Everest Kitchen: A Worthwhile Parking Trek for a Memorable Mountain of Momos
Consider the dumpling. A staple of home cooking the world over, this lump of dough, at its outset, becomes an edible hug passed between the creator and the consumer when fashioned into a rounded or squared container filled with seasoned meat, cheese, or vegetables. Whether a pierogi prepared in a tiny kitchen in Poland, one of dozens of heavenly gnocchi shaped by the hands of a skilled chef at a high end restaurant in New York City, six pot stickers squeezed into a takeout carton at your favorite Chinese buffet, or a momo molded by a mom in Tibet or Nepal, the dumpling’s power comes chiefly from the love and care infusing it.
And nowhere is that love and care more evident than at the San Francisco Bay Area’s Everest Kitchen, which was visited recently by The Contemplative Traveler©™. Located along “the Solano Stroll” in Albany, California (near Berkeley), the popular dining spot is one of several “Himalayan-style” restaurants which have opened in the Bay Area over the past two decades. Featuring authentic Nepalese and Indian cuisine, Sanjeev Dhungel’s Everest Kitchen is known for the fresh ingredients it employs in multiple mouthwatering menu items, the most addicting of which are its craveable, inexpensive momos.
It has also distinguished itself for its attentive, friendly customer service, which consistently receives four and five stars on Yelp and other restaurant review platforms thanks to wait staff who not only deliver service with a smile, but who somehow manage to remember the unique preferences of the restaurant’s numerous individual, regular customers.
Arriving for an early lunch in order to beat the usual influx of patrons who pour in after 1 p.m., The Contemplative Traveler©™ was greeted and quickly escorted to a window view table. Given ample time to mull Everest Kitchen’s sizeable menu over a cup of tea, her order was then taken and served promptly.
She began her dining experience with Everest Kitchen’s version of Daal, a gluten free, vegan, lentil soup which had the consistency of a puree rather than a thicker stew. Although not “chunky,” the portion was generous and surprisingly filling with a texture and mild seasoning comparable to that of a comforting split-pea soup. The Daal was accompanied by a healthy serving of warm naan (a thick, soft bread similar to pita or flatbread).
Next up was an order of Everest Kitchen’s celebrated chicken momos. An eight-piece, artistic presentation of half moon-shaped, steamed dumplings packed with minced chicken, chives, green onion, and seasonal spices, this Nepali dish was served with a side of tomato-sesame chutney. On first impression, the momo taste seemed light to moderately spicy, but after dumpling number three, The Contemplative Traveler©™ began to “feel some heat.”
Barely making it through half of the offering (due to the very generous nature of the portion size rather than the seasoning), The Contemplative Traveler©™ ultimately put her fork down in surrender, sufficiently stuffed and comforted. Unwilling to let a single, scrumptious speck go to waste, however, she asked for a to-go box—the contents of which were quickly devoured the next day. (Note: Although the momos weren’t TOO spicy for The Contemplative Traveler©™, diners who don’t fare well with zesty foods might experience a bit of discomfort if finishing the entire eight-piece dish. As for readers who consider themselves to be “some like it hot” diners, wait staff are reportedly happy to ask the chef to kick things up a notch or two.)
The off-peak atmosphere was relaxing, the food divine. This is a restaurant worth returning to time and again for those who enjoy combining mindfulness with great food at an unbeatable price.
- Daal Soup: $5.00 (suitable for diners who avoid spicy foods)
- Chicken Momos (8 pieces): $10.00
If You Go:
Open every day (except Tuesdays) from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and again from 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Peaceful, soothing ambience during off-peak dining experiences. Challenging parking during peak times, but worth circling to find a spot.