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Metro Kathmandu

Surprisingly Heavenly Himalayan Offerings

A new Nepalese restaurant within blocks of another well-regarded Nepalese restaurant? One with a boudoir-ish red interior located in the former digs of a forgettable French Bistro? Yes, the stats have the hum of those train rails right before a train wreck. But this is only Metro Kathmandu on paper, and despite all these seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Metro Kathmandu cooks up enticing tastes of Far Eastern cuisine that is well worth a trek.

Metro Kathmandu’s red interior is actually extremely warm and inviting -- perfect for one of our recent rainy evenings -- and the lighting and mirrors create a cross between a super-mod Austin Powers set and a candle-lit Chinese lantern shop. The setting actually reflects the food as well, which is modern in its freshness and execution though still classic in flavors. And with Nepal’s geographical location in the mountains between India and China, Colorado Chef Bishnu Chaudary has ample flavors to draw from, creating a palate of lively dishes that reflect the essence of India, with a few nods to China (particularly in Chaudary’s dumplings).

Metro Kathmandu’s dinner menu includes a few salads and soups, a range of appetizers, and a variety of kebabs, curries and paneers, and a selection of Indian beers and light wines that compliment the menu’s spices. Of note: we found the prices at Metro Kathmandu quite reasonable and, once seated, our server provided a complimentary order of “Mother’s Special Pickled Daikon” ($3), simultaneously making us feel pampered while kick-starting our taste buds.

Since we were in the heart of crab season, we began our meal with the Crab Momos ($8), a house specialty. Steamed dumplings seasoned with curry and ginger and stuffed with flakey crab meat, onion, garlic and served with a tangy tomato-cilantro chutney, the Momos were light and bursting with flavor; the chutney providing an excellent, spicy contrast. In fact, the chutney was such a favorite, we ordered another round along with our entrees.

For our main course, we ordered the Alu Govi ($9), Lamb Vindaloo ($13) and Chicken Tikki Masala ($13) with sides of Roti ($2), Rice ($2), Raita ($3) and Dal ($2). The Alu Govi was a classic combo of cauliflower and potatoes with a flavorful tomato sauce that carried some nice heat. The Vindaloo was made with potatoes, tender chunks of boneless lamb and a completely addictive sauce made with curries and Indian spices. And the Tikki Masala, cooked in a “creamy butter tomato sauce", was absolute perfection --perfect for dipping our Roti.

Truthfully, everything was so filling, we didn’t need a topper to this meal, but we took on the “Carrot Cake” ($5), nevertheless. Warm and moist, and not overtly sweet, this “cake” actually turned out to be a bit more of a carrot pudding, and far more interesting than its description, or name, would suggest -- indescribably delicious and highly recommended, we were glad we pushed ourselves toward that ever-ominous food coma.

On another visit, a Sunday, we enjoyed possibly the last, and best, remnants of the former Metro Café -- their French-style brunch with garden seating. The menu is virtually unchanged, and includes eggs, omelets, and the pre-requisite French toast topped with Chantilly, as well as a selection of salads and sandwiches.

Currently on a venture to sample every Croque Monsieur in the City, we tried Metro’s version ($9) with a side of fries and a tasty cluster of cornichons. Though the fries were crispy and showed the only glimmer of Metro Kathmandu’s other side in its dash of cayenne, and the béchamel oozed assuredly from one of the cheesiest of all ham sandwiches, we thought this “Croque” could’ve used a bit more time under the broiler.

True -- the old Metro’s brunch menu was left virtually untouched, and many of its offerings have roots a world away from any version of a Cat Stevens tune, but options like Crab Cake Benedict ($10) and Chorizo Hash ($10) fit a weekend agenda perfectly. And with Metro Kathmandu now offering complimentary mimosas through the month of January as an added incentive, this is still the best neighborhood weekend brunch destination to be found in the 94117.

But the truth is, with a Vindaloo to die for and a tomato chutney with the perfect balance of spice and fire, Metro Kathmandu doesn’t need to offer its diners any incentives -- the food here is a generous slice of heaven, and a lovely dash of daikon.

Western Addition

Reservations Accepted – Yes.