Sunday, October 5, 2014

Everest Cuisine - Rapid City

Per custom, while in Rapid City, South Dakota looking for a place to eat, we scanned Yelp and Trip Advisor for recommendations. Everest Cuisine was rated no. 1 out of 207 restaurants on Trip Advisor and no. 3 on Yelp. It focuses on Nepalese and Indian food. 

I immediately thought of the Nepalese restaurant we visited in Manchester, New Hampshire, Cafe MoMo, rated no. 1 on Yelp in Manchester. We had a great experience there - fresh vegetables from the garden right next to the restaurant, goat and lamb on the menu. The proprietors from Nepal. For the most part Nepalese food is Indian food with a few twists. One of the twists seems to be goat. We have a very similar restaurant locally, Gul-Naz in Colton, which is Pakistani and Indian food. The Pakistani twist seems to be beef which is not found on traditional Indian menus. 

Everest Cuisine is relatively small with some fun Nepal related pictures on the wall, including a beautiful picture of Mt. Everest. The proprietors are from Nepal. The focus for lunch is their buffet. They did have a regular menu and goat was on it, no surprise given our experience at Cafe MoMo. Judy quickly volunteered us for the buffet and I went along with it. I think if I had to do it over again I would try one of their more unusual dishes, like the goat. 
The buffet offering was fairly limited. They had tandoori chicken, a typical Indian dish, which was very dry. I was happy I only had one piece. I can love tandoori chicken when it is moist, but I find most places over-cook it. The chicken tikka masala, another typical Indian dish, was okay. Not the best I've had, but certainly not the worst. I'm not a huge tikka masala fan unless it is very good. 
Chicken tikka masala was dry.
They had other dishes that I did not write down. One was a chicken dish with green peppers, onions and a nice sauce. The chicken was very tender and not-overcooked - it was the best dish on the buffet and I went back for more of it. A cauliflower and potato dish was also pretty good. A salad had iceberg lettuce with huge pieces of carrot and cucumber in it. It was very ordinary, but we'd had so few vegetables for several days that I enjoyed it, after I cut up the carrots and cucumbers so they would fit in my mouth. I had a mango lassi which was pretty good, a little more of a sour taste which I'm guessing is traditional.  
The chicken with peppers and onions was quite good.
Cauliflower and potato dish was okay. The salad was nice because our vegetable intake had been in short supply. 
I'd read a comment about South Dakota before-hand to the effect that they do not know how to season their food there - everything is bland. I would add that good fresh vegetables are in short supply. Vegetables tend to be out of an imported package. I guess I shouldn't be surprised by that. Despite the fact they are surrounded by a great landscape, the growing season has to be pretty short because of the harsh weather. 

So what is it that propels these ethnic restaurants, like Cafe MoMo and Everest Cuisine, to the top of the list in these small towns? I think it is because there is not a lot of variety in the local cuisine. MoMo and Everest stand out because they are very different, a revelation. They fill a nice niche. I read several reviews of Everest Cuisine that talked about how highly spiced the food is. Seriously? Everest Cuisine in the Los Angeles area would struggle. The Los Angeles area has much more variety in the types of cuisines and many Indian restaurants with much better food and food choices. 

For me, if I go to South Dakota again, I'll focus on what they do well there - buffalo and other game meats. We initially tried to go to a traditional steak house that offered that type of food, but it wasn't open for lunch. 

1 comment:

  1. I think you've summed up our experience with the food in the area--lack of fresh vegetables, uninspired cooking with overdone meat. We're going to have to try harder to find the better restaurants next time.