N/Soto from the N/Naka Crew Feeds the Coronary heart and Soul

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When most of us consider a Japanese bento field, we consider a easy, fastidiously ready takeout meal with rice, protein, and veggies.

However chef Niki Nakayama and her spouse and sous chef, Carol Iida-Nakayama, see the potential for lots extra.

“It might probably function a car for extra than simply takeout,” says Iida-Nakayama. “It might probably inform a narrative. It might probably convey us along with different collaborators.”

The 2 have lengthy been recognized for his or her fashionable kaiseki restaurant in Culver Metropolis,
n/naka. When COVID-19 compelled them to shut for dine-in service, they started providing a restricted variety of bento bins a number of nights per week that bought out almost as quickly as they had been accessible on-line. The couple didn’t plan to open a second restaurant in the course of the pandemic, however making all these bento bins necessitated a brand new setup.

“It was beginning to really feel very overwhelming when it comes to house,” says Nakayama.

So, in March, they debuted n/soto, a West Adams restaurant that, at press time, was working solely as a takeout window for upward of 100 bento bins nightly. As the town reopens extra, the couple plan for n/soto to be an informal yakitori restaurant with indoor and outside seating for 75.

Ovens weren’t frequent in midcentury Japanese properties, so baked treats—like this coconut cake—had been a novelty.

For now, the opening providing is a bento field known as A Style of Residence ($65). Created with the assistance of the Japanese American Nationwide Museum and the Little Tokyo Neighborhood Council, it tells the story—over almost two dozen dishes—of Japanese meals coming to America. A printout that comes with the frilly meal places the bites in historic context. Beef sukiyaki, it notes, was one of many first Japanese dishes to achieve huge acceptance in America. A mold-pressed mackerel dish alludes to the truth that mackerel, caught in San Pedro Harbor, was a welcome style of Japan for immigrants. “It was the closest factor to sushi that they might put together,” says Nakayama. “I assumed that was an exquisite story between the 2 nations. Meals is such a common language.”

n/soto, 4566 W. Washington Blvd., West Adams.


RELATED: What’s in a Identify? Niki Nakayama on the Origins of n/naka


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