Everest on Grand 2/22/2014

I found this place a number of years ago when I was perusing the Minnesota Monthly restaurant search page and fell in love.  A couple years down the road, my suspicions were confirmed.  I have it on good authority (former Nepali coworker) that Everest on Grand is the best and most authentic Nepali food in the Twin Cities.  Not that Nepali restaurants are widespread here, but I definitely prefer it to Namaste Cafe.  They also serve Tibetan and Indian fare.

Venue

The place has a corner spot on a main drag for boutiques and cafes in St. Paul, Grand Avenue.  It’s pretty small – no more than about three times the size of what’s shown in the image below for seating.  A decent portion is dedicated to a buffet that runs daily for lunch.  I think because it’s fairly established, it has a good flow of customers, without huge rushes – I’ve never had too much trouble getting a seat for a small group.

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Food and Drink

As I mentioned, I would say this is the best Nepali food in the TC area.  I’ve had a quite a few things on the menu, but this time we went for the following:

  • Mango Lassi – Yogurt blended with mango pulp and spices
  • Kaalo Chiya – Nepali Guranse – a first-flush Darjeeling-like leaf tea from Eastern Nepal – served in a pot. (Note: They spice their tea with ginger, cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon.)
  • Yak Momo – Ground yak with herbs and spices. (Note: Momo are steamed dumplings made from a mixture of vegetables or ground meat, mixed with onions, cilantro and spices, artfully hand-stuffed into pastry. Served with momo achaar – a special house sauce of cilantro, tomato, and spices that compliments the momo.)
  • Chicken Tikka Masala – Marinated boneless chicken breast is roasted in Tandoor oven, cut into pieces and cooked in house tikka sauce (specialty spices blended in heavy cream) and herbs.
  • Bhedako Maasu – Curry made with tender cut pieces of halal lamb leg.
  • Garlic Naan – Naan sprinkled with freshly shredded garlic, and cilantro.

Mango lassi is an awesomely refreshing drink – think somewhere between a mango smoothie and horchata.  I’d definitely recommend trying this if you’ve never had it.  I also am a tea drinker, and something about the blend of spices they steep with their tea truly is “very soothing,” as they state on their menu.  Their lamb curry is one of my favorite dishes there, but I must say, I was slightly disappointed this time.  I’ve had preparations of this dish where the lamb falls apart in my mouth, and I was sad that it was slightly tough this time.  Also, if you’ve already gathered from previous posts, I have a soft spot for dumplings/meatballs.  Momos/kothe are fantastic, and the chutneys they serve with them (and their samosas) are lovely, too.  They definitely did not disappoint this time, too.

A note on spice level – they definitely will crank up the heat if you want it.  I’ve been here previously and ordered the highest level of spice and was not disappointed.

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Price

While the entrees are $10-15ea, I’d recommend at least getting some bread or an appetizer with your meal.  You can also get a pretty good deal by ordering a few curries and getting a few items free (daal, desert, and I think a sauce).

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