Opening a restaurant is a scary proposition at any time. In a tanked economy, it's got to be downright frightening. OM, the new downtown hotspot featuring Indian cuisine must be starting to feel a bit of that inner state of contentment, as it becomes the new "it" place to dine in downtown Minneapolis.
My visits to OM have included helping plan and host a special event for VSA arts of Minnesota the first week it opened, a special event for OM enthusiasts as part of its opening, a happy hour, and this past weekend, finally, dinner. This review is not objective: Raghavan Iyer, local chef and cookbook author and man behind the menu is a friend from way back. So, I've been excited and pleased to see one of his dreams become reality.
Every item of food I've had tasted amazing. If you've never eaten Indian food or have and think you don't like it, give OM a chance. The food is flavorful and colorful. As Raghavan says, "you eat with all your senses." Ragh has lived in Minnesota for several decades now, so has a handle on what good Scandinavian, German stock will eat and like. So, in addition to traditional Indian dishes like lentils and nan, there's salmon and walleye.
Physical access is good, but not quite complete. The wheelchair entrance is off 1st Avenue with door openers not quite installed yet. The evidence is obvious that they are coming. Twice this door has been locked and I needed to ask someone to go in the entrance off 4th Street (with stairs) and have them open the side door. Which they did quickly. However, with winter approaching this could become a bigger problem. Once in this door, there is an elevator to both the lounge and dining room. Signage would help newcomers know which floor is which. Level =1 opens to the dining room level; Level 1 funnels you behind the bar on level 1. There was plenty of clearance for me to get through entering and leaving both levels. Restroom access was good, but an automatic opener on the entry door would be a nice addition.
Braille menus aren't available, however, menus are current on the restaurant website. The night a friend and I dined, Raghavan offered his personal description of menu items for my friend who is blind.
Don't let access or India cuisine scare you away. OM is a welcoming, flavorful spot for all tastes and abilities.