Place: The Everest Kitchen, Lake Forest Park
In the bowl: From the menu: “Noodle soup with chicken or vegetables, peas and herbs.” Clarification coming, below.
Supporting cast/What to do: You can choose between chicken or vegetables. The latter will be one dollar less than the price above. Your server will ask your desired spice level, from one to five.
Noodling around: The Everest Kitchen serves “foods from the top of the world”–specifically India, Nepal, and Tibet. I know where those countries are, but I’m not really sure where The Everest Kitchen is located. The official address says Seattle, but some references show Shoreline. Two things are for sure: It’s on Bothell Way, north of Lake City. And it’s across from a Déjà Vu gentlemen’s club.
When the showgirls get hungry, thukpa could be a perfect meal for them. The server might not be able to describe the dish due to limited English, but I’ll try my best.
This is no ordinary soup. While I’ve heard of thukpas with clear broth, this one is red in color, and bold in flavor. I eventually spoke with the owner about the seasoning, and he said the flavor comes from onion, ginger, garlic, fenugreek, and something he called “corn pepper.” He explained that while you can find this pepper, which looks like black pepper (perhaps it’s simply peppercorn?), in the International District, it will have no flavor. Better to get it directly, harvested from the jungles of Nepal.
There are nice pieces of dark meat chicken in the soup, but none of the promised peas. That was actually okay with me. Instead, I enjoyed green and red bell peppers, red onions, cabbage, and cilantro.
No one could explain the type of noodles. Best I could determine, they are dried, spaghetti-like noodles, cooked to a soft texture in the soup.
If you want more: One can easily make the case for momos (Tibetan dumplings) to accompany the soup, and that wouldn’t be a bad choice. Same for some naan, of which Everest Kitchen serves a number of varieties. But I’m going to recommend the saag paneer ($9.95). Like the other dishes I tried, this seemed to be made to order–a nice portion of lightly steamed spinach in light cream with homemade (paneer) cheese and some assertive spices. It’s perfect with basmati rice, or some of that naan.
Be aware/beware: Lunch service is buffet style. While this makes for a fast meal and enables you to taste more items, I highly recommend ordering off the menu for the freshest food. Despite my server’s lack of English, service was appropriately attentive. When the owner learned that we ordered goat curry, he warned that it would take about 45 minutes to cook, and asked if we still wanted it. We did, and found it a little tough, whereas more time would have made it more tender. But that was the only mishap of my meal.
First published in Seattle Weekly’s Voracious on April 30, 2012.