When Heirloom closed in 2017, downtown Lafayette lost a unique part of its restaurant scene. Nami’s Bar & Grill, which opened in the same space at the end of 2018, is a worthy successor. Nami’s is not a new Heirloom — it is its own thing — but it is a welcome addition. I recently visited with a friend for a Friday afternoon lunch and was pleased with what I saw. The restaurant isn’t directly accessible off the street; you have to walk into the building first. But once you’re inside, a comforting space awaits.
The dining area is walled off in several sections, giving the place a cozy feel. The lighting is bright enough to see well, but dim enough that you don’t feel like you’re being interrogated. The walls are adorned with artwork, much of which is for sale. And the music selection was top notch. If it wasn’t the “yacht rock” station on Spotify, it was a good imitation. I heard at least two Hall & Oates songs while we were there.
But as nice as the ambiance was, I went to Nami’s because I was hungry. I ordered the lobster roll with fries and my friend ordered the Nami bowl — think poke but with chicken (or shrimp). It was a tough choice, since the lunch menu has a variety of appealing options. I was particularly impressed with the number (read: non-zero) of vegan options.
I tried the fries first. They’re pub chip style, but with a rippled cut. I was surprised at how thick they were — nearly steak fry in nature. But the outside was terrifically crisp, with a mushy potatoness in the middle. I don’t know how they got the outside to be so crisp without being overdone, but I approve. The lobster mix was fairly nondescript. It tasted like lobster, which is good, but it didn’t really stand out one way or another. But the roll. Oh the roll was so buttery. It took all my self-control to eat slowly and enjoy it.
My friend was a little bit apprehensive about having tomatoes in the bowl. It turns out her skepticism was unfounded. She told me the tomatoes gave it “a nice depth of flavor.” The cilantro and bean sprouts added to the mix. But the star of the show was the spicy mayo. She wanted more of it, but by the time our server came back around, she had eaten most of the bowl. Alas.
We were both content after our meals, but the idea of dessert was welcome. Given the choice of carrot cake, chocolate cake, and salted caramel cheesecake, we opted for the cheesecake.
This turned out to be an excellent idea. The cheesecake was tall and well-whipped. It was very fluffy and the topping was just the right amount of sweet. I’m looking forward to returning to try the dinner menu and the bar selection.
Kid friendly: No (21+)
Location: 102 N 3rd Street, #101 (map it)
Phone: (765) 607-1176