Amazing sushi in the smoky mountains? That was my initial reaction when my friend Carly suggested we visit Nama. I enjoy being proven wrong when it comes to my preconceived culinary notions, so I agreed. Carly and I were both pretty hungry and ordered shrimp and crab dip, and 3 rolls of sushi.
The shrimp and crab dip was served warm with triangles of pita bread. I love attention to detail and having the Nama logo adorning the top of the dip was a clever touch. I think Carly’s description of the dip was right on when she said ” its like heaven”. The dip was rich, creamy and full of flavor. I was a bit skeptical of using pita bread to excavate the dip from the vessel in front of us, but they worked really well. The triangle shape and flexibility of the bread made an excellent scoop allowing us to wipe the bowl clean.
Next, an enormous tray of sushi was delivered to us. In the pictures I have identified each kind was so you can follow along.
Jg- Panko crusted whitefish, snow crab and cucumber center, topped with seared tuna tataki, avocado, garlic, ponzu and green onion.
Bahama mama- shrimp, snow crab and cucumber center, topped with halibut avocado, and green onion. Garnished with a coconut milk sauce and sprinkled with Japanese 7 pepper.
Soy joy- (found on the special menu) spicy tuna, albacore tuna, and cucumber rolled in crunchies and then wrapped in soy paper. this was topped with aioli, green onion and sesame seeds. Next to the roll were wasabi, fantasy, and eel sauces.
Sushi to me needs texture and layers of flavor. When dealing with raw fish and rice you can end up with a soggy and bland dish if you leave one of theses factors out. This was not a problem for any of the rolls we tried. The cucumber in the Jg and Bahama mama offered a nice crunch. The panko in the Jg was especially nice.
The real standout of the meal to me was the Soy joy. The soy paper added a unique crunch and taste to the roll like I had never tasted. That combined with the 3 sauces that you dragged your piece through before eating added wonderful layers to the flavor.
Overall I must say I was impressed. I was proven wrong and you can find amazing sushi in the smoky mountains. Well done Nama, and I look forward to making a return trip when I am in Knoxville again.