Hot new affordable sushi spot Nami Nori gets the two-star treatment from Times critic Pete Wells this week. The West Village restaurant — run by three seasoned Masa vets — specializes in temaki, hand rolls that here arrive in a U-shape, and Wells finds that fine dining experience to come through at Nami Nori in “attention to minor details” that make the restaurant feel hospitable.
He digs the miso-clam soup, the fried squid, the ice cream sandwiches, and of course, a slew of the temaki:
Korea muscles into the striped-bass temaki with a fiery streak of chojang and a freshening garnish of slivered perilla leaves and daikon. China has made some exciting appearances, lending some XO sauce to the sea-scallop roll and fermented bean-chile sauce to a composition that distinctly evokes mapo tofu. It is one of several vegan temaki, including an irresistible one filled with eggplant pulp broiled with miso. A scattering of gobo chips on top serves the same function as the potato sticks on a Venezuelan hot dog.
The loose rice is also well-seasoned, and the nori “will be so crisp that your teeth will slice through it like razor blades,” he writes.
Owners Taka Sakaeda, Jihan Lee, and Lisa Limb opened Nami Nori in September, the goal being to serve high-quality fish at an approachable price. It’s since been packed, with lines nightly because it doesn’t take many reservations. In a first look review, Eater critic Robert Sietsema found it fun and affordable.
Though a meal can be more than $100 per person here, it’s also possible to dine for less than $30, Wells writes. Things like the rice and nori “are among the small pleasures a very good sushi counter reliably offers, generally at a much higher price,” he says. Two stars.