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Report – Wonderful Nepalese food at Metro Kathmandu

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yoshika Dec 30, 2007 08:36 PM

My friend and I just came back from dinner at Metro Kathmandu today. Although I’ve had a lot of Indian food and some Tibetan food in the past, I’ve always been curious about Nepalese food and never had much opportunity to try it. I tried to pick some traditional Nepalese dishes with some advice from the staff. Below are the items we tried and my comments:

Mother’s Special Pickled Daikon – This was complementary. The pickled texture and the smell reminded me of the Japanese pickled daikon, but with interesting twist of mustard seed and turmeric.

Tomato Soup – The soup in texture was similar to the traditional American tomato soup, but the spices in it and the depth of flavor made it very unique. I would definitely have this soup again.

Chicken Momos – This reminded me so much of the steamed gyoza I used to have growing up in Japan. The skin is much thinner than the dim sum I have in SF. Garlic and ginger flavors were most prominent amongst other spices like curry. Very yummy!

Samosa – The outer skin was nice and thin with good crispy texture. Inside potato filling was well flavored and spiced. The oil used to fry it tasted fresh – it did not leave the heaviness behind. I loved the riata and tamarind sauce.

Lamb Kabab – Lamb was cooked perfectly with medium/medium rare inside. I enjoyed the paring with grilled peppers and fresh tomatoes.

Alu Tama – This was my favorite dish of the evening. It was made with potato, bamboo shoots and black eye peas in tomato and curry sauce. The crunchy texture of the bamboo shoots really made the dish. According to the restaurant this is a very traditional Nepalese dish. I can eat this every day, all day long.

Traditional Goat Curry – the goat was cooked to a point that was fall off the bone tender. The dish was very rich with lovely flavors.

Steamed White Basmati Rice – Cooked perfectly.

In summary, all the dishes we tried were excellent. The interior of the restaurant is very cute with red walls, circle mirror accents and retro lighting. The service was prompt. The restaurant was fairly empty, perhaps due to it being Sunday evening. I was a bit surprised how empty the restaurant was considering the great food we had. I’m definitely going back there again with more people (so I can try more things). With two cocktails and all the above food the total came to $77 plus tip.

Yoshika

Restaurant info:
Metro Kathmandu
311 Divisadero Street, San Francisco
http://www.metrokathmandu.com/

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  1. rworange RE: yoshika Dec 30, 2007 09:16 PM

    Thanks for the great report. I love momos ... even bad ones ... who can hate a dumpling? The goat sounds great too. I'll definately try to check it out next year.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rworange
      Xiao Yang RE: rworange Dec 31, 2007 09:13 PM

      Yeah, if I bite the silver bullet and go it'll be because I'm drawn by the momos.

      FWIW, if you have a facebook account, you can find an active momo interest group there with quitw a few photos, a discussion board, and lots of Nepali members.

    2. susancinsf RE: yoshika Dec 31, 2007 07:36 AM

      thanks for the very appealing report; I will be checking this out.

      There is a spicy lamb dish on the appetizer menu that sounds like it could be similar to larb(?)

      -----
      Metro Kathmandu
      311 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

      1. Xiao Yang RE: yoshika Dec 31, 2007 09:39 AM

        It probably isn't busy because it suffers from the impression of being expensive. Rightly or wrongly, we are conditioned to think of ethnic cuisine, and especially Asian cuisine, of being bargain priced. Unless they can build up the cachet of a The Slanted Door (a visit by a President might help) the thought of a $40 pp tab might be a bit scary for those of us that are fond of off-the-beaten-path cuisines.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Xiao Yang
          susancinsf RE: Xiao Yang Dec 31, 2007 11:08 AM

          I am not sure how anyone would get the impression that it is expensive. If you look at the menu online (assuming it is accurate, and since it seems to be recent, referring to New Year's Eve, I assume it is), you will see that you would have to order a lot of food, and/or drink a lot, to get to $40 pp. Appetizers are $4 to $7 or so, desserts are $4 or $5. Main dishes are in the single digits (Alu Tama, listed as a main, is $9) to low double digits (most average $12 to $13), and the most expensive item on the menu, shrimp masala, is $15. Average tab for a three course meal including tax but not including drinks or tip is going to be more like $22 - 28 pp, depending on whether one goes for the high end items or not.

          Keep in mind that OP had three appetizers (not including the pickles) and three main dishes, plus rice and two drinks, for $77. Sounds to me like that is two people ordering enough food for three, in order to sample more of the menu :-)

          1. re: susancinsf
            Xiao Yang RE: susancinsf Dec 31, 2007 02:20 PM

            I have no idea of the portion sizes or how much they brought home, but for many people $40 seems a lot for a meal without particularly expensive or exotic ingredients unless it's a place with a lot of pretensions -- rightly or wrongly, as I said at the outset. I'd probably pass. Apples and oranges I know, but I had a larger array of fairly comparable fare to try (including three different kinds of momos) from the "tasting" menu at a fairly trendy Tibetan restaurant in another city. Small portions admittedly, but enough of them to leave me stuffed for about $15 including a beer and tax. That's the kind of place I live for.

