BEST JAPANESE RESTAURANT - 2003
Not long ago Nami celebrated its one-year anniversary, and already this mere babe on the local scene has toddled to the top of the heap. Why? The elegant, soaring warehouse space that feels more Miami than Minnesota, the throbbing late-night bar that feels more Milan than Minnesota, and, of course, the low, low prices that feel more Minnesota than we ever could have hoped for. Hey there, they got a good value over there now, you betcha! The restaurant does well with all sorts of categories of food: It's a sweet spot for Japanese bar snacks and drinks; comfort foods like tonkatsu (a fried pork cutlet) and rice; a low-cal business lunch conveniently located halfway between the corporate towers of Nicollet and the art and ad-agency corrals of the Warehouse District; and even plenty of fear-free dishes like New York strip steak. This is more useful than you might think, because sometimes you just need to schedule back-to-back appointments with your mom's accountant, your art director, and your sorority's alumnae group. When you need to do that, Nami is the only Japanese restaurant that fits the bill. So here's the only question remaining: How on earth did we survive during the dark days 14 months ago?