Opening Night: Not Your Mama’s Nama

Urban Woman enters Nama on Opening Night, Gay Street, Knoxville, February 2011

I realize it was more like a four block move, but this Nama is not your mama’s Nama. It has probably three times the space of the old location and the interior is pretty cool with the lights behind the sushi bar and the reflective tiles. The seats are comfortable leather, though we took a booth for opening night. The booths, by the way are several inches more generous on each side of the table than most of the booth seating downtown and that was nice.

I was a bit disappointed with the crowd. We called ahead anticipating a full house and a wait and found that it was busy, but not crowded. Part of that has to do with the size. I realized as I looked around that the 75% capacity crowd would have completely overwhelmed the original site. There is also considerable seating outside on the front and the side of the restaurant, though the temperature was a few degrees shy of making that a tempting option on this night.

Good crowd on opening night, Nama, Gay Street, Knoxville, February 2011

The menu has been expanded and includes far more than sushi, with a hot foods section, vegetarian section and salads. I would call it fairly pricey. For two of us to eat average priced dishes, our bill came to $45 with taxes and tip. Not horrible, but certainly not something we could do every night. There are ways to beat the cost just a bit. For starters, they are having half-price night tomorrow night in honor of their opening. (Typical for my luck.) Also, each day from 4:00 – 6:00 they have two different sushi rolls for half price as well as a variety of reduced price drinks.

Orange Shrimp, Nama, Gay Street, Knoxville, February 2011

The food was excellent and the service was pleasant. We had the orange shrimp and the Soy Joy. The orange shrimp was different from that we’ve had in other restaurants in that it wasn’t fried, which was nice.

By the way, I’m including food pictures for the first time. One of my faithful readers and a very dear old friend commented recently that he just can’t get enough of photographs of food. So, these are for him. I learned that it isn’t as easy to photograph food as I thought it might be. If you like great pictures of food, I have two great blogs you should check out: Newlywed in New Orleans and Dale Mackey’s blog. I enjoy them both and I promise: they have great pictues of food.

Soy Joy, Nama, Gay Street, Knoxville, February 2011
The Soy Joy is a sushi roll which was developed at Nama and it consists of nori, sushi rice, albacore tataki, cucumber and three sauces including a sake-flavored sauce, wasabi sauce and an eel sauce all wrapped in soy paper which gives the exterior a little crunch. I’m not sure what half of those ingredients are, but it doesn’t matter: It’s fantastic. I also found that I’ve retained my chops with the sticks pretty well: I made it through the entire meal without the use of a western utensil!

Be sure to give them some business soon. They’ll appreciate it and you’ll enjoy it. You’ll probably be more likely to run in to me between 4:00 and 6:00 getting the low-priced goods. See you there.