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Oct 10, 2008 01:22 PM

Chef's Table at Inaka Seafood

Chef Niki Nakayama was formerly at Azami on Melrose. She is now exploring, experimenting, and doing her own thing for the Chef's Table. By day, Inaka offers prepared healthy Japanese food and is a seafood market. At night, it is transformed to Niki's chef's table, a multi-course dinner, $80pp, 10 people max, free corkage.

We were a group of 7, and had the place all to ourselves, it was closed to everyone else. We had Chef Niki all to ourselves. It was way awesome cool. Like having a private dinner with your friends at a secret restaurant, and having the chef all to yourself. Prior to the dinner, I communicated with Niki about the general foodie background of our group, and anything in particular any of us don't eat. When we arrived, Niki chatted with us, she is so friendly and down to earth. Our waiter was also very friendly and quite jovial.

Now, the food:
1. Lobster with avocado ravioli, the avocado was in some sort of clear little round sack (use of gelatin?), I don't know how she did that. Ok, my description is probably not very good, but the dish was.
2. A trio of kumamotos, each with a different sauce: orange saba, yuzu, ponzu.
3. Sashimi: Japanese snapper, toro, scallop from Japan.
4. My friends all had the kobe beef from Japan, and all got very quiet while the beef was blowing their minds. Since I don't eat beef, Niki made for me: Chilean seabass--it was perfectly seared, so fresh and beautiful. Both dishes came with truffled mashed potatoes.
5. Shitake mushroom stuffed with shrimp, in a dashi broth, with mitsuba.
6. Foie gras with unagi risotto.
7. Sushi: sweet shrimp, Japanese snapper, Scottish salmon, Spanish mackerel, kanpachi, uni.
8. Dessert: sake braised fig, green tea creme brulee, banana tempura, with vanilla bean sauce.

It was a wonderful, delicious, excellent dinner. In a couple of years, Niki will have her own place on Overland and Palms. I can't wait!

Inaka Seafood Gourmet
838 S. Baldwin Avenue
Arcadia, CA 91007
(626) 254-9926

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    1. Just out of curiosity, how long was your meal?

      1 Reply
      1. re: justeat

        I think it was a couple of hours. It was very well paced. We brought some wines and sake, and it was very relaxing.

      2. she is coming to the westside? yay!

        1. OH my god!!! Inaka is totally AWESOME. We were a group of 9 to celebrate my husband's birthday. It was the most most wonderful, delicious and unforgettable dining experience at Inaka.. The sashimi is soooo fresh... I love the Foie Gras and kobe beef! They are totally mind-blowing!!! My friend, who doesnt take beef had soft shell crabs with mayo/seasame dressing yuzu flavor. It is totally AMAZING too! (Yes, I couldnt help it and took a bite of her share) ... And SUSHI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...Uni, Salmon, Kanpachi(my FAV), Hamachi, Mackerel....etc...I remember I got really depressed for a while when Chef Niki wasn't at Azami anymore because I was totally addicted to her sushi....hahahah... All of us enjoyed the dinner thoroughly, especially my husband who couldnt stop complimenting how delicious and yummy the food is..... I definitely will make another reservation in Dec again...DEFINITELY DEFINITELY......!!!

          1. Sounds great and what a bargain! Do you need to book the whole table or will they take reservations for couples and foursomes?(not that it wouldn't be great but I wouldn't mind trying it sooner than such an occassion presents itself!)