Namaste Cafe and ŌM

Since moving to the Twin Cities 3-plus years ago, I’ve been a one-salon kind of girl, getting my hair cut, colored, and styled at Evolution on Lyndale, a salon owned by Matt Swinney, who I wholeheartedly vote the best stylist in MSP. Right, I know this is one of the two salons I’ve been to, but I still know he is worthy of the vote. He has impeccable taste, graceful styling skills, and a salon that absolutely comes from his heart.

Today Matt told me about the restaurant ŌM opening at 401 First Avenue North in Minneapolis in the spring. I’ve been following ŌM’s Tweets, so I perked up when he told me about the plans for the food and suggested I sign up to be an “ŌM enthusiast,” which promises to make me among the first to receive news, announcements, and “exclusive” invitations.

ŌM’s concept and presentation look exceptional. The James Beard-recognized cookbook author Raghavan Iyer is the “culineer,” which Jeremy Iggers reports is short for “culinary engineer.” How snappy, which is what the interior and fresh Indian food will likely prove to be. I hope ŌM will fill a gap in the Twin Cities dining scene. Creative, contemporary Indian food with no buffet.

Whether by suggestion or fate, after Evolution I went in search of lunch and ended up at the Indian restaurant Namaste Cafe. With a door so welcoming, how could I not go inside?

The cafe/restaurant is in a sunny old duplex with a bright exterior, including a gorgeous mural.

Namaste has a huge menu of appetizers, soups, salads, entrees, curries, bean specialties, breads, and the Namaste lunch box. I had a tofu roti wrap, a “delicious mix of spicy beans, crunchy cabbage, fresh tomatoes, green peppers, red onions, and cilantro wrapped in a whole wheat roti.”

I loved every bite. As I ate, the front door was open, letting in the spring breeze, and next to me a table of mixed-race, mixed-age people were discussing the challenges of creating a civil society. “What did Margaret Mead say?” said the white-haired Indian woman, as they listened carefully to one another and jumped in and out of the conversation.

Namaste Cafe is just like yoga class, only you get to eat. A meal here leaves you feeling grounded, connected, and a little more open in your heart.


Namaste Café on Urbanspoon


6 thoughts on “Namaste Cafe and ŌM

  1. Phil Feller

    OM sounds better than Phoenix’s attempt at fresh Indian in a contemporary setting: Bombay Spice. The decor and the presentation were lovely, and the wine list was respectable, but I had no idea that Indian food could be made to be so bland. In fairness to them, though, reviews on Yelp suggest that things have improved recently.

    I obviously ought to have eaten at Namaste on Sunday, rather than the place where I did have dinner. The discussion at the table next to mine was of “fiction books” (you mean novels?) that had been recommended to a young woman who seemed to be celebrating some accomplishment. The first was “Madame Bovary,” which she could not pronounce and whose author no one at the table could remember. The second was “Lolita,” but she subsequently found out that “it’s about a paedophile” and did not want to read it.

    Perhaps I should only eat at places that Carrie has already reviewed.

  2. Carrie Post author

    Michael – Yep, totally worth it. And so is Duplex right next door, in my opinion. Probably not so multi-culti, but still tasty.

  3. Carrie Post author

    Phil – Would you like to disclose the name of restaurant where the conversation was falling so flat around you? And wouldn’t it be nice of I/anyone had an inside scoop on the best, most diverse table conversation? Maybe that can be a new marker of success in a restaurant. Food, service, decor — and table conversation! I like it.

    jlc – I so love what clawfoot stands for. Although it’s tricky because it’s a little like that one definition of (ahem) porn – I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.

  4. Phil Feller

    It was Pazzaluna, where I would have expected that people might have heard of Flaubert. Sheesh, I feel like a philistine for not having read him. I never should have allowed myself to become distracted from my dinner-time reading about finance in the late medieval Crown of Aragon.

    I now feel obliged to think about the restaurants I’ve been to that have rewarded eavesdropping with more erudite table conversations.

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