Before my first visit to on Solano Avenue in Albany, I knew very little about Nepalese and Tibetan food. Similar to Indian cuisine, it has all the flavor of its southern neighbor, but lacks a certain heaviness often found in big family-style meals at the Indian restaurants that I've tried.
Small, warm and beautifully decorated, Kathmandu's atmosphere is unpretentious and the waitstaff is careful, without being obsessive.
For my late lunch I decided to go with the traditional Nepali Dall Bhat combination plate. There is an option of vegetarian plate, as well as chicken or goat meat. Wanting to try something new I went with goat. The pieces of meat were well cooked and broke apart with my fork as in a good pot roast. The meal came with a heap of basmati rice, a salad and a cup of mild, but flavorful lentil soup.
The main plate was also surrounded by several smaller plates and containers filled with tasty additional options for your meal. Truth be told, I'm still not sure which one traditionally goes with what, but I experimented with it all and figured out what worked for me.
The spicy tomato achar complemented the tender chunks of goat meat, the minty yogurt sauce doubled as dressing for my salad, and the pickled vegetables were delicious and refreshing wrapped in a piece of roti.
Despite having finished my entire meal, when I got up from the table I felt pleasantly full instead of uncomfortably stuffed. In my experience this happens only after the best and most balanced meals.
If you make your way over to Solano to get a taste of Nepal and Tibet, you can also stop by , the affiliated store next door which sells a variety of colorful Himalayan items like scarves, singing bowls, jewelry, pillows and bedspreads.
is open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for lunch with some great specials; Monday through Thursday, 5-9:30 p.m. for dinner; Friday and Saturday, 5-10 p.m., and on Sunday, 5-9 p.m.