Where suburban diners find Malaysian dishes that mesh familiar Asian flavors with Californian sensibilities.
Named after a subset of Malaysian cuisine, Nonya's decor follows the East-meets-West theme. The industrial-chic dining room reflects a palette of grays and blacks. Feng shui splashes come via an auspiciously placed fountain that dominates the entryway, and a line of potted bamboo that lines an otherwise stark concrete wall.
Nonya cuisine joins Chinese techniques with Malaysian ingredients, such as silky coconut milk paired with potent Southeast Asian spices. But there are not many ardent diners won't recognize; the sizzling "drunken" shrimp, served fajita-style with snap-fresh vegetables, and a steamed sea bass bathing in a shallot-soy sauce, lean more on fresh ingredients than unique flavor combinations. There are bold bursts of flavor here and there, especially a Dungeness crab spiked with black peppercorns and curry leaves, and a duck breast wrapped in a wonton wrapper and complimented by a dusky sauce. Desserts, however, are nearly unknown to Western palates--vanilla ice cream crowns a mixture of herbal jelly cubes, red beans and coconut milk.