I try not to throw around the word “perfect” too often, but there’s no way around it when it comes to Chef Niki Nakayama’s n/naka. From food to service and ambiance, this place is as perfect as they come. There, I said it.
Chef Niki serves a 13-course “Modern Kaiseki” nightly ($185). The menu changes with the seasons, and with the chef’s whims, while the flow of the meal adheres to Japanese traditions. The three hour experience is beautifully orchestrated and paced just so, leaving diners pampered, satisfied, and feeling thoroughly justified for indulging in something so extravagant.
Our meal began with Saki Zuke, “a pairing of something common and something unique,” grilled Japanese scallop with ikura (salmon eggs) and English pea soup. Continue reading ‘n/naka – Los Angeles’
I had the pleasure of dining with my mom at Q Sushi a few Fridays ago. She’s been taking care of June while The Astronomer and I are bringing home the bacon, so this meal was a small token of our gratitude. Bà Ngoại is the best!
Chef Hiroyuki Naruke, who ran a six-seat sushi bar in Tokyo’s Roppongi district prior to relocating to Los Angeles, serves a hyper-traditional, omakase-only sushi experience at Q. I am a total purist when it comes to sushi, so I knew that Q and I would get along swimmingly from the start.
Priced at $165 per person, the omakase typically begins with a slew of tsumami (small appetizers), followed by a perfectly orchestrated parade of sashimi and nigiri sushi courses. All in all, it’s a 2.5 hour feast comprised of 20 or so courses that passes by much too quickly.
Taking care of Mom and me this evening was Chef Rui. He seemed a bit chattier than Chef Hiro, which was a good thing, because I had plenty of questions up my sleeve (per usual).
Continue reading ‘Q Sushi – Los Angeles (Downtown)’
It’s avocado season here in Southern California, and Maude, Curtis Stone’s critically adored restaurant, is celebrating in grand fashion with a month-long tasting menu dedicated to the super-luscious, downright buttery ingredient.
Maude’s menu changes with the seasons, focusing on “one key ingredient” each month. [See what the restaurant is cooking for the rest of this year.]
Our ten-plus course dinner featured California-grown Hass avocados in every single dish. Sometimes avocado was the star of the plate, while other times it elevated the ingredients surrounding it. As a lifelong avocado lover, it was a pleasure to experience the fruit in a plethora of forms, both classic and innovative—avocado leaf ice cream, anyone?
Named after Curtis Stone’s grandmother, Maude is a jewel box of a restaurant with just 25 seats and an impressive open kitchen. The space and service were warm and welcoming with the ideal touch of sophistication.
Continue reading ‘Maude – Los Angeles (Beverly Hills)’
There’s nothing like a breathtakingly delicious meal at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon to get me back in the blogging groove! Viva Las Vegas!
Before we dig into the stupendous eats, a big thank you for sticking around during my long and unexpected hiatus. A little over two months ago, two major changes came into my life. The first, a new job! Woo! The second, a pregnancy! Woo hoo! Juggling both, with a side of intense nausea, was damn tough. But at last, I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Or at least I hope so…
After months of going to bed before the sun set and surviving on a sad and steady diet of saltines (and sometimes hot dogs!), I wasn’t quite sure if I’d be up for any fancy dinners while in Las Vegas for work this past weekend. Thankfully, I was feeling peppier, and more importantly, in the mood for feasting, by the time the trip arrived.
I dined solo this evening, which meant that I didn’t have to share any of the spectacular bread and salted butter. By the end of the meal, I’d made quite the dent in both. God, it was good.
And then there were two amuse-bouches, one meatless and the other not-so-much. On the vegetarian front was a wicked refreshing shot of grapefruit and guacamole. The lingering spice was awfully nice.
Continue reading ‘L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon – Las Vegas (MGM Grand)’