A few weeks ago, I sought the collective wisdom of this board for recommendations for a quick visit to Seattle. You were most kind and helpful and I write to post a review of the place I think most deserves it.
First, a quick mention that we spent a lovely evening at the Flying Fish as well as a great lunch at Matt's in the Market. The latter first: wandered in without a reservation on a Saturday afternoon around 1:15. After a short (10 minutes) wait, got a table. I had vichyssoise and a cold salad of smoked catfish, fresh peaches, pecans and a chili vinaigrette. The soup was truly excellent: velvety, cold, and flavorful. I can't imagine a much better job of preparing this classic. The salad was a trifle less successful because I was unprepared (my fault, not theirs) for the degree of smoked-ness of the catfish. Quite well-smoked, salty, and a bit dry. However, the salad worked quite well and I did greatly enjoy it. I am only sorry I don't live there; I'd love to try other things on their menu.
Flying Fish: what a great dinner. We ate at the bar--having walked in without a reservation on Monday night, around 7:30 pm. Grabbed two seats at the bar after a 15-20 minute wait. I had white sea bass with a spicy tomato curry and a pea vine stir-fry, all accompanied by a sesame shrimp cake. The bartender was an absolutely excellent waiter and the food was cooked exactly right. Loved the bass and the large-ish shrimp cake. The pea vine stir fry was new to me but it complemented the fish and I enjoyed the meal immensely (had a Pinot Blanc whose provenance I no longer recall except that the bartender specifically recommended it--he was right). We shared three sorbets for dessert: peach, cherry, and apricot. Truly top-notch; strongly flavorful and surprisingly (perhaps a tad too) creamy (for a sorbet, anyway).
But you know all that if you live in Seattle. What you may not know about is the Himlayan Sherpa restaurant near the University. Wow! Having been to Nepal twice in recent years, I think I'm competent to judge the food. The place turns out to be owned by a Nepali family (with whom we had a nice chat). The menu is an interesting collection of Nepali and Tibetan dishes and some Indian, all reasonably priced (between $6.50 and 13.95, with most entrees around $9). I did not take any notes and am not sure that doing so would have been a big help in any event. (Their menus are on their website, listed below.) I can report that the food was well above average--on a par with some of the best food I have had in Kathmandu (and yes, there are a number of excellent restaurants there).
Nepali food is NOT the same as Indian food and it is NOT bland and uninteresting. In fact, Nepali food can (but need not) be spicy and is often quite interesting. Tibetan food, on the other hand, is...usually bland, in fact, although there are exceptions to that general rule as well. I was quite taken with the Himalayan Sherpa menu, the decor, the friendliness of the people, and would encourage anyone with a modicum of interest to hustle on over. Sadly, the only Nepali place in Chicago is not (it's Indian place advertising but not really delivering authentic Nepali food) and the only Tibetan place is not as good as this place. I can tell you that if Himalayan Sherpa were in Chicago, I'd be there at least once a month. That's what I think of their food. No, Nepali and Tibetan food is not among the great cuisines of the world. But they are both a real change of pace and highly enjoyable. I think you'd be remiss not to check it out.
Himalayan Sherpa Restaurant
4214 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98015
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