Review: Sushi Nami Royal
1535 Dresden Row – 902.422.9020 – Website
Date of Visit: July 10, 3:30
I espied this restaurant not far from the hotel I was staying at in Halifax just recently and I was attracted by the long list of appetizers featured in the menu posted outside the main entrance. The following day, I stopped in for a long lunch and, while it was not the best Japanese dining experience of my life, it was still a very enjoyable meal…
Ambience and Service
Nami Sushi has four locations: three in the Halifax area and one, I was surprised to learn, in Beijing. The location on Dresden Row is moderately sized, seating around 80 people I would judge, and it has a sushi bar in one part, and large plate glass windows lining almost the whole premises giving everything a pleasant, airy brightness.
I was served by two waitresses during my visit. The first was very diffidently shy and not entirely comfortable with English, it seemed, while the other, who came across as a little distant and cold, at first, warmed up and became very friendly and chatty as I asked her about various menu items. In any event, the quality of the service from start to finish was excellent.
Sunomono Salad – This selection included shrimp, cucumber, crab, octopus, surf clam, seaweed and fish roe. The waitress said dressing was Ponzu but it seemed more like a Sanbaizu to me. In any event, all the salad items seemed very sweet and tasty to me but, for my taste, a less acidic dressing would be better. Rating: 3 out of 5.
Sashimi – For this selection, I chose the Maguro (yellowfin tuna) and Hotategai (scallop). Although the presentation was quite nice, the dish as a whole wasn’t terribly impressive. The fish and scallop were not very expertly cut and neither, sad to say, were particularly fresh. I have since been told that Halifax is not an easy place to obtain good quality Sashimi or Sushi and I would have to agree that this was the case here at Nami. Rating: 2 out of 5.
Tako Karaage – It is unfortunate that I forgot to photograph this selection until I was halfway finished as the presentation appearance has been somewhat lost. The dish consisted of whole baby octopus that were lightly starch coated and fried, served in a broth reminiscent of a Kakejiru, and garnished with black sesame, scallion and Katsuobushi. The amount of broth was surprising as it softened the crispiness of the fried coating, but I actually quite liked the result and the added smokiness of the bonito flakes really made this enjoyable. Rating: 4 out of 5.
Beef Tataki – This was quite an unusual for a Tataki presentation. The beef was a bit less rare than is often the case, and the miso-based sauce and seasonings were so liberally applied as to almost obscure the slices. The presentation wasn’t the prettiest I have ever seen but the flavor was very nice. Rating: 3 out of 5.
Softshell Crab – The whole crab was lightly battered, fried and served with a plum sauce on the side. The first bite of each piece yielded an unusual, but very brief ‘raw-fish’ taste (which could have been avoided with a quick rinse using bicarbonate, or marinating with some ginger), but other than this the effect was very nice. The flavor was good, the ‘skin’ crispy like chicken, and the plum sauce, while nice, was really not needed. Rating: 4 out of 5.
I enjoyed this meal very much, despite some of my observations, and I ended up recommending the place to my sister and parents when we went out for lunch a few days later. There are plenty more items on the extensive appetizer selection that I would still like to try and I would happily return sometime. Nami Sushi could really spend a bit more time on plating and presentation, but the dining experience was still pleasant. Rating: 3 out of 5.