Hey there friends, welcome back to another edition of Scruffy City Simplified, your favorite guide to the best pieces of food and fun in the Knoxville area. This week I’d like to turn your attention to Nama, my pick for the best sushi joint in town. Odds are you’ve driven past one of their three locations, eaten there or been told by a friend, “Hey dude, go eat sushi at Nama, it’s great.” If that doesn’t describe you, then let me be that friend, because you’re really missing out.
I know, sushi can be intimidating. If you’ve never eaten it, the idea of paying money to eat raw fish might not seem totally rational. It really is just one of those things you can’t knock until you try, and Nama is probably the best place to have a first experience with the binge-worthy, wallet-evaporating treat that is sushi. Trust me, if my first mouthful of California roll had been at Nama instead of a second-rate Chinese buffet, I would’ve warmed up to sushi a whole lot quicker.
By now you’ve no doubt made up your mind to go try sushi tonight, but you’re faced with another incredible challenge: “What on Earth do I order?” Well, lucky for you, I’ve got four excellent recommendations with your name on them, assuming your name is Cali, Pizza, Crispy Veggie or Chef.
The California roll, or Cali as Nama has dubbed it, is the all-time classic. It was my first roll and probably 90% of sushi lovers’, too. Consisting of nothing but (cooked) crab meat, avocado, cucumber, rice and seaweed, this mild roll is the perfect introduction to the world of sushi.
For those feeling just a tad more adventurous, I highly recommend the Pizza roll. If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “Man, I sure wish this microwavable, breaded pizza snack had more raw fish in it,” then this is the roll for you. Served warm, this unusual savory roll might not be for the purists, but it has quickly become one of my personal favorites.
For those that don’t love eating once-living creatures, Nama also has some awesome vegetarian sushi options, such as the Crispy Veggie roll.
For those constantly stuck in bouts of indecision, I cannot recommend the Chef’s roll enough. One time I was feeling adventurous — and a little overwhelmed by the menu — and decided to give it a go. Basically, the chef makes whatever they feel like that night. The server will usually ask you a question or two about how spicy you’d like it and if there’s any ingredient you hate, and 10 minutes later you’re eating a totally unique, once-in-a-lifetime roll.
This has quickly become my favorite way to Nama. You skip all the wandering about what you want and get straight to eating something exciting. In the five or six times I’ve done this, I’ve never had anything that was flat out bad. There has certainly been a roll or two that wasn’t quite to my taste, but that’s part of the risk you take on. There have been one or two nameless mystery rolls so scrumptious that I am to this day kept up by the knowledge that I’ll never eat them again.
Well, I hope I’ve done something to sell you on one of my favorite Knoxville restaurants. I know that price can be a bit of a concern when it comes to good sushi, so I highly recommend half-off Mondays and Thursdays. Twice a week, a large portion of Nama’s menu is sold for half price with no catch! This is by far the best way to get the most bang for your buck.
Whether you’re looking for a good spot for your next date night, wanting to treat yourself after a long week or trying to break records with your seven best friends some Thursday afternoon, Nama is the place to go. With three locations in Knoxville and late hours, it’s always convenient.
Good luck, good eats and goodbye!
Fulton Myrick is a sophomore at UTK this year majoring in journalism and cinema studies. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Columns and letters of The Daily Beacon are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Beacon or the Beacon's editorial staff.