Last fall I wrote with a broken heart about the loss of the local Indian-Nepalese restaurant, Mount Everest Momo, to a raging fire. In November of 2014 an electrical problem sparked a fire in the strip mall that housed the Momo shop. That fire smoldered through the hidden ramparts of the building till it reached the state liquor store where the sparks exploded with volcanic force. The liquor store and the shops on either side of it were obliterated. Mount Everest Momo was located two doors from the liquor store. Its walls remained, but the space was a wreck. The beautiful hand-painted murals were obliterated by charcoal soot.
Coming, just before Christmas, I worried terribly about the outcome for owner Raj Shrestha. Would he have enough capital to recover his losses? Would insurance be enough to carry him and his family through the lack of business? Initially, he posted an optimistic sign stating that he’d reopen in a month. I feared that legal entanglements would hinder reopening in this site for years to come. But Raj is a man of incredible drive and persistence. He has done the impossible! On May 1st, just six months after the conflagration, Mount Everest Momo will reopen in its original location at 2144 Broadway Avenue in Boise.Not only is the Momo shop reopening in record time, but Raj made Momos out of bricks. While the lawyers haggled over liability and insurance payments, Raj returned to Nepal to and enrolled in professional cooking school. You see, Mr. Shrestha is a trained engineer, not a trained cook. “Never in my wildest dreams,” he says, “did I ever imagine I’d be cooking for a living!” What he knew about cooking, he learned after coming to the states. Of course, he had the help of his wife’s family recipes, but cooking for a family and cooking for a restaurant are two completely different beasts. Raj is eager to show off his newly refined techniques in an expanded menu and tweaked Momo preparation.
The reopening, coming as it does, on the heels of the disastrous earthquake in Raj’s hometown of Katmandu, seems especially poignant. Ask him, and he will show you some heartbreaking before and after photos from home. I’m wishing Raj and his family great success the second time around and can’t wait to visit the restaurant!
For years I’ve complained that my side of town suffers from a lack of interesting eateries, which is odd, considering it’s proximity to Boise State University campus and an affluent bloom of residential subdivisions to the east. Things are starting to look up. I reported earlier about the new Korean BBQ joint just blocks from my home.
In a strip mall just up the road, is a small, catering and take-out site. Tapia’s menu tends toward the upscale American palate, with excellent pastas, deserts, and vegetarian offerings, but nothing too challenging. Woefully, I believe they are slated to move downtown in the near future.
An established but mundane Chinese restaurant toughs it out just up the strip from Tapias. A few doors south is a fairly new, reasonably priced Hawaiian joint with huge portions of meat and other waist-enhancing dishes that are sadly short on flavor. Just across the street is the newly relocated Vietnamese Restaurant, Dong Khahn, an old friend of mine. Of course, there are tons of fast food Mexican and burger joints scattered around and even a Mexican food truck that puts out inexpensive gut bombs a block north of the Korean spot. There’s even a new tits bar, where you won’t find me spending money or time.
My newest discovery has wedged itself into the strip mall right next door to the old Chinese joint. Mount Everest Momo Café bills itself as: a taste of the country’s rich culinary heritage with a delicious variety of recipes, painstakingly gathered from the royal kitchens of Nepal, to the sea swept shores of South India. These recipes offer a truly delightful Nepali Indian experience. I’m no judge of authenticity because, I’ve never been to India or to Nepal, although I would love to do that some day.Since discovering the Everest, I’ve been munching my way through their menu. If it was the only item on the menu, I’d still return for the Chicken Chau Chau: Tibetan style noodles, pan fried with chicken and vegetables for $9.95. This dish is Nirvana. The chicken was fork-tender and the potatoes and vegetables were miraculously al dente rather than over-stewed. The accompanying rice soaked up the thinnish but tasty sauce. I asked for four out five stars worth of heat. I might ask for five stars next time.
I was recovering from the dreaded 2014 winter cold and seeking comfort when I ordered the the Lamb Thukpa: A large bowl of Tibetian style noodles, lamb and vegetables in a savory broth for $11.95 OMG. Delish! Again, fork-tender bites of lamb mixed with carrots, peas, cauliflower, and broccoli danced between ropey egg noodles, cooked to al dente perfection; all simmered in a robust broth, accented by those beloved Indian spices: cardamom, cilantro, cumin, red pepper and who knows what other bits of magic.
The cafe’s most popular dish is Chicken Korma, comprised of boneless chicken swimming in a thick cream sauce with hints of coconut, cashews, and assorted mystery spices and served with rice for $11.95. All of these meals are generous enough to satisfy two normal appetites. Especially with the addition of an order of naan. The Keema Naan, stuffed with ground lamb for $3.50, is my favorite. Leftovers make a delightful breakfast. Yes, why not start the day with some delicious protein? Mt. Everest Momo is all about quality ingredients, cooked to perfection, simply served. You’ll see no architecturally structured plates trotting out of the kitchen.What this restaurant lacks in ambiance it makes up for in the richness of the cuisine and the warmth of owner, Raj Shrestha. Twelve years ago, Raj was a travel agent living in his home country of Nepal. He came to the states, landing in Boise, of all places, where he worked for Micron. Raj hopes, once the restaurant is established, to start his own signature travel agency, specializing in planning and escorting American visitors to Nepal.
I hope this location works out for Raj’s Momo because I dearly love the food! And wow, all of a sudden, Boise’s east end burgeoning with interesting food options.Mount Everest Momo Cafe Hours 2144 S Broadway Av Mon-Sat: 11:00-2:30 Boise ID 83706 5:00-9:00 208 342-1268 208 340-0250
Have you noticed how restaurants come and go? They seem to have lives—like pets and people. Some live until they’re bent and wrinkled, others come and go almost before they’ve had a chance to squeeze through puberty. Even more fascinating is how certain restaurant locations seem to predispose longevity. We’ve all seen the perpetually changing cafes. You know: the funky little place down the street that instead of a mild facelift every few years, endures a complete identity makeover, morphing from Mexican cuisine, to Cajun, to hip pizzeria.
Well, there’s a tiny slot squeezed between Ves’s Broadway Bar and Jiffy Clean Laundry that has endured its share of seesaw makeovers. I first became aware of this doomed location back in 2010 when the joint morphed from the sad, smokey, iconic Kim’s Chinese Restaurant, to the fresh-faced Jeffrie’s Next Door. Chef Jeffrey jumped into this little opportunity to operate his own establishment after years of slaving for The Man. Jeffrey scrubbed, painted, purchased and proudly opened his modest but hip little eatery to mild fanfare and decent reviews. An unfortunate disagreement with his landlord ended his short reign. The site sat empty for a while. Then the Saladman moved in. Having spent years serving truck fare, this guy was relieved to have his feet on solid ground. I ate there once, assuming from the name that it might be light, figure-friendly food. It was not and I never went back. Next time I glanced over at this building—which I drive by quite routinely—I noticed a bright new sign beckoning hopefully from the dismal strip of old storefronts. Since the Saladman is still in business in another part of town, I can only surmise that tenant or location issues figured into his departure from my neighborhood.
K-Fusion Korean BBQ & Grill is generating lots of Facebook buzz. I walked over for a test run last week. Arriving at the tail end of the lunch rush, the place was fairly busy and quite loud. The room’s long, narrow dimensions leave few options for feasibly creating intimate spaces. A long, padded bench runs along one wall with deuce tables lined up in front of it. The chairs backs define the aisle from front door to kitchen. Tables for four line the opposite wall. The decor is black and subtle grey Asian chic.
Having little experience with Korean cuisine, I opted for the Spicy Pork Lunch Box which included the signature Korean stone grilled barbecued pork in spicy red sauce served over rice. This was delicious. The finely chopped tidbits of meat were succulent and fork-tender. My tray of food included a salad of fresh tender greens, drizzled with a light, poppy-seed vinaigrette that had the perfect blend of tart-sweet plus a small sampling of pickled veggie medley, or what I think of as Kimchee. As if all that wasn’t enough to send me home waddling, there was also a generous serving of Japchae which consists of glass noodles mixed with thinly sliced onions, carrots, mushrooms, eggs, and spinach, lightly sautéed in sesame oil and garlic. Little triangles of grilled Korean style savory pancakes, called Pajeon, were artfully drizzled with tangy teriyaki and mayo. All this delicious food for under $10. Yum!
I hope to enjoy many more meals at K-Fusion before its doomed location lures it, too, out of my ‘hood. K-Fusion proudly serves local and pasture-raised meat and has gluten-free and vegetarian items on the menu.K-Fusion Korean BBQ & Grill 1716 S Broadway Boise ID 83706 208 336-5959 email@example.com Monday – Saturday:
Lunch 11:30 am-02:30 pm Dinner 5:00 pm-9:00 pm Closed Sundays, Christmas & New Year’s Day