12 Jun Please The Palate Pick of the Week: N/Soto Izakaya Bento
The art of plating food is typically lost when ordering takeout. But, not when you order an Izakaya Bento box from N/Soto, the newest project from chef-owner Niki Nakauama and her sous chef and wife Carole Iida-Nakyama. Beautiful presentation and tasty flavors make the Izakaya Bento box from N/Soto the Please The Palate pick of the week.
Two-Michelin-starred n/naka shifted from dine-in service to bento boxes to-go during the pandemic. As hard as it was to get a reservation at n/naka before the pandemic, it was equally as difficult to order a bento box. Month after month over the past year, I would receive an email from n/naka but by the time I went onto Tock, it would be sold out. So, when I received an email about n/soto, her new project, I immediately went online and was able to place an order!
Born during the pandemic, n/soto is chef Niki Nakayama’s second concept. “Soto” means “outside” in Japanese. And the concept of n/soto is to “step outside of the familiar, and welcome the opportunity to learn from the bigger world around us and to shape our understanding of one another. We believe food can bring people together. It opens up new worlds and shapes our understanding of one another.”
The current Izakaya bento box explored tastes and textures that will be found on the future dine-in menu at n/soto. The bento box was filled with colorful bites full of flavor.
One container contained Yuzu Kosho Grilled Kanpanchi, Asari Clams and Potato Gratin, a Honey Glazed Jidori Chicken Wing, Peads adn Barnetts Pork Belly Confit with Gochujang, Aonori Fried Shrimp with Kumquat Aioli, Oden-style Braised Daikon and Chikuwa Fish Cake, Kinpira Celery, Seasonal Pickles, and Koshihikari Onigiri.
Another container held Sashimi (Big Eye Tune, Tasmanian Sea Trout, Kombu Cured Branzino), Ika Nuta with Mustard Miso Squid Salad, Hokkaido Scallop Sashimi Salad with Ume Vinaigrette, Tofu Shirae with Seasonal Vegetables, and Albacore, Shrimp, Avocado, and Asparagus Roll with Garlic Ponzu.
For a last savory course, there was Yaki Onigiri, Salmon, Ikura, Kaiware, and Wasabi to be topped with Dashi Soup and Kizami Nori Arare.
And for dessert, there was a container with Hojicha Panna Cotta, Butter Mochi and Seasonal Fruit.
As delicious as the Izakaya bento from n/soto was, it was even more enjoyable because a portion of the proceeds from each Izakaya Bento will be donated to Asian Americans Advancing Justice, a non-profit organization that advocates for an America in which all Americans can benefit equally from, and contribute to, the American Dream. Nothing is better than pleasing the palate while also using food to raise funds to help others.
n/soto is located in West Adams and is currently only offering takeout service but will eventually offer patio dining with an izakaya-inspired a la carte menu, and ultimately indoor dining. Until then, I am getting ready to place another takeout order on Tock.com!
566 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016