Tuesday, December 22, 2009

still constructing sushi

I had this flier on my car this morning:

Looks like the 100 Block construction project is taking its toll. Admittedly, I had not been to Nama in quite some time since back in October, I put myself on a strict social budget. But last week, some good friends were in town and a group of us went to Nama on Thursday night. I had forgotten how good it is.

Since I live on the 100 block, it makes me sad every time I walk past Nama and Havana only to see that they're pretty much empty. A lot of times, Nama still appears to be crowded, but the crowds are nothing like they used to be back in the day. I suppose it's a double whammy - the construction project combined with the fact that a lot of people have lighter wallets these days.

Hopefully Nama's new promotion will carry them through the lighter times. I can't wait until the construction project is finished and the 100 block is bustling again with residents and visitors. In the mean time, I encourage visitors to come and dine at the two great restaurants on the block. Nama's got their half off promotion, and Havana always has dollar and two-dollar drafts.


Athomp said...

That is sad to see :( The city should be giving them the money to stay in business...it's not really fair.

Chris Eaker said...

I try to get by for lunch on Saturdays. I spend the morning enjoying a cup of joe at Remedy and then walk over to Nama for lunch. I wish they had 1/2 off for lunch.

The Modern Gal said...

The last time I went, I hate to say the sushi seemed a little less than Nama-esque quality. But, for half-priced sushi and wine, I really have no excuse not to go. I hope Nama and the rest can make it throught. It really is rotten what they're having to put up with.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the MG, last few times there the quality hasn't been up to par. Hope they get their act together soon! -PP

Athomp said...

Perhaps that's because they lost their main Exec Chef awhile back. Friends of mine told me that had a lot to do with it. He got fired (quit?) when Gregg sold his shares to Puelos guy, whatever his name is. With sushi, everything hinges on how good the chef is. From the quality of the meat you eat to the way it looks on the plate.

Half-price sushi might seem like a great deal to you, but consider this....when restaurants push their FOOD out at half-price or as a cheap special, it is usually because that product is on the verge of going south. You don't want to take the loss so you push it out. I'm not saying Nama is doing this method, but perhaps that explains the lackluster experience?

Unknown said...

Tried to go to the Bearden Nama a few Mondays ago and the wait was over thirty minutes, so maybe they can prop up the downtown location a bit too.

Southern Farm Boy said...

em - Thanks for the kind words. The construction has definitely slowed things down on the wonderful 100 Block of Gay Street. Hope to see you soon and we stay as committed as ever to providing a fun and different take on wonderful sushi.

The Modern Gal and Athomp - My apologies for your experiences not being up to the standard. I assure you that we still source ALL of our fish from the very same purveyors that we have always used, and we still receive deliveries every day of the week. We just are not ordering as much each day. And let me say that the Big Eye Tuna has been AMAZING lately. The Construction Half Off Special Sushi Menu is meant to provide an incentive to all those wonderful people that choose to visit us on the 100 Block while we go through our redevelopment pains. While it is true that Mr. J Cooney, our spiky haired guru of great sushi, moved to Denver, he actually stayed on for quite a bit after Mr. White left, and it was quite an honor to train at his elbow for those months. Nama has hired a wonderful and talented Sushi Chef with over 16 years of sushi experience with 6 of those years being formal apprenticeship in Japan. Welcome to Knoxville Masa!

I actually worked on Market Square during the renovation work there and let me tell you that the project on the 100 Block has been much smoother. The city and the contractors are doing a great job with a very difficult situation, and we are trying our very best at Nama to offer wonderful sushi and wonderful service every day. Some days are slower than others, but with everyone's help August 2010 will get here in no time and the 100 Block will be the pristine beauty we all dream about. Thank you Knoxville for this wonderful time!

Stanton Webster
General Manager
Nama Sushi Bar Downtown

Robert said...


I've never had a problem with taste of your sushi. Even after Cooney left. The problem I have been seeing lately is that my rolls rarely stay together anymore.

On another note any chance of you guys getting different desserts? Love your sushi, but can't stand the dessert. Thanks

Southern Farm Boy said...

Robert - Thanks for the feedback. We will definitely work on it, as it is always frustrating to have the center of the roll plop out on the way to the mouth (and disappointing too!). Interesting that you mention the desserts and needing something new. We have been testing several new dessert offerings at Nama Bearden and we will be "unveiling" some new sweet treats in January Downtown! We will post it on Facebook or you can follow us on Twitter and we will keep you updated. Thanks again.

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Mickey said...

You FORGOT how good Nama is? I don't buy that. Thanks to you, I'll always feel like I don't know what good sushi really is because I never ate at Nama. It'll haunt me until I manage to get back to Knoxville and put that ghost to rest.

max said...

i visited nama a couple of nights ago. it was amazing. and it was busy. nothing like good people and sushi and wine.

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