Sunday, November 7, 2010

Kitsilano Veggie Night at The Naam

It was a very “Kitsilano” night. After a power flow yoga class at Semperviva, my dinner date and I walked west along 4th, debating where we would go for a bite to eat after all that backbending and downward dog-ing. We were looking for a place with lots of vegetarian options (dinner/yoga companion is a veg) and within minutes, we left the chilly fall night, and tucked into the warm and cozy exterior of The Naam. The Naam is a long-time standard in Kitsilano and is quite well known for its vegetarian and vegan fare, long hours, live music and always being busy. This veggie Vancouver legend is actually open 24/7 7 days a week!
I’ve been to The Naam before, and I remember it being tasty, but not mind-blowing. We started with a pot of Jamaican spice tea (4.50), since I was chilly from the blustery walk from yoga to the restaurant. I loved this tea- a warm, spicy, cuddle in a tea pot…it’s got hibiscus, cinnamon, cloves, rosehip, and orange peel.
My dinner date ordered the Crying Tiger Stirfry (10.95)- veggies, potatoes, and tofu, sauteed in a thai coconut curry sauce, served on a bed of rice. He was happy to order something that he would have to eat with chopsticks, since it would slow down his eating to match my epic slow eating. I’m getting a reputation. He seemed to enjoy it. I had a bite, and thought it was tasty and liked how packed it was with veggies. The sauce was nice. Overall, I felt like it was a pretty basic dish- tasty, but not too interesting.
The same was true for my meal- The El Topo Dragon Bowl (9.95).  “A fiery dragon bowl made of organic rice, chipotle chili, steamed veggies, salsa and cheese, topped with carrots, sprouts, and beets.”
The veggies were fresh and I enjoyed the mushy texture of the chili, rice, with the crisper texture of the carrots, sprouts, and especially the beets. I found the flavor a bit bland for me. Again, another basic dish that I felt I could make at home (with more flavour). It was filling and I ended up taking the leftovers home. The next day, I had the remains with grilled mushrooms and zuchinni and blended, canned chipotle peppers and a dollop of plain yogurt- and it was awesome….maybe even better than the night before.
Our server was great- laid back, attentive, and had plenty of recommendations for what to order next time….in particular the Shakti chocolate cake and Dutch Apple-Cranberry pie for dessert.
All in all, The Naam has a cool, laid-back atmosphere with chill-out live music and hearty, comfort food dished out in hearty portions. I was pretty underwhelmed by the flavours, but would go back to try the desserts, the brunch, and perhaps a dish with their miso gravy.
The Naam Restaurant
2724 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver, BC

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