Detouring off 101 through the surface streets of downtown Cotati, I’d noticed the Tibetan mandala on the façade of Yongewa Kitchen. I returned shortly after to try it. At dinner, it was deserted, giving me a chance to chat with the affable host/owner. Previously he had owned a restaurant in Nepal. His sister is the cook and the one who had brought the family to the area when she worked for a Chinese restaurant. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, a free glass of Taylor Country Cellars house wine is included with dinner.
The menu has mostly Chinese food with a small section highlighting five Tibetan specialties. I knocked off two in one swoop.
Sha Momo ($7.50 for six) – Tibetan-style momos are bready. These were akin to baozi, filled with ground pork seasoned with ginger and scallions. A vegetable version is also available. The cake-like bread wrapper is light and fluffy. Steamed to order, they’re pretty juicy (read “fatty”) and comforting. I liked them dunked in chile oil. I commented to the owner that these were just about identical to Northern Chinese versions and he replied that Tibet is part of China.
Beef Then Thuk ($9.50) – My first experience with Tibet’s handmade noodles. A staffer said the pasta dough is stretched by hand then the noodles are torn. I really liked the rough hewn texture and dense chewiness. The noodles were served in beef stock with a clumsy array of celery, broccoli and carrots and strips of very tough beef. I would like to have these noodles again and will be asking if other preps might be available.
8204 Old Redwood Hwy
Cotati, CA 94931