Is Minneapolis Ready for Fine-Dining Nightclub Indian? New Om Says Yes.

BY DARA MOSKOWITZ GRUMDAHL


What do the Cities’ newest restaurants have in common? Nothing. But here’s your guide to their delights. We started with D’Amico Kitchen, and now, touch on Om. For the complete version of this feature, please see “The New Restaurant Scene.”

 

The Indian- and Pakistani-expat communities in Minnesota have proved to be devoted restaurant-goers, so much so that the Twin Cities have been blessed by a number of Indian restaurants that cater almost exclusively to those homesick connoisseurs. However, these restaurants tend to be functional, not big-splash destination, see-and-be-seen nightclubs. Does that expat community want a big Indian-accented nightclub? Does anyone? That seems to be the question Om was designed to answer. It’s a multi-level space built inside the shell of the old Nate’s Clothing spot in Minneapolis’s Warehouse District, near the Central Library.

Walk in and you’re confronted with low couches, saffron- and lapis-colored accents, the general sense of dark wood and deep shadows, and the chance to order small plates and mango martinis. Trail down a giant open staircase arranged around an enormous crystal chandelier and you’ll find the main dining room—yes, in the basement, even after that idea failed at the Chambers and at Porter & Frye.

No matter. This deep dining room is prettily appointed in dark wood and features a menu that takes the typical Western way of building a fancy entrée (glamorous protein plus starch plus vegetable) and gives it an Indian twist. The generous fillet of wild-caught Alaskan salmon is seared with turmeric, rendering it a deep burnished orange, and then poached in a coconut milk and malt-vinegar sauce, all of it served with poached grape tomatoes and a pretty disk of spinach basmati rice. Instead of Tandoori chicken, Om serves Tandoori cornish game hen, with a roasted-cashew sauce and a crisp and cheerful side of two sorts of green beans.

The brains behind this creative cuisine is Raghavan Iyer, a Bombay native, longtime Minnesota resident, and one of America’s leading Indian-cookbook authors. And the food is fascinating stuff. I particularly liked the fenugreek lamb-chop appetizer, in which lamb chops were marinated with fragrant ginger, fennel, cardamom, and garlic, and then seared and served rare beneath an herbal and zesty sauce of fenugreek and cream. The green chili and potato naan bread was another must-try, while some of the vegetarian dishes, like the puff-pastry crowned casserole of layered vegetable curry and basmati rice, have never been seen in town before and are a welcome addition.

Sound good? It is, though if this sort of thing sounds appealing to you, my advice is to go sooner rather than later to ensure that Om thrives. People around here have gotten awfully accustomed to paying rock-bottom prices for Indian food, and since the place is smack-dab in the heart of the twentysomething nightclub zone, it’s hard to imagine the restaurant getting a lot of drop-in traffic. (Om does have valet parking, for those familiar with the parking difficulties in that neck of the woods.) When you go, be sure to save room for dessert. You may think you know everything there is to know about molten-chocolate cakes until you taste Om’s, infused as it is with a true cayenne kick and hauntingly fragrant spices. Om, 401 First Ave. N., Mpls., 612-338-1510, omminneapolis.com

For a look inside OM, watch our video tour.

Dara’s take on other restaurants can be found
in “The New Restaurant Scene.”

Facebook Comments