Trying to sample Nepalese and Tibetan Cuisine on the cheap by eating at buffets doesnt seem the way to go. While the buffet was fine, I preferred the dishes I ordered off the menu.
The Chatamari was the best. It looks like a huge omelet stuffed with potatoes, nine types of beans and chicken. It is topped with a mild tomato sauce called achar.
Instead of eggs, the omelet part is a soft rice flour wrapping. The chicken must be ground because it wasnt too evident. I liked this, but because it is such a mildly spiced dish, I might prefer it with the spicy achar or the sweet herb yogurt sauce.
This is one of a few Newari dishes. The menu is at the end.
The Newar are the indigenous group of Nepal's Kathmandu valley. In this link to info about the Newari, it says they are accomplished musicians with a large assortment of instruments. I am guessing some of the instruments decorating the restaurant might be Newari.
Anyway, I liked this dish and it is recommended in the old Chronicle review link at the end.
My reason for stopping here was to sample the momo, soft little round dumplings stuffed with vegetables (potatoes), minced chicken or minced lamb. They came in a pool of the tomato achar, sprinkled with green onions. The achar had a nice yogurt tang, The momo were fresh but bland and it was hard to tell the difference between the chicken and the lamb. I liked the potato the best.
There are good beverages. The cinnamon lassi was very light, frothy and topped with cinnamon. It smelled and tasted lovely. Maybe not Nepalese, but the lassi also comes in banana and strawberry.
The have a very good hot chia, a Tibetan tea that is flavored very nicely with cardamom.
The buffet ($7.95) was fine. There were four hot dishes, rice, a cabbage/carrot slaw, dal, two sauces, and khir for dessert. A jar of yellow tart pickled radish was on the table.
The Sag (mustard greens) was very fresh and good. Like the buffet at Taste of the Himalayas, the dishes were mainly turmeric based.
Except for the bright green sag everything else was yellow with various degree of spiciness, including a chickpea dish, a cauliflower dish, and two chicken dishes. Two thin sauces were a cool herb yogurt and a spicy tomato.
One chicken dish was off the menu - jhasha shamdeh, boneless chicken marinated in yogurt and cooked with onions, tomatoes, potatoes and ginger.
The rice khir was nicely spiced but I agree with the Chronicle. I would skip it. It was more like rice in milk with spices rather than a creamy pudding. Maybe it is supposed to be like that.
As the Chronicle review states, the restaurant, opened in 1994 is owned by Deepak Newari Singht with his wife, Lila. They also own Kathmandu Imports, a few blocks away. These days a younger family member runs the kitchen and does the serving.
In addition to the musical instruments, paintings, rugs and colorful Tibetan prayer flags in red, blue, green, yellow and white decorate the room. They represent the earth, water, sky, fire and clouds. The chairs are carved dark wood and tablecloths are purple. The ceiling also has the Tibetan colors. Background music was, for all I know, Nepalese on one visit. On the second, it was tuned to a radio station that it seems is playing the first Christmas carols of the year.
Ill probably go back to Kathmandu to sample of the dishes that are Nepalese and different. The quality of the food on my visits was fresh and good quality and the restaurant is very pleasant.
Thukpa Traditional Tibetan ginger and garlic noodle soup
Chicken soup Nepalese style chicken clear soup
Kwati - a thick soup made with nine types of beans and cooked with herbs
Moo Ken Thin lentil soup is a staple of the Nepalese diet
Momo steamed dumplings (chicken, lamb, or vegetable)
Haku Chewela smoked chicken served with hot spices and served cold
Chatamari Newari style soft rice flour bread stuffed with lightly spicy chicken, potatoes and nine varieties of beans. Served with tomato achar.
Moo Woo Lightly spicy special pancake made from mung beans. Served with tomato achar.
NEPALI DALL BHAT
Vegetable combination plate Served basmati rice, one roti, dal, sag, smoked eggplant, seasoned mixed vegetables, special tomato achar and pickles
Non vegetable combination plate - Served basmati rice, one roti, dal, chicken curry , shrimp curry, aloo ko tukari, special tomato achar and pickles
TIBETAN STYLE NOODLE DISHES
Most noodle dishes served with a touch of cheese
Noodles seasoned with pickle and special tomato sauce (chicken, vegetable or shrimp)
Served with saffron rice, one roti, vegetables (Channa Ko Terkari.
Khaski Ko Shekuwu Lamb marinated in spices for hours and char-grilled
Khashi Ko Ledo Shekewa Boneless lamb marinated in herbs sautéed with green onion, fresh tomato, green peas and cilantro in tomato sauce
Khashi Ko Ledo Lamb pieces in a mildly spicy tomato sauce with garlic and ginger
Piro khashi Tarrko - Hot and spicy boneless lamb sautéed with green onions, fresh tomatoes, and green peppers, cooked in garlic, ginger and tomato sauce
Lamb rib chops - marinated for Himalayan herbs for hours and char-grilled.
Khashi Ko Chhwela smoked lamb marinated in hot and spicy with pieces of onion. It is served at room temperature.
Luksha Shamdeh Tibetan style lamb curry. Lamb marinated in yogurt and spices, cooked with potatoes and herbs
Kukhura Poleco Chicken marinated in spices for hours and grilled
Emu Klaya La Boneless chicken cooked with jwanu seed in a sauce made from garlic, ginger and herbs
Kukhura Ledo Shekuwu Boneless char-grilled chicken sautéed with green onion, fresh tomato, green peas and cilantro cooked in tomato sauce.
Piro Kukhura Hot and spicy boneless chicken sautéed with ginger, onion and garlic
Jhasha shamdeh - boneless chicken marinated in yogurt and cooked with onions, tomatoes, potatoes and ginger
Jhinge Machha Ko Ledo King prawns cooked in ginger, garlic, fresh onion and tomato sauce
Charcoaled grilled fish Salmon marinated for hours in spices and char-grilled
Ecka Maccha KO Takari Salmon sautéed in a sauce made of onions, tomatoes, garlic, mustard powder, cilantro and herbs.
Mismas Mixed seasonal spices cooked in mild spices
Aloo Tama Bodi Another popular dish in Nepal. Bamboo shoots, potatoes and black eyed peas with unique sour flavor
Sag Fresh mustard greens cooked in mild spices
Kaju Alu Kwa Glasha Asparagus and potatoes, green peas in ground mustard seeds, cashews and herbs
Bhanta Takari Eggplant cooked in tomato sauce
Chhow Ra Keraw Ke Takari Mushrooms, green peas, carrots, fresh tomatoes, cilantro, sautéed and cooked in tomato sauce
Kathmandu specialty Nineteen varieties of beans, thick curry cooked in a sauce made from garlic, fresh tomato, cilantro and fresh lemon juice.
Served with roti, dal, pickle, yogurt sauce, with mint and special tomato achar
Pulwa flavored rice with vegetables (and lamb, shrimp or chicken)
Roti Griddled-baked bread made from bleached wheat floer
Mula Achar radish pickle
Special tomato Achar
Khir - mildly sweet rice pudding prepared with milk.
Chaku-mari Newari style cake in honey
lassi - cinnamon, banana or strawberry
chia ($1.50), spiced Tibetan tea served with milk.
ADDRESS: 1410 Solano Ave. (at Santa Fe Avenue), Albany
PHONE: (510) 526-3222
Lunch: Monday Friday 11:30 am 3 pm
Buffet: Saturday Sunday: noon 3 pm
Dinner 5:30-10 p.m. daily
. . MAYBE. Check all hours, they change. The take-out menu has one set of hours, the business card another and the Chron review yet others. These hours are from the window but they seem subject to change.