At 1593 Solano Avenue is Nomad Tibetan Restaurant, just a block down from Everest Café, which serves Nepalese food. I would have thought the two cuisines would be pretty similar, and so I thought it was strange that the two were located so close together. But Sushi 29 and Miyuki manage to coexist peacefully on the same block, so I guess Nomad and Everest Café can make it work too.
I took more pictures than I usually do on my lunching quest because the restaurant itself was just so adorable and because the food was so beautiful to look at. There’s a sunken dining area in the back that would be perfect for a celebration or a large family get-together. (See above photo.) And there are little windows that don’t actually go anywhere but provide a lovely ambiance, and everywhere you look, there’s a stuffed yak. I don’t mean that there is a dish of yak stuffed with dates or rice; they’re cute little stuffed animals giving the place a warm, friendly feel.
George, always the bravest diner of the three of us, ordered the Tibetan tea, which our waiter told us was buttery and salty, akin to “liquid popcorn.” George really liked it, saying, “It’s actually kind of great.” I tasted it, but I have to say that I prefer my popcorn crunchy. I guess Tibetan tea is just not my cup of tea.
There were so many fun items on the menu that it was difficult to decide, but we finally ordered two appetizers and three entrees to share. The egg rolls were perfectly crisp and quite hot. (Truth be told, I probably should have waited a minute to let them cool down.) They were served on a bed of mixed spring greens that was not just garnish. Delicious! (And thankfully not a drop of Thousand Island dressing in sight.) The steamed buns were a gorgeous saffron color. They didn’t have a lot of flavor on their own, but they were great for dipping into various sauces. And their texture was just the right balance of chewy and doughy—a great comfort food item.
Dave’s basil chicken was pretty good, but my sizzling beef was better. And it arrived true to its name. I don’t generally take videos of my food because it’s usually just sitting there. But the sounds and rising steam of this yummy dish called for more than just a still photo. It’s too bad my camera doesn’t have Smellorama technology. I tried loading the video here for your pleasure, but it wouldn’t cooperate.
And my favorite of the day was George’s beef momo, which are big dumplings, similar to gyoza, or potstickers. They were accompanied by a flavorful chili sauce that had basil, ginger, and cilantro in it—which I dipped my steamed bun in when I figured I’d eaten enough of George’s entrée.
Approaching the restroom, I felt as if I were in Santa Cruz entering the Mystery Spot. Because the ceiling slopes down toward the door, I experienced the optical illusion that either the room was shrinking or I was growing. Once inside, though, the bathroom was clean and quite lovely. The live orchid was a nice touch and almost made me forget my brief Alice in Wonderland experience.
I think we can say that Nomad was an enthusiastic three thumbs up! I will definitely go back with more people so we can sit in the cool sunken dining room. Maybe I’ll even get to pet one of the yaks…