Tuesday, December 25, 2012

All Appys at Gurkha Himalayan Kitchen

Gurkha Himalayan Kitchen on Urbanspoon After a tasty time with the appetizers at Gurkha Himalayan Kitchen, I had wanted to bring a group back to try just the appetizers and momos. I worked out a 20% off deal for every appetizer and the two types of momos, and 4 plates for 10 people. After tax and 18% tip, it would have come to about $40 per person based on the price quoted. However, our dining group balked at the cost and the event never got off the ground. Last Thursday I did, however, go with one friend to try all the appys.

We went with a 1 plate per 2 persons deal from the restaurant, with a special pricing of $40 per person before tax and tip. This turned out to be a mistake. First, it was an overwhelming amount of food. We were stuffed, and had to take the last two plates to go. Second, the kitchen churned out the plates sort-of dim sum style, where everything comes as soon as it's ready. Unfortunately, we weren't keeping up, and some of the items were clearly better hot, such as the Lollypop Chicken.
There were so many items we tried that I really should have jumped on my blog post right away, but the Christmas season being what it is, things got busy and I started to forget some of how things went. My bad.

Overall, as appetizer plates go, most plates are about a half meal (or more, if you are a lighter eater) for one person. Two plates and you could feel satisfied; three plates and you could be feeling too stuffed for dessert.
For most of it, get a spoon. What is it with restaurants these days and the deprecation of spoons?
Here's how things turned out:
  • Bhatmaas Saandeko: Roasted soybean mixed with Himalayan herbs and mustard oil
    • Get a spoon for this right away if there aren't enough serving spoons. You really don't want to eat this with a fork.
    • This is a pretty tasty, but unless you're vegetarian with few other options, a half order is more than a good enough amount as an appetizer. As appetizer plate sizes go, it's a generous amount.
  • Aalu Achaar: Potato salad garnished with lemon juice, mustard oil and mixed with Himalayan herbs
    • Served cool, this was also quite tasty, and a nice savory/tangy way to eat boiled potatoes.
    • One full order of this appetizer for a single person can be half a meal already due to the potatoes.
  • Taas: Special Nepali snack prepared with grilled lean lamb meat, cucumber and spices. Served with puffed and beaten rice mix
    • This came at the very end (after I'd paid the bill, even!) and because it came after the momos, I guess the servers forgot all about it since most of the appetizers had come before.
    • We were too full then and had to take it to go, but I strongly recommend against this if you can help it because the puffed rice won't be any fun or appetizing once it's no longer crispy.
    • From my previous visit, I do remember this to be very tasty.
  • Choila: Diced chicken, marinated in Nepali spices and herbs. Char grilled/roasted and served with beaten rice (cheura)
    • I don't remember this to be particularly interesting.
  • Kathmandu Sekuwa: Tender pieces of boneless chicken marinated in yoghurt, fresh ginger and spices and grilled to perfection. A piquant fair in the foothills of the Himalayas
    • Large chunks of chicken on a skewer. Definitely eat this hot when it comes out.
    • If you have trouble trying to force a piece off the skewer with your fork, stab a piece with your fork and press it down. Seemed to come off more easily that way, and with no risk of suddenly flying chicken chunks.
    • Nicely tender for white meat, but otherwise I thought this was mostly just grilled chicken.
  • Lollypop Chicken: Deep-fried chicken drumsticks marinated overnight and dipped in ginger/garlic and minty vinaigrette sauce
    • We didn't eat this nearly fast enough and the deep fried part was missed because things just cool too quickly, especially when it's dipped in sauce after being fried.
    • The sauce makes a nice difference here, and I recommend you try it.
    • One order is 6 decent sized drumsticks, the size you can expect from a 75-cent wings place like Wings Tap and Grill.
  • Chatpate: Lip smacking, tongue-tickling spicy-sour chickpeas and potato mix
    • This was okay, I think. I can't remember being too interested in this, maybe because I'm not really big on chickpeas.
  • Piro Shrimp: Shrimp marinated in ginger-garlic and chilli paste. Spiced, grilled and garnished with fresh lemon juice
    • Shrimps the size of fat prawns. I don't remember anything being too special here.
  • Momos: Tibetan style steamed dumplings served with chutney
    • These came with two dips. A green watery thingie and an orange watery sauce. Neither of these really piqued my interest and I thought maybe a plain old chili sauce would have done better.
    • There are two types, and look very much like something you might get at a dim sum place
      • Dalai Lama Momo – Vegetable (potato, cabbage, spinach and tofu) based
      • Tenzing Momo – Meat (chicken) based
    • One order is 10 dumplings, which in turn is actually a goodly amount of food. We were served the steamed ones on this visit.
    • If you get them steamed, eat it while it is hot. Once it cools too much, something happens to the wrapping and it's clammy and cold and a real turn-off. No amount of sauce will rescue it.
    • Having tried the fried ones on my previous visit, I'd vote for the fried ones over the steamed ones any day.
    • Overall, if you've had potstickers or dumplings anywhere else, I'd say the steamed ones are okay, and not really a highlight. Stick to the much more interesting items under the appetizer section.
My recommendations for what to get from the appetizers would be the Bhatmaas Saandeko, Taas, and Lollypop Chicken.

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