            1. re: Xiao Yang
              susancinsf RE: Xiao Yang Dec 31, 2007 04:13 PM

              well, since it is apparently not in fact $40 a person you are really comparing apples and lettuce or something....

              The only other Nepalese restaurant I have eaten in is also in San Francisco, Little Nepal, and prices are somewhat higher there, although I still think it is quite good and reasonably priced:

              http://www.littlenepalsf.com/

              (it is also usually quite crowded, but of course has been around longer, and is smaller and arguably perhaps in a better neighborhood. the prices certainly aren't keeping folks away).

              1. re: susancinsf
                y
                yoshika RE: susancinsf Dec 31, 2007 07:41 PM

                I didn’t think the meal was very expensive, especially with all the food we took back with us. We ended up taking home at least half the amount of the food we ordered. Portion size wise I would equate it to typical Indian or Thai food restaurant portions. Considering that I think the prices are very fair.

                And yes, I have a tendency to over order food… I feel like I need to sample good range to understand the food at the restaurant when I visit them first. I wish I was born a football player so I could eat a lot more food! ;-)

                Thank you for posting the other restaurants link. I've been wanting to go there for some time as well.

                1. re: susancinsf
                  Xiao Yang RE: susancinsf Dec 31, 2007 08:09 PM

                  "With two cocktails and all the above food the total came to $77 plus tip."

                  Unless Yoshika and friend stiffed the server, that sounds like $40+ pp to me.

                  1. re: Xiao Yang
                    shortexact RE: Xiao Yang Dec 31, 2007 08:33 PM

                    I think that by saying "not in fact $40 a person", Susan meant that if they ordered less food -- so that it could be comfortably finished at the table, rather than intentionally ordering leftovers -- the bill would've been much less than $77. The $77 bill was more the equivalent of three or four people's worth of food, so "in fact", it was more like $20-30 per person, for that meal.

          2. s
            SteveG RE: yoshika Dec 31, 2007 11:22 AM

            Thanks for the report, glad to hear it's still good. I had a meal there about 3 months ago that was very similar. Price-wise, we spent a bit more with 3 people because there were some nice wines on the list that tempted us, and they went very well with the food. From what you mention ordering, I'm assuming you had a LOT of leftovers!

            1. Windy RE: yoshika Dec 31, 2007 04:46 PM

              We had a lackluster brunch here one day when the line to get into Zazie was an hour or two. Service couldn't be nicer. Unfortunately they don't have a Nepalese chef/menu during the day, and my crab benedict had too much sauce. I'm looking forward to returning for dinner.

              And expensive? This is one of the few places around where you can eat dinner for under $15 with a tip.

              1. Lori SF RE: yoshika Jan 1, 2008 07:59 AM

                Nice report! I posted a while back and liked this place very much. Maybe should go again soon.
                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/456898

                1 Reply
                1. re: Lori SF
                  n
                  Noyumcriedbaby RE: Lori SF Jan 2, 2008 08:57 AM

                  This is a fantastic find for discerning eaters. I, too, am always surprised that it isn't packed to the gills given the quality of the food. IMO the food here is worth far more than the (medium) prices reflect. If it was twice as expensive, I would still eat here. The host (who may be an owner?) is also very gracious. My wife and I have dined here twice now and I wish we could do so more often. I very highly recommend the crab momos, the Alu Tama, and the Masalas.

                2. drmimi RE: yoshika Jan 2, 2008 04:42 PM

                  sounds like a nice find-- however up my way in Sonoma County there are quite a few Nepalese restuarants. My favorite up here is Namaste Cafe 1390 N. McDowell, (at N. McDowell and Redwood Hwy just off 101) in Petaluma. Hmm 10 of use made off full and satisfied under $140. Also there was a recent Chowdown there that had positive reviews. And Yes, the momos are FABULOUS-- just ask them to make it spicier if you prefer your food very hot.... Buffet lunch is all you can eat including wonderful fresh salad, fresh fruit dessert and 4-5 entree choices at $8.95. Worth the drive or if you need a stop before heading to the Russian River or Mendocino....

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: drmimi
                    y
                    yoshika RE: drmimi Jan 3, 2008 11:05 AM

                    Wow... that does sound good. I'm not often in the Petaluma area, but I'm making a mental note to visit there when I'm up that way. Thank you for your post.

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