Last month when we talked to Donald Chang, the chef and owner at soon-to-open Japanese and Korean fusion place Nara, he told Eater that the name had two meanings: Nara is a Japanese capital, and it also means "country as in 'our country', so that's why we're showcasing the Korean food that we have," Chang said at the time. It will offer a sushi bar and other Japanese options, the type of cuisine that Chang has been cooking for 23 years, but the menu will also reflect his Korean roots. The modern Korean-inspired kitchen will boast recipes from his family, as well as his own spin on traditional Korean dishes.
And if you think you've heard the name Nara before, that's because it was also the name of the Japanese restaurant that he closed several years ago, after a decade-long run. A chef at this forthcoming restaurant tells Eater that they should be opening in about a week, after some tasting events. The space has been completely transformed from its Katsuya days, when it contained gaudy furnishings, was plastered with a mural of red lips and was filled with over-the-top décor. As of today, the new space looks almost ready to go. It already has its wine on display within four glass walls, a contemporary bar with cherry blossoms hanging over some seats and a private dining area for special events. Check back for the official opening date.