Nana San - Newport Beach, CA
After getting omakase at Ohshima, Kurt said I had to try Nana San. This restaurant has seriously been on my bookmarked list for over a year after a recommendation from a few people, but I now have people to keep me company for this. The establishment is small and cozy, but the ambiance is so warm, inviting and joyous. I don't know if I was in a good mood or what, but we went a little cray on this meal. So worth it though! We sat at the bar for omakase and we were honored to be served by the owner, Goro san. He was an absolute pleasure to meet and according to Kurt, he doesn't make an appearance often so it was a treat! Even better, I got this view all night.
First order of business, beer! There was a blue bottle on the top shelf I had never seen so I had inquired about it and then ordered it. It's an unfiltered beer called Ginga Kogen. It was awesome and I recommend giving it a try! It's nothing like Sapporo or Kirin, but heavier in taste and comparable to like, a wheat ale. Just try it.
Goro san asked us if we had any preferences. Knowing us, nope! I am down to try anything once. So to begin the meal, we were offered this. It's octopus paired with a house sauce (I think) and green onions. The octopus was firm and not chewy at all!
And then our omakase meal took off and let me just warn you...this is going to be a long post. Haha!
Bluefin tuna and yellowtail (hamachi). I am rarely a fan of maguro or bluefin, but this one was so buttery and silky. Could not believe!
Tried chawanmushi for the first time. The egg custard was very light and it had bits of shrimp, scallops, mushrooms and asparagus. Comes in a cute little pot too.
I don't remember exactly what each one is, but there's red snapper, seabass and halibut. The fourth piece down from the top was AMAZING. Much flavor. So wow.
King Salmon and seared Scottish Salmon. The seared fish took on a very buttery texture. And I know I keep saying this, but it seriously melted, just disintegrated once it hit the tongue.
Spanish mackerel. I typically am not a fan of mackerel, but this one was not fishy at all. We were actually served this twice, but I think the beers for Goro san were taking effect. We also bought a bottle for the sushi chefs as well. I'm telling you guys, it was a good night all around!
Live sweet shrimp! Goro San brought out the chosen ones, tore their heads off and then put the bowl of heads in front of us. Not for the faint of heart since they are still kicking and moving around, but you can't deny the freshness!
Monkfish Liver (ankimo). Served as a nigiri and slightly torched, I was in heaven. I had never had ankimo this way before so it was pleasantly surprising how it changed texturally.
Baby Sea Bream, which I learned is the same as red snapper. For this one, Goro san seared the skin and lightly brushed with soy sauce. So tender.
King Scallop (hotate). One of my favs! Lightly salted.
Sea Eel fresh from the oven.
While we were waiting for the sea eel though, Goro san had prepared negitoro. So noms and always good!
I've only had abalone once before and was willing to try it again, but Goro san said it was sold out and surprised us with this one instead. Abalone liver....didn't even know this existed.
To end our extraordinary meal, a palate cleansing salted plum was given by Goro san. It helps with digestion, but a citrus jello was also presented. So light and a perfect closer.
By the end of the night, I think we had split about 5 bottles among the three of us, but I still remembered each bite so vividly. Unfortunately, we didn't have any uni this round. Goro san said this season has been bad with the climate changes and hasn't been able to get some in for awhile. /sigh.
For my first time here, it was phenomenal and according to Kurt, one of his best experiences at Nana San. It was a lot of fun sitting at the bar and the night varies depending on your company from patrons and chef alike, but ours was definitely enjoyable. If you're open to new experiences, I recommend going for omakase. Your experience is unique and you learn a lot of new things along the way. Bring a friend and try it out :)
3601 Jamboree Rd, Suite 15B
Newport Beach, CA 92660