Restaurant Review: Namaste Grill, Merida

Although I don’t like to write negative things about family-owned places, I must suggest that if you want Indian food, you either learn to prepare it yourself or buy it from Aruna Gupta, Merida resident and excellent cook. I’ve had some dishes she made that are sold through Monique Duval’s bakery and they are great.

The Namaste Grill is not good.

First of all, it is physically uncomfortable except perhaps for young children. The furniture is picnic table style, that is, you sit on backless hard benches. The walls are painted a loud disturbing shade of I think it was orange, and the art exhibit they have hanging there does not go well with meals.

The night we went was a warm one. Although there were nice mini-splits tantalizingly installed on the walls, they were not in use.

Jacqui, Fay, Allison and I basically ordered the whole menu. In my humble opinion, none of it was good. My favorite Indian dish, panak paneer, was all mushed up spinach with no cheese visible. Perhaps it had been done in by an aggressive Cuisinart.

The samosas were not appetizer size, but huge greasy fried things full of badly seasoned potato cubes and peas. A real carbo/fat load.

We also had cauliflower curry, chicken tikka, and something with eggplant. All three of these dishes were the same color. They looked predigested, if you know what I mean. They also had the same taste, which was pleasantly hot, but nothing else. There just wasn’t that wonderful complexity you are supposed to experience with Indian food.

The best thing was the mango lahssi, which was a bit light on the mango, but delicious. It’s hard to go wrong with that, and they didn’t. Not really.

The service was abysmal. Not because no one cared, but because they didn’t know what they were doing. I mean I’m talking way beyond the usual Merida bad service. Also, the basmati rice was lumpy and the veggie appetizer tray had vegetables that had been sliced maybe a couple of days ago and not covered or refrigerated. They were wilted and dry. (carrots, jicama, etc.)

It’s too bad; we could use an Indian restaurant here. I hope they get it together.  It’s irritating to me because it’s just two blocks from my house and would have been a great stop if the food were edible. Which it wasn’t. I went home and ate Jim’s leftovers. Now he’s a good cook.

I don’t know that everyone in my group felt the same way about this place.

Aruna Gupta, the Indian chef mentioned at the top of the article, has published a cookbook of Indian recipes and will prepare any of them for your parties or events. Her email is arunavgy@yahoo.com

About BG

Beryl Gorbman is a writer and private investigator who divides her time between Seattle WA and Merida Yucatan Mexico. She has published two works of fiction, 2012: Deadly Awakening, and Madrugada. They are both available on Amazon and other outlets. Also at Amate Books, and Casa Catherwood in Merida. You can read about them in various articles on this site.
This entry was posted in Merida Expat Life, Restaurant Reviews and Food. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Restaurant Review: Namaste Grill, Merida

  1. Faye jorgensen says:

    I agree with Beryl on the comfort (not good) and the Art work (whatever), but on the food I would say I have a mixed review. I am not an Indian food lover. Some I liked and would have tried again. But the music and the service and of course the hard benches make me think twice about ever going back. I would ot count it out yet.

  2. craig sotkovsky says:

    Thank you so much for your lovely review..
    warmest reguards
    owner of namaste grill
    peace

  3. Juanita Stein says:

    Both of the meals I have had there were great. By the way, I am curious what you mean by “the usual Merida bad service” ?

    • BG says:

      I’m glad you had a good experience there, but I didn’t.
      Some of the restaurants here have superb waiters and waitresses, but most don’t.

  4. John Powell says:

    After 8 years of dining out in Merida my stomach and my brain imposed a new rule that I have not transgressed. Only eat in a new restaurant after 4 friends who’s opinions you trust have told you the place is GREAT. Never eat in a restaurant in a location of a failed restaurant until 8 friends have told you it’s FANTASTIC. (and yes I do have 8 friends) Hence I have never eaten at Buda Wok or Acitron or La Casa de Itzimna.

    Craig Sotkovsky should thank you for your review and he should have taken your advice to heart. I never went to Namaste Grill first because Indian food is a passion of mine and second because every one of my friends who ate there told me it as awful food in an uncomfortable setting with minimal service. And now they have a new name New York, New York. A name a tired and stale as Liza Minelli’s comeback on broadway last year.

    From Yucatan Today “So not enough folks out there really wanted an Indian restaurant in Mérida it seems…the owners of Namaste Grill are re-inventing themselves with an Italian eatery coming soon…New York, New York will be in the same location, with lots of great New York-style Italian cooking to entice you.”

    Um Craig… So not enough folks out there really wanted a BAD Indian restaurant in Merida & I don’t think we need another Italian restaurant. Here is my advise serve a simple charcoal grilled burger with real home made french fries and fresh salads. For that I would be willing to sit on a cement floor and eat with my hands.

    Unfortunately I think the next sign on the corner of calle 47 and 60 will be RESTAURANT FOR RENT.

    Namaste

    • BG says:

      John – Addressing your comments about Namaste: The portent of doom for the coming Italian restaurant is enhanced by the new sign that says their services are available for banquets. When we went there, Namaste had been open around two months and they came nowhere close to getting all the food and drinks on the table in the same decade. The thought of them handling someone’s banquet is frightening. A banquet is something people plan for, invite specific people to, and spend a good deal of money on. It is a special occasion. It is one thing to screw around with two or four people at once out for a casual dinner, but to mess up someone’s special event is a cruelty. And BTW, the sign says that they will be offering Italian,Yucatecan and “Hindu” food. Shudder.
      It is a great location, however, and a good burger place would be welcome here. Not the pre-frozen stuff from the chains, but a good hunk of high-quality chopped meat cooked on a grill and served with grilled onions, etc. would be fabulous. With good potato salad, cole slaw, etc. They could offer add-ons like curry sauce, mole, pico de gallo, guacamole, etc. All ingredients that are easy to get here. They could still call it New York New York.
      b

  5. John Powell says:

    Start spreading the news.
    I’m heaving today..
    They’ll make a brand new start of it New York New York.
    I want to wake up in a city where I can eat!

  6. BG says:

    Laughing out loud.
    b

  7. Corrine Gogal says:

    Hi,

    I’ve just moved to the Yucatan and presently living in Progreso, while I’ve been to Merida a few times over the past 2 years I still don’t know my way around much at all. Therefore if you could let me know where I could find Monique Duval’s bakery I would be grateful. I would like to go there and find out what kind of East Indian food she offers. By the way has the restaurant improved since writing this review?

    Corrine

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