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ANOTHER Nepali restaurant, this time in Somerville...

  • Prav Feb 14, 2010 07:25 PM
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As I was driving tonight on Broadway nearish Winter Hill, I passed an empty storefront that had construction stuff left inside, and a bright new sign that said "Yak and Yeti - Fine Nepali and Indian food".

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  1. Yeah, it's in Ball Square right next to True Grounds. I haven't been able to walk by yet to see if there's an opening date, but right now the windows are all papered up.

    1. There's a large population of Tibetan/Nepali folks in Somerville, so it's no surprise that there's also a fair number of restaurants run out of that community. I guess I'm reading the "ANOTHER" with a sigh, which seems weird to me. Better than ANOTHER pizza place!

      12 Replies
      1. re: bobot

        Oh, I know, I know. I'm Nepali myself, and my 'ANOTHER!!' comment actually referred to my disbelief that there are so many restaurants in Boston representing this (relatively) rare cuisine. :)

        1. re: Prav

          Yak and Yeti may be just about the best restaurant name I've heard in a loooong time.

          Right up there with "Pho Shizzle" - http://www.phoshizzle.ca/

          1. re: Bob Dobalina

            I would love to dine at a 'Pho Shizzle'.

            Yak & Yeti is actually a super common name for things in Nepal... Yak & Yeti Bookstore, Yak & Yeti Massage Parlor, Yak & Yeti Taxi Cab, etc. ;)

            1. re: Prav

              How is that Yak and Yeti Massage parlor?

              1. re: StriperGuy

                It's absolutely abominable.

                1. re: Prav

                  All that fur, and those claws, don't see HOW you can give a good massage.

                  1. re: StriperGuy

                    plus, the yeti rarely even shows up...

            2. re: Bob Dobalina

              I wonder if they serve Yeti meat?

              1. re: StriperGuy

                Free range, I would hope!

                1. re: StriperGuy

                  I dunno, but Yak cheese is pretty amazing. :)

                  1. re: StriperGuy

                    Only when the abominable snowman is out of season.

                    House of Tibet Kitchen has yak meat on the menu, btw.

                  2. re: Bob Dobalina

                    We went to Nepal last December and the Yak and Yeti references were all over the place. Some of the most populated Lonely Planet-esque eating places in Kathmandu had one or both in their name (no hipster irony intended) and were over-run with international crunchy types. (Including us, I guess!)

                    We are looking forward to Yak and Yeti...we found the food most delicious!

              2. A weekend brunch buffet to compete with SoundBites, Ball Square Cafe, and TrueGrounds would be epic...

                1. I had lunch at Mt. Everest kitchen in Allston last week: my first Nepali meal. It was delicious. Can't wait to try more stuff.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: tamerlanenj

                    Try Kathmandu Spice in Arlington. Truly awesome!

                    1. re: StriperGuy

                      Agreed - I love Kathmandu Spice. And I'm VERY excited to hear about Yak and Yeti being added to the panoply of Somerville dining choices!

                  2. Been twice so far.

                    The first time, the service was very awkward but the food was good. The Navratan Korma I had was on par with others I have had around town, the garlic Naan was above average, and the Nepalese appetizer (vegetable dumplings) were good although I wished I had realized how spicy their sauce was...

                    The second time, the service was a little better (they were less crowded and had another week to get things down). Our appetizer was rather disappointing. Really spicy and dry soy beans with a few flakes of ginger and onion. Very disappointing -- I figured it was going to be something closer to edamame instead of a bag of soy nuts coated with heat. I think we managed to eat a 1/4 of it. Waitstaff didn't seem to care that we were not pleased. Food was decent but very, very hot for "medium" -- and I generally like hot food. And hot in a chili pepper and not rounded spice like many Indian restaurants are.

                    Not sure after the last dinner that I will be returning any time soon. Despite being Yak and Yeti being the closest Indian or Indian-hybrid restaurant, I'd rather take the extra time to go to Martsa on Elm in Davis or India Palace in Union. Those two places have never disappointed me.

                    And yes, they do offer weekend brunch buffet so they can at least solidify Ball Square as the Brunch hub.

                    12 Replies
                    1. re: yarm

                      The dry, spicy soy beans are called 'bhatmas' and sound pretty authentic according to your description. Acquired taste, probably. (Grew up eating it).

                      Also, what did you order on your second visit? Nepali food is not supposed to be hot. Yet, every Boston-area Nepali food has a standard North Indian menu (alongside some Nepali dishes) to cater to everyone's tastes.

                      When I say "standard Indian menu", I'm talking about the usual Muglai-influenced dishes that you see on nearly every Indian menu, like Tandoori Chicken, Mutter Paneer, Naan, Navratan Korma, etc.

                      I think they include all these Indian dishes to have something familiar on the menu for everybody. I think a good analogy would be the Chinese-American dishes you find at nearly every Chinese restaurant here, regardless of whether it's a Cantonese or Sichuan or Fou-Zhou restaurant.

                      A Nepali kitchen might not be great at these dishes, simply because it isn't really Nepali food at all.

                      By the way, I'm not by any means trying to minimize your negative experience. Just trying to provide some possible explanations. :) And there's no excuse for crappy service.

                      1. re: Prav

                        Yes, correct name. It did look a lot like Bhel in presentation, but it was as exciting as a bag of soy nuts (which is a fine healthy snack that I am used to, but for $5 for a small plate, it seemed overpriced for what it was), well if you disregard the capsaicin content that is.

                        1. re: yarm

                          It's too bad they charge for that; Kathmandu Spice in Arlington gives every diner a small cup of it for free.

                          -----
                          Kathmandu Spice
                          166 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02474

                          1. re: Prav

                            And at Kathmandu Spice it is REALLY good. Be curious to try this new place and compare overall to KS, cause KS is so good.

                            -----
                            Kathmandu Spice
                            166 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02474

                            1. re: StriperGuy

                              He's right, the bhatmas at KS is the bomb. :) And free.

                              In fact, sometimes it's so good, we stay up till 3:30a posting about it.

                        2. re: Prav

                          I haven't been to this restaurant yet, but it's on my list to try soon. What Nepali dishes should I keep an eye out for? (My DC will be all "want to split the saag paneer and chicken tikka masala?" so it helps to be prepared)

                          1. re: blink617

                            From the sound of it, hit Kathmandu Spice FIRST!

                            -----
                            Kathmandu Spice
                            166 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02474

                            1. re: StriperGuy

                              I've been there for dinner and for brunch, and really enjoyed it. I was under the impression that Kathmandu Spice was more creative than authentic. When they opened, they billed themselves as Himalayan fusion if I'm recalling correctly. My favorite dish when we went for dinner was the palak cannelloni, it was like going for Indian food and going for Italian food on the same night - and the spicy tomato sauce they serve with it is pretty good.

                              -----
                              Kathmandu Spice
                              166 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02474

                              1. re: blink617

                                Yeah, they definitely have some fusion-y stuff! Like that cannelloni, and this fried "tangy eggplant" dish.

                                They do the real Nepali stuff pretty well, though.

                            2. re: blink617

                              Lol@ the comment about your DC :)

                              - Aloo Tama / a.k.a. Aloo Tama Bodi is a stew of black eyed peas, potatoes, and fermented bamboo. It's probably one of the most Nepali things you can get. It's comfort food with rice, and the bamboo has this nice underlying sourness/funkiness (but not overkill). Sorta like the dish Hoppin' John, with a kick. (pun?)

                              -Momo / Momocha. Nepali dumplings, if made well in-house, they are absolutely delicious. Usually comes with a tomato-sesame sauce to dip, which may have a low-grade heat.

                              -Dal bhaat. Probably the 'bread and butter' of Nepali food. I notice they serve it here as part of a Thali (the metal tray with small compartments of different curries and veggies). I sorta feel annoyed paying $18 for daal bhat, when it costs about 3 bucks to make. Still worth getting.

                              -Greens (I'm not sure of an English translation. They're not spinach nor collard greens). Delicious, simply prepared greens. I compare them to the plate of peapod stems at a Chinese restaurant, a good palate cleanser.

                              -Sikarni. Probably the most Nepali dessert you can find, if you can find it here. It's a yellow-colored yogurty pudding, sort of thick and Greek textured, infused with saffron, cardamom, cinnamon and other spices. Simple, saffron-y and delicious.

                              Pretty different than the standard Chicken Tikka Masala stuff. :) But worth exploring!

                              1. re: Prav

                                Thanks, Prav! I'll definitely have to try some of these.

                              2. re: blink617

                                The Nepali part of the menu is quite a bit more limited than the Indian part. 5 veggie dishes and 5 meat dishes, plus appetizers and various noodle soups. There is a pretty full Indian menu. So it really doesn't feel like a Nepali restaurant with a few Indian dishes on the menu to give people some things they are familiar with. That being said, my DC and I shared the Nepali Pumpkin and the Indian Chana Paneer, as well as veggie momos and we were quite pleased with our dinner.

                          2. Finally made it to Yak and Yeti this week, only a few days after going to Mt. Everest Kitchen too! Really enjoyed both, but chances are I'll make it back to Y&Y first. We enjoyed a mix of Indian and Nepali dishes.
                            Vegetable chow chow - wasn't sure if this was going to be like Hakka noodles, but it was more like spicy spaghetti. Nice though
                            Veggie momos - ok filling, good tomato sauce for dipping
                            Tofu ra Palung - a really good tofu and spinach dish
                            Chiura - dried rice - actually liked the version @ Mt. Everest Kitchen much better
                            Chana paneer & naan - for one member of our group who wanted Indian

                            Things were a bit spicier than we had expected, but we enjoyed our meal. Service was efficient and polite. They provided papadum as their free starter food - wish they'd offer something Nepali like they do @ both Mt. Everest (a potato salad and chiara) and Kathmandu Spice (the addictive tiny dish of soybeans)

                            Hopefully there's enough of a difference to keep this place and Kathmandu Spice both busy. KS seems fancier and more fusiony.

                            -----
                            Mt. Everest Kitchen
                            182 Brighton Ave, Allston, MA 02134

                            Kathmandu Spice
                            166 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02474

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Bluebell

                              Oh, I forgot to mention, the owner of Yak & Yeti told me that he owns Mt. Everest kitchen as well.

                              1. re: Prav

                                Interesting. The only dish I tried at both places was the dried rice and it was significantly different.

                                1. re: Bluebell

                                  Interesting indeed. Maybe they ran out of homemade Nepali chiura and served the store-bought Indian version of chiura ('poha') in a pinch.

                                  Thanks for your review - it's made me want to go back and try more!