Monday, May 12, 2008

Nami

Visited on Thursday, May 1st with Kyle and Kate

Nami

Erin's Review
Our visit to Nami was very spur of the moment, and followed a work happy hour at Drink (for the free taco bar) as well as the Brew 52 informal meet-up at Ugly Mug, so it wasn't really a clear dining experience for me at least, thanks to the few beers I'd had before we got there. I really wasn't even that hungry when we got there, having filled up on the free food at Drink before going to Ugly Mug (which seems to suck now - bad service, plus it was approximately 90 degrees in there).

Like Ben says below, Nami is really weirdly laid out, there isn't as much room as I thought there would be, unless I was missing something. We saw the bar area, a tiny dining area, and the sushi bar, and that's it. If there is more, someone please comment here to let us know.

Inside of Nami
(lounge)

I was pleasantly surprised to see the "First Thursday of the Month" happy hour deals that were available at Nami - a few different rolls, some other appetizers, and drinks. When the waitress came over, she was kind of odd. We had already been sitting there awhile, so we knew what we wanted. Once we ordered our drinks, we tried to order the food, but she stopped us and wouldn't let us order, and went away, only to return a long time later with our drinks. It was kind of busy in there, but I thought it was odd that she wouldn't even allow us to say our orders.

Menu

We got the few rolls that were on the happy hour menu (spicy tuna and Philadelphia), along with the eel and avocado roll. The rolls were fine, but did taste a little mass produced to me, which makes sense since it was a happy hour special that we ordered. Who am I to say though, as I wasn't exactly in the right state of mind to be criticizing much of anything.

sushi

I'm glad we tried Nami out and got the happy hour special. I don't know if I'll be back for awhile as there are several other sushi places on our list that I'd like to try first, but I'd go there again for the deals. The regular menu seemed to be quite expensive.

Ben's Review
Erin and I had plans to go out for the brew52 meet-up on Thursday night at the Ugly Mug (formerly Harvey's) downtown. We hung out at the Ugly Mug for a couple drinks (I only had a sip of the Black Helicopter and that's all I needed) with Becky, Rett, Kyle, Kate, and others. Eventually it was just Kyle, Kate, and us left and we were thinking that moving indoors, and food, would be a good idea, so we headed across the street to Nami.

I had seen Nami from the street before and it always looks huge from the outside. It occupies and entire corner of a block so it has tons of large windows that make it look expansive. After walking inside, however, you realize that in spite of the large size, its really poorly laid out inside. There is a lounge/bar to your left, the (small) dining area to your right and then directly in front of you as you walk in is just a lot of open space, with a sushi bar a little further back. It's a little strange.

Inside of Nami
(Sushi bar area)

We grabbed a table in the lounge which was pleasantly busy; you don't want a place to be dead, but you also don't want it to be so packed that you can't get service, we caught it right at the sweet spot. It was the first Thursday of the month, so apparently that means there are deals at Nami :) You could get select top shelf drinks for $4, (vodka, gin, etc. no scotch unfortunately) and they had some deals on select rolls.

I ordered a vodka tonic, Erin predictably ordered a bottle of "whatever light beer you have" and Kate and Kyle each got drinks as well. In spite of the bar not being packed it actually DID take a long time for my drink to make its way to my mouth, which was disappointing. When our server brought us our drinks we placed our food order: a couple rolls for the whole table, side of white rice for me, and pot stickers for Kate and Kyle.

Our food came out after a reasonable wait, albeit without my white rice (for some reason sushi places cannot remember my white rice order, EVER). To me, the white rice at sushi places is just as delectable as the sushi itself so I make a point to remind them of it. She brought it out right away, its not like they need to special order a batch of white rice.

sushi

The sushi was great, we got a variety of rolls, and the white rice was also fantastic. I put a little too much soy sauce in the rice, but that didn't stop Kate and Kyle from finishing it off for me, I'm glad it didn't go to waste :)

We ate, finished our drinks and left. We didn't stick around too long as I recall, as we had been out since 5 and it was now 9:30 or so. I think our bill was ~$25 before tip, not bad for getting my fill of sushi, rice, and vodka - I can't complain.

The ratings:

  • Service: Service was average, our drinks took awhile for no apparent reason.
  • Food: The rolls and rice were excellent. I can't speak for the pot stickers, but there weren't any left.
  • Drinks: Mostly tap beers, as is common at sushi places, and a full bar. Good deals on the first Thursday of the month.
  • Ambiance: The atmosphere was great for a Thursday night, it was humming - not rowdy, but active. I wonder if it's any different on weekend nights.
  • Price: Our tab was around ~25 which was standard for some rolls and couple drinks. If we had to pay full price for all the items it might be a little spendy for what you get.
  • Convenience: Nami is downtown in the warehouse district so if you drive, you gotta pay for parking, otherwise its near the light rail stop and the bus line. Even though we both work downtown, I still paid for parking over by the restaurant so we wouldn't have to walk fifteen blocks back to the car.

Deets
Nami
251 1st Ave N.
Minneapolis

Recommended for the happy hour deals.

2 comments:

Kristi said...

I can't wait to try this place! I love sushi and have heard Nami is pretty good :)

Scott McGerik said...

Nami is a favorite sushi bar for Kat and I. It is my second favorite after the Origami in Ridgedale.

My recommendation is, if there are only a few of you, is to sit at the sushi bar and order omakase. Be sure to ask for Hide or Yo as they are both good sushi chefs.

I like the lay out of Nami because it breaks the space into smaller areas. But, since I've only sat in the dining area twice, I can't really speak to that experience. However, I like that the sushi bar is not backed up against the dining area.