Kathmandu Cafe – Asheville, North Carolina
90 Patton Avenue, Asheville, NC
Himalayan (Read: Indian)
$$ — Typical entrees $11.95 – $14.95
For a whole town that feels like its full of failed climbers just stuck a little too long at base camp, where better to try than the restaurant that epitomizes the whole city of Asheville?
Now, when they say Himalayan, just think Indian. Lots of rice, curry, lentils and great smelling, rich and pungent spices.
The colorful restaurant had some very low-key, chill theme music on in an effort to transport you to Nepal and, with the bright colored interior with a tall vaulted ceiling, I would say they get high marks on the atmosphere.
They brought out the equivalent of chips and salsa with a very tasty and spicy “salsa” style sauce–just a little thicker/pastier.
The special of the day was a GOAT CURRY ($17.99) served with rice, a side of sauteed greens (and, since we’re in Asheville it’s all “local, organic goat, spinach….