urchin at Water Grill

61: Going Dutch Panini at Bread Lounge

60: Huckleberry's Green Eggs & Ham

59: Pickled Watermelon Salad at L&E Oyster Bar


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