My cardinal post. And it must be about my carnal (but truest) love – FOOD.
A few nights ago, I chowed down at a restaurant that I’ve only heard people rant and rave about as I rapaciously rubbed my stomach with a mournful expression on my face. Mournful face and jealous tummy-rubbing no more, I went there.
Everest is a Nepalese/North Indian restaurant in Dongdaemun - not the glitzed-out, shopping-on-amphetamines part of Dongdaemun by the old stadium but the part on the other side of Cheonggyecheon. We ordered lassies and stuffed kulcha to start (or at least that was the idea. We didn’t get the stuffed kulchas ‘til the latter part of the meal). Lassies were a tad Koreanized…yogurt and syrup, but still slurp-worthy and tasty.
Expect to overhear spatterings of conversations spoken in English (and obviously Korean). This place is a mainstay of the expat community. The décor is simple – walls, tables, and chairs all heavily blanketed in what I can only guess are tokens of Nepalese/Indian culture. The waitress really knows how to pour water. I stared in amazement each time she came over, and I drink a lot of water.
Then for the plats principal – Palak Paneer (Indian mozzarella in a spinach sauce), Mutton Masala (spicy red lamb curry), basmati rice, and garlic naan. Palak paneer is the kind of dish that has a subtle sweetness that not everyone can appreciate. I feel like if you eat a caprese salad and kind of cud around the mozzarella and basil in your mouth and roll your eyes in pleasure at the lactescent richness lolling around on your tongue…you’ll get it. The palak paneer was creamy, smooth and moderately spiced. Squeezing down on the little cubes of cheese bobbing around in the sauce was a little bit of a *high five* moment for me. But my dining partner, who may or may not have had his taste buds brutally mutilated as a youngin’, didn’t like it. He doesn’t get it.
The lamb wasn’t too dry or stringy in the mutton masala. Everything melded together really well, but the unusually hard green peas in the sauce made me tilt my head in a human question mark. Otherwise, I don’t much have to say about the mutton masala, not because it was whatever, but because it was a well-made curry that punched in at each criteria for a good masala curry (minus the hard peas). It’s so hard to find a well-spiced curry with well-cooked meat in Korea. Many times (even at Ganga), I’ll end up with a curry dish so spicy its scent alone could sear the roof of my mouth.
Garlic naan…yum in my mouth. Chewy with a nice thin skin of toastiness and of course beautifully peppered in garlic crumbles. Basmati rice was…basmati rice. Beautiful yellow color and aromatic…and long grained. And finally the kulcha – a happy marriage between nan and some kind of lentil stuffing with a side of yogurt sauce to slather all over it. I thought the yogurt sauce was a little too sweet and the stuffing wasn’t anything special…just beans. I probably won’t get this again.
Prices are very moderate especially for the level of authentic cuisine in a pleasant atmosphere. I don’t think any main dish exceeded 10,000 won. My dining partner practically tapping his heels in delight at the little licorice sugar crystals they serve at the cashier counter. Service was excellent – it’s Korea. Join the club, eat here.
Directions: Dongdaemun Station on Line 4 (baby blue line), Exit 3. Walk to the Woori Bank and go left into the small street. Bear right and you'll see the blue sign for Everest. It's on the second floor.