Necco, a Japanese restaurant located on Westwood Blvd., is the type of restaurant that you would expect the musical artist Lorde to enjoy. Specializing in small plates, Necco is unassuming and smart, serving food that has been elevated to the level of art (it also happens to be a favorite of Lorde’s). In Japanese, Necco means “root,”so much of the menu is devoted to vegetables.
We started with the tofu char siu, which I had thought might be better bang for my buck since the primary ingredient is tofu. When the dish arrived with a mere four pieces, I was a little disappointed (though if I had looked on the menu online I would have seen that there are only four pieces). I love eating char siu, the Chinese barbecue pork usually coated in a red sauce, so I was intrigued by a tofu interpretation. The tofu char siu did not taste anything like char siu – more like a marinated tofu without any strong flavor.
A better return on the dollar was the spicy calamari. Lightly coated in cayenne-spiked tempura batter, the calamari was good, not too chewy and not too greasy. A couple of pieces of lotus root were included and offered an interesting contrast.
I loved the roasted kabocha pumpkin topped with fried garlic slices and saffron threads, on a bed of green beans. The green beans were tinged with soy sauce and cooked perfectly.
The whimsically named Ocean Bite consisted of three different fish – albacore, tuna and salmon – on top of a bed of sushi rice. The best was the salmon with the roe on top.
The portions here are small so one would need to order a few dishes per person – the better to sample more items! Prices are on the high side, though it’s matched by the quality and presentation of food. Ingredients are fresh and the dishes seem healthy, though not in a bland sort of way. The kitchen is open to the dining room so you can see the chefs busy, working away at crafting little masterpieces.
While Lorde may summon chef Kenji Koyama to be her personal chef during a stint at Coachella, you too can eat like a rock star at Necco.
Location – 1929 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles 90025
Website – http://necco-restaurant.com
Kid-Friendly – Yes
Kid’s Menu – No
Pesco-Vegetarian Friendly – Yes
Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly – Yes
Gluten-Free Options – Yes