Nam Vietnamese Restaurant – Midtown, Atlanta, GA [Quick Hits]

Nam is the Vietnamese restaurant concept from brother’s Alex and Chris Kinjo.  (Alex seems to man this location more than Chris).  You might recognize the brothers Kinjo; they have a knack for opening high-brow Asian restaurants around the city.  In addition to Nam, the Kinjo’s own MF Sushi Bar and MF Buckhead.

True to form, Nam employees a clean decor, an attractive wait staff, and a slick vibe to deliver its message.  Despite the high tenant turnover in the front section of the Midtown Promenade, Nam has been one of the mainstays for the strip center.  In recent months, a free standing Starbucks Coffee was built right in front of Nam’s window.  I can’t imagine that the addition was good news to the Kinjos; ya think this has been good for business at Nam?

I’ve been there a number of times over the years; however, not with any great frequency.  As a result, I’m not ready to do a full on review of this place (or slap a rating on the restaurant).  Needless to say, I did take notes during my last visit.

nam - vietnamese beef carpaccio (bo tai chanh)

To start off, we elected to try the Vietnamese Beef Carpaccio (aka Bo Tai Chanh).  While filet mignon is a traditionally tender cut of beef … I found our serving to be fairly tough.  Meanwhile, nothing about the dish really left an impression with me.  The thinly sliced meat came topped with lime, onions, and rice paddy leaf.  I didn’t find it particularly inspiring or moving.  However, I didn’t find it offensive either.  At the end of the day, this dish was filed away as a non-descript order.  I’d have no trouble ordering it again, but it did not move me.

For our main dishes, we elected to split a Banh Mi and the clay pot shrimp.  You see, the thing about clay pot shrimp is that it should … well… come in a clay pot! Absent of that major oversight, the dish did have all the eye appeal one could ask for.  The vegetable medley mixed with an ample amount of shrimp to provide the eye candy.  Ultimately, this plate came across as a reasonable and straight forward take on a traditional Vietnamese dish.  The dish was cooked properly, but from a high end restaurant like this one … I expect something more dynamic and thought provoking.  I downed my portion of the dish with ease while we chatted.  When I was done, I realized that this stir fry of sorts failed to interrupt my train of thought.  Oh well!

nam - claypot shrimp nam - claypot shrimp close up

The Banh Mi (aka bun mi) sandwich was a disaster.  While hard to the touch, the French baguette crumbled apart at the slightest hint of mandible pressure.  Individually, everything from the pork to the pâté was passable to tasty.  However, this just didn’t do it for me.  Much like the other dishes, Nam did not stamp their name on this sandwich.  The savory was there, the acids were there, and the fresh vegetables were there; but, it came across as a sandwich served on dried bread. None of the vegetables were properly pickled, so that was a disappointment.

While the only real “problem” with the sandwich was the grain, I would find myself hard pressed to choose this version over any number of other available options up BuHi.  When you consider the fact that those other options are available at roughly half the $8 price tag that this puppy comes with, I just can’t see myself ordering this again (even if the bread wasn’t the issue it was).

nam - banh mi sandwich nam - banh mi again nam - banh mi close up

All said and done, Nam delivered a reasonably tasty meal for a manageable price.  The cost of a dinner here drifts more toward; in that case … I’d be a bit more critical.  For what they are trying to do, it’s a bit boring.  So though you could do worse, I wouldn’t run to get here again.  Nam serves passable grub delivered by an eye catching staff.

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Atlanta Bloggers On Nam Vietnamese Restaurant:

Nam Restaurant Address & Information:

931 Monroe Dr NE, Atlanta, GA, 30308 // P: 404.541.9997 // Nam Reservations // Nam Website // Nam Menu (pdf)
Nam on Urbanspoon

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