The Boston area, Somerville in particular, is something of an enclave for Tibetan and Nepalese folks, so it shouldn't be a surprise that restaurant after restaurant opens to serve this cuisine that's fairly rare in most of America. Yak & Yeti opened this winter, joining Mt. Everest Kitchen (the other restaurant of Yak & Yeti owner Amrit Thakali), Himalayan Bistro, and Kathmandu Spice, and, after some opening bumps, it's looking to be reliably delicious.
Those new to Nepali food may be a bit confused when they first spy a menu, as most Nepali restaurants have a menu section that offers familiar North Indian dishes: korma, tandoori chicken, and the like. "I think they include all these Indian dishes to have something familiar on the menu for everybody," says Prav; "a good analogy would be the Chinese-American dishes you find at nearly every Chinese restaurant here, regardless of whether it's a Cantonese or Sichuan or Fu-Zhou restaurant. "
Avoid these choices if you can: "A Nepali kitchen might not be great at these dishes, simply because it isn't really Nepali food at all," says Prav.
Prav recommends those new to the cuisine seek out Nepalese dishes like aloo tama, a stew of black-eyed peas, potatoes, and fermented bamboo, Nepalese dumplings (momos), and dal bhat, lentil soup and steamed rice, which Prav calls the "bread and butter of Nepali food." For dessert, try sikarni, "a yellow-colored yogurty pudding, sort of thick and Greek textured, infused with saffron, cardamom, cinnamon, and other spices."
Bluebell tried Yak & Yeti just this week and was a fan of the veggie momos and the tofu ra palung, "a really good tofu and spinach dish." The meal started with a papadum, which was a bit of a disappointment: "wish they'd offer something Nepali like they do at both Mt. Everest (a potato salad and chiara) and Kathmandu Spice (the addictive tiny dish of soybeans)."
dsackton, who complains that the Nepali section of the menu is more limited than the Indian section ("it really doesn't feel like a Nepali restaurant with a few Indian dishes on the menu to give people some things they are familiar with"), tried the Nepali pumpkin (pharsiko tarkari), Indian chana paneer, and those veggie momos, and gives all three the thumbs-up.
Yak & Yeti [North of Boston]
719 Broadway, Somerville