Nice Ambiance, Pretty Plating, Pleasant and Underwhelming - n/naka [Thoughts + Pics]

Hi @TheCookie,

I think you’ll enjoy your meal with Go-san at Hayato and with Shunji-san for dinner at Shunji. :wink: Definitely worth a visit to both places if you get a chance!

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Let’s not forget Mori and Mori-san at Inn Ann. I’m behind in class, as usual.

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I tried to get a reservation for Valentines, but Tock said that n/naka is not offering reservations on Valentines and on 12/15. I pressed F5 all morning for nothing. I really wanted to have a hot date there. :frowning:

n/naka changed their cancellation policy. On their website, it stated that all sales are final and non-refundable. So changes will be reflected onto Tock soon and it will likely charge the full dinner price instead of the $100/person deposit.

I can see this leading to people just getting reservations to sell to others like scalpers do for sporting events.

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It already started

I don’t think well of people like this. It’s like having hostages for ransom.

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I’m surprised it took this long. Sad nonetheless.

I’ll talk to Niki-san next time I see her and ask how she feels about this.

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there is a god, thank you niki.
And yes KommanderTom == @lafoodie

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It was me…

Sorry to all I’ve disgraced.

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You’re a good egg. You made a faux pas. Way to own it and work through it.
It’s all going to be just fine.

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how many did you stockpile? 10+?

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Funding other food trips should be done on our own dime and time, not at the expense from others directly or indirectly through profits. This was an extremely dangerous precedence that was being set. Thankful this was stopped in time, but this may cause unwanted ripple effects.

Think about how the system was rigged against us without connections for concert tickets for years and even to this day for example, and those contributing to the problem by profiting from it. Not cool at all. But yes thanks for owning it, and move on. Contribute back to the board/give back through your reports that help others. This is how we work here :slight_smile:

There are so many other options for Valentine’s or whatever special evening… not dining Michelin is not the end of the world. In fact if you can dig out some obscure hidden possible future delight that nobody else knows about and can still wow the socks (and panties) off someone, that weight can sometimes hold even more gold.

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Hear hear.

Hell, for many on this site such as myself, our L.A. ethos is to often AVOID Michelin and allow the unknown Mom&Pops and unheralded talented chefs out there a chance to make it by giving their food a fair shot.

And Niki-san was once there too as a newcomer, an unknown. She may or may not lurk this site :wink: but she would probably want everyone to get a fair chance, whether it be an upstart eatery or an aspiring customer to her restaurant.

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I :heart: this!
But once upon a time, we were all youngsters with googly-eyes for Michelin stars. Appreciation of unsung hero chefs doing extraordinary work in unconventional conditions came with experience.

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(Edited to make it more PG13 and less R/NC-17)

Some of my thoughts were echoed in of all places, a young Taiwanese air flight attendant’s facebook notes advising the older dudes who hit on her but got nowhere. She was basically saying that middle aged men either chased after her the right way or the wrong way. The wrong way is dropping serious coin and taking the date out to famous Michelin star restaurants, lavishing them with known expensive brand name gifts, and end up going home with just a tiny peck on the cheek. The right way to wow is to do it with more thought, wisdom, experience, knowledge, and care. Basically be a leader (and a gentleman), not a follower.

Be the one who refines oneself, get really knowledgeable and adept at something. Sniff out the best places, the obscure hidden golden delights that has killer intimate atmosphere and yet top notch culinary skills, the underdogs. Be the one who researches say, fashion… and impress a gal by not buying that Hermes or Fendi bag, but by finding some up and coming Italian designer who won awards in Europe but is not quite yet known here, but makes bags of outstanding quality (or shoes or whatever accessories etc) that rivals the brand names, and let the date brag to her friends about the nature and thoughtfulness of the choices. Set yourself apart from the rest of the herd.

OK this is a food board, so the impressing is through food and drink, not accessories. But you get the picture.

Or even if you must go the way of Michelin, find the way to maximize your experience. Could be a slight change in an order or side order that enhances the enjoyment, custom request, or if you know what pairs best in terms of beverages, make that happen and blow your date’s mind that way.

However going so far out of one’s way to impress a date at a ridiculously hard to get into Michelin place just seems too much of an overkill, especially the hoops that require to be jumped over.

At some point, going out on the exact day of Valentine’s Day is such an overpriced and expensive cliche (forced tasting menus that sometimes don’t make sense…cough cough Mister Jiu’s 2/14 OMG WTF did I just spend this chit on and why did I get beef chow fun at the greasy stir fry joint afterwards with a Tsing Tao that was far more satisfying?) . Your date should be mature and generous enough to just enjoy the moment and feelings, and be happy with say celebrating before (or after), and the venue doesn’t matter as long as the thought counted.

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I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise

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Experiencing food and drink is incredibly exciting, especially in a city like Los Angeles where there’s so much of everything.

But to continue the fashion analogies, I think if you can’t walk into goodwill and figure out an outfit that looks good then do you really know your own style just because you can afford Thom Browne?

I’m not made of money, but I’ve also decided food is something I want room in my budget to splurge on. Funny enough, that means a lot of making my own lunch/dinner so I can budget dining without worry every now and then.

My favorite restaurant in a long time was KASS, Christophe Emes spot. I’d show up by myself, order a starter, a main, some cheese and dessert and have three or four glasses of wine. Seriously some of my favorite memories of what was a long year.

But then I’d also know, okay, if I want to try this other spot I’ve gotta skip a trip to KASS. And sometimes I’d realize I don’t actually want that other experience, I just wanted to know I’d eaten there.

The amount of forgettable meals (to me) that I’ve had because I was worried about missing out… on what? The fact that I’m into food or whatever.

Anyway, food is great and all that, but as someone who grew up comfortably poor and is lucky enough to say they’re comfortable enough to be sorta stupid with their money while also having to watch what they spend

Food ain’t everything

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What the hell?

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My special friend is moving to Texas early next year to pursue a teaching degree there and I wanted to take her to n/naka because she loves Japanese food and their culture. I wanted to thank her for being my friend after I was going through many years of depression and loneliness.

When I first got my reservation there back in August, I was overly excited because I have been trying for many months with no luck. I was always in front of my computer every Sunday morning refreshing the page every second for 5 minutes before new reservation dates came up. I’ve tried wait-listing, but whenever an e-mail pops up there were no dates available.

This reservation was during Thanksgiving weekend and I haven’t thought that it will be likely that my friend will be visiting her family in Texas for Thanksgiving. So next Sunday, I was able to get another reservation on early December. My friend wasn’t sure that she will be back in CA during that time.

I found someone on Reddit who has a reservation to n/naka on late September, but he recently broke up with his girlfriend so he’s looking to trade for a later date. I traded my Dec 7th for his late September reservation because my friend is free on that date and it’s before they raised their prices on November.

We went there at the end of September and everything was better than what we imagined. Each plating was exquisite and each bite was a joy. I want to keep savoring them as long as I could. I especially loved the A5 Wagyu. Our server Yuna was very friendly and she gave us hugs at the end of our dinner. She even told us that she will ask Chef Nakayama if we can meet her at the end of our dinner. I was as giddy as a child. When Chef Nakayama came out in person, I was frozen still. This is the chef of n/naka who was featured on Chef’s Table and her restaurant exploded in popularity afterwards. I awkwardly asked to take a picture with her then she took a picture with us. She thanked us afterwards. I will never forget that night.

A few days later, someone on Reddit saw my post for my Thanksgiving weekend reservation. He wanted to go there because it was near his girlfriend’s birthday. I’ve been thinking that selling them could help pay for more foodie trips, so I sold it to them. I figured if I could sell more reservations, it could pay off our trip late September so I tried to get more.

Up to last Sunday, I reserved 12/21, 1/31, 2/8. I got 12/14 from a cancellation.

I sold 12/14 to a party of 4 because he wanted to celebrate his wife’s birthday with their 2 friends.

I sold 2/8 because he wanted to give her a great anniversary dinner after forgetting to tell her on their last anniversary until late at night.

The guy who I got the 9/27 reservation from and I traded my 12/7 to, wanted to go to n/naka later since his new girlfriend is available later on in December. So I traded my 12/21 for his 12/7 reservation. No money exchanged.

I was holding onto 12/7 from a Redditor who’s waiting for his next paycheck, but another Redditor saw my posting on LAList and he wanted to purchase it off me because he really wanted to take his special to n/naka since it has been their #1 restaurant on their list ever since they first met and he wanted to go on December because it was on her birthday. He wanted to take her somewhere special, show her how special she is to him whether or not they end up together. It was the cutest thing ever so I sold 12/7 to him.

By then, I almost got enough money from these reservations to pay off our September trip.

I was holding onto the 1/31 reservation, which I plan to take my friend to again because it was exactly on her birthday. I wanted to take her there again because earlier I thought she was leaving CA by the end of this year, then later I learned that she’s leaving early next year.

I was motivated to pay for further foodie trips, and when Yam,Tcha Collaboration Dinner popped up unannounced yesterday morning, I got 7 reservations. I was determined to sell them within the next few weeks to cover our next trip for her birthday.

Tock contacted me because they noticed that I’ve bought and sold multiple reservations on Reddit and warned me to stop. Then n/naka was notified that I was buying and selling them for profit, so they cancelled all of my reservations, even the 1/31 that I was holding onto. They also posted on Reddit, after recently creating an account, that they will not accept any reservations that came from me with the intent of profit.

I am devastated. I have harmed everyone around me. I’ve had meaningful conversations with those 4 men on Reddit who wanted to take their special partner out for a special occasion. The 1 guy who I traded with 2 times (9/27 <-> 12/7) & (12/7 <-> 12/21) might have his reservations cancelled too.

I have refunded everybody back last night and told them that they won’t be attending n/naka on their reservation dates. I have destroyed their trust.

I had plans to go there on New Years Eve for their osechi with my cool cousin or getting a reservation next week that’s closer to my birthday after losing 1/31, but there’s no way I can show my face there again after what I’ve done. I have betrayed their trust after having the most wonderful night of my life.

I have disappointed everyone and I am sorry.

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