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Aug 31, 2009 02:29 PM


Any info, skuttlebutt, background on this place "opening summer 2009" in downtown?

Any idea on type of menu? Nouveau Indian? That would be nice.

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  1. All I know is what everyone knows which is it is being opened in some part by the R. Norman of R. Norman / Se7ven infamy.

    1. i ate there and liked it. better than the time i ate at gahndi mahal. prices at om are similar or not much more than gahndi mahal, but om food was better & fresher than gandhi mahal. its not a cheap price point in my world, at $15+/entree, but tasty stuff there at Om.

      4 Replies
      1. re: msp007

        That's not quite accurate. Gandhi Mahal tops out in the mid teens, with most dishes around $12; OM tops out in the mid twenties, with most dishes in the high teens. Saying that OM is "better" and "fresher" is perplexing -- the styles of food served are apples and oranges, and, having said that, I'd prefer the reasonably priced apples at Gandhi Mahal any day of the week. You dine at OM, you pay for cool ambiance.

        1. re: jrnorton23

          I tried to post the same thing. I had soup, 1/2 app. and its signature entree (tikka masala) for less than what Om charges for the majority of its entrees. If Om can justify the higher price point, that's great. but it seems radically different.

          1. re: jrnorton23

            well thats fair; by "better & fresher" i intended to mean the difference between coop produce and rainbow/cub foods produce...that is to say, while the gandhi mahal cuisine struck me as well-presented and dressed up big-box sam's club/restaurant depot/sysco foodservices agribusiness products, my impression of the ingredients at Om was that they were less out-of-the-can vegetables and more freshly grown & prepared ingredients. I hope it's not too off-topic for me to offer this comparative analogy. is that any more accurate for you sir?

            1. re: msp007

              Agent msp007-

              That's a very interesting comparison you are making- I'd be very happy to pay more if I knew that was true about better quality produce. Would you mind elaborating a bit more on how you could tell-- maybe some specific vegetables or dishes that you noticed? I'm asking since in general it seems to me with Indian food the vegetables have been cooked pretty long and it gets harder to tell by that point. And what specifically seemed like Sysco etc at Gandhi? Thanks much.

        2. This is second hand, so take it for what it's worth. A friend of mine and his partner went for dinner there a week or so ago. They loved it but were a little surprised to find that they had spent $140 all in. (My friend doesn't drink and his partner had 2 beers.) My friend said that they enjoyed it and would go again - the flavor combinations were "amazing."

          So it sounds like it might be worth checking out if you have the $$ to spare.

          1. Last weekend, we went to OM with the fam (three of whom are Indian). We were extremely impressed with the quality of the food. We all thought that it was our new favorite Indian place in the Twin Cities.

            Now, let me clarify "Indian food." There was a bit of a fusion twist to most of the dishes. None of them were completely traditional, but rather, a modern take on Indian food from a variety of regions. So comparing OM to most other Indian places is, yes, like comparing apples and oranges. This is a different kind of place -- you won't get a long Indian buffet, lots of gravy-drenched curries, or the requisite gulab jaman for dessert.

            The entrees we ordered were the Kashmiri lamb chops, the wild salmon, eggplant stuffed with peanuts, the sweet peas, and the East Indian shrimp. Also tried a variety of nans. My favorite was probably the salmon -- it was poached in the most sublime coconut sauce that had heat without being too hot. With all of our dishes, the thing we noticed was the very complex layering of flavors. The sauces, the spices, everything -- had such a richness and depth to it, that it was clearly cooked by someone who knew what they were doing.

            Regarding the comment about "better and fresher." The server explicitly indicated where they source their seafood (some sustainable provider that I can't remember the name), they use locally grown produce whenever possible, and yes, you can tell that the vegetables were not overcooked and retained the actual taste of the veggies rather than being drenched in sauce. Finally, *nothing* that we ordered was oily -- which we often find to be a problem at many Indian restaurants.

            The price is certainly higher than other Indian restaurants around town. Again, apples to oranges. But it is very comparable to other restaurants in its class -- very high quality food, cool ambience, well-trained service. This is a restaurant to be compared against places like 112, Alma, etc., which just happens to be serving Indian food.

            Two negatives that we noticed. First, the drinks. I really did not like the mango lassi, of all things. It was way too watery / icey. I would have liked it to be more yogurt-based and less like a frosty. The two cocktails we tried were OK. The Kashmiri Margarita smelled great, but tasted too sour -- not a big fan of the grapefruit juice in it. Second, we did not like the paratha (fried bread) -- it seemed too thin/hard compared to what I've eaten in India or at other places.

            Overall, though, we were very impressed, especially after only being open one week. Definitely going back, but not an everyday thing due to the pricepoint.

            3 Replies
            1. re: chrismpls

              chris, thanks for the review. That's kind of ironic that they can do the fancy complex dishes but not the naan or mango lassi, both of which to me should be pretty easy to get right.

              1. re: faith

                The naan was fine, it was the paratha that wasn't great -- but YEAH, that's exactly what I thought! :)

              2. re: chrismpls

                The locally grown produce "whenever possible" speak is easy for restaurants to throw around without making too much of a commitment, but I agree, it's great when a restaurant does careful sourcing and trains its servers to speak knowledgeably on that point. I also believe that there is at least some upward pressure on menu prices when restaurants use sustainably-sourced and/or organic ingredients, but that can't account for all of the price differential that jrnorton23 describes above between a place like Om and a place like Gandhi Mahal. Like you (and others) say, Chris, you also pay for the great service and swanky atmosphere.

                But, there's no reason that a place like Gandhi Mahal can't do careful sourcing, even in its more modest surroundings. I don't know about how either Gandhi Mahal or Om does sourcing (and I haven't even eaten at the latter), but look at a place like Ngon Bistro. They have a strong commitment to "local and sustainable" and their menu prices are definitely higher than your average hole-in-the-wall pho joint, but only by a buck or two per dish.

                I think there's room for both upscale and mid-scale restaurants and wish the best for Om and Gandhi Mahal.