Any Nepalis in the House?
Knock - knock??
The one who loves Nepali Cuisine.
That's how I entered this tiny restaurant situated at a corner on the main block of Devon Avenue in Chicago.
Known as Nepal House. The Devon avenue is a sight to behold with all the well-lit shops and restaurants adorning the surroundings. I happened to be there around half past five in the evening and was looking for a perfect snack to munch on when I came across this place serving traditional Nepali cuisine.
As I made my way in, I was comforted with the cozy and tight ambience this place had with the contrasting windy and chilly environment I had to face outside.
A place fit for 50 people at the most, this place was not that busy as I was here a tad bit early. But, hey!! This is my snack time!
With that being said, I started off by ordering all the popular finger food this cuisine had to offer. The chef de cuisine himself took our order and set us up with their famous delicacies. Can't wait to get started. Can you?
The first order made its way to the table.
These are Steamed Paneer Momos. Considered as the legit national dish of Nepal, the aroma protruding from the dumplings was heavenly. They are stuffed with finely chopped paneer aka cottage cheese and coriander with their special sauces and spices which are only confined to the restaurant. Served alongside a chutney, which is made of ginger, turmeric, yogurt and a blend of their special sauces was tantalizingly delicious when I had a dab of it.
Popped one momo into my mouth only to let out hot fumes. But, don't be mistaken as I was enjoying every bit of it. The flavor was spot on. The paneer is the protagonist and has stolen the show by absorbing the spices and acted as a catalyst for the spices to do their thing. The dumpling batter itself is so thin and translucent which helped not to overpower the stuffing. Pairing it with the sauce just added a new meaning to my palate & life. No pun intended. Go for this!
Hard to come out of the sorrow that the dish had been completed within a jiffy. But,
Here comes Fried Chicken Momos. Wait, what??????
I can just keep looking at this beautiful fried dumplings all day without any remorse of it getting cold. But, let's admit it. Everything has to end and this dish had to end within a second approximately.
Paired with the same sauce as served earlier which I already went head over heels for, these fried dumplings come with a stuffing of minced chicken which are marinated with traditional Nepali spices and also has an infusion of herbs such as mint and coriander. They were perfectly fried to achieve that golden brown texture and it was not in any sense, greasy! Loved it. Now, to gobble them.
Ahhhh. It only gets better and better. One would expect it to be doughy enough to hold the stuffing while frying, but this is a chef's marvel. The fried batter is still very thin and the amount of stuffing makes up for the size of the dumpling. The chicken was hit out of the park. Checkmate, I suppose!
This is turning out to be the best snack I had in quite a while. And, then comes another dish.
This was Kukhura Ko Pakheta. Simply put, these are chicken wings served in Nepali style. Well, the flavor quotient is by no means simple though. The chicken is marinated with traditional Himalayan spices and grilled until it falls off the bone ready!
Served on a sizzling plate and topped with freshly cut veggies, these wings are satisfying. I mean, literally!
Grabbed one piping hot wing and started to have a go at it. This was something different than what I have tasted all these years. Definitely in a good way though. The Himalayan spices which were told to be added to this Nepali style wings are something which are a well kept secret better known to the locals from that region. The chicken however was cooked at the right temperature and was put onto the sizzling plate just before achieving perfection as the hot stone kept cooking the meat while it was on the table. Juicy and soaked well in the spice marinade, these wings paired with fresh veggies wouldn't disappoint!
Well well well to the final dish,
The Chicken Chow Mein Nepali Style. Need I say more about the noodle heaven I just sprung myself into. I have ordered Chicken noodles but I can take this colorful rendition any day.
To start off, the chicken is grilled unto where the edges are crispy and the meat is yet juicy, which is actually lovable to infinity. But it just gets interesting from there, as there are multitude of flavors awaiting to end my meal on a high note. I am just in love with this dish which is spicy yet quite amazingly tasty. Be it the freshness from the peas, sweetness from the carrots, the marriage of spices which depicts in the color adorned by the noodles or the crisp and refreshing cabbage, I am not sure. You decide yourself!
If you happen to be in Chicago, you might as well give a visit to the Devon Avenue in the evening just to get into the aura of a well-lit street packed with restaurants and shopping stores and most definitely, to Nepal House.
2601 West Devon Ave Chicago, IL 60659
Value For Money: 8/10