More than three years ago, I stumbled into Santa Rosa's Nepalese restaurant, Annapurna, in its opening days and had my first taste of achar (mango pickle). Recently, I finally made it back here. After my recent intensive education in Indian, Pakistani and Nepali food, the place holds up well for me and I still like it very much.
I started with chhuela, which was small cubes of grilled lamb tossed with cubes of cucumber, tomatoes, scallions, and red onions. The meat was marinated in mustard oil and spices with a good zing of chili heat and cooked medium rare. This was deliciously complex with a cooling contrast of the cold veggies against the thermally hot and spicy meat. My entree, a mild curry of breaded tilapia and tomatoes blended with mustard, ginger and garlic, was overly subtle after that high-charged appetizer. The naan was as good as I remembered with an uneven surface and depth with a pillowy soft texture and attractive char. I particularly enjoyed it with the two chutneys. The creamy mint and chili sauce had a warm heat. The potato chutney was a new flavor sensation for me made of chunks of waxy potatoes bathed in a bright yellow, fenugreek spiked sauce. My server saw me lap it up and brought me a second portion which I greedily accepted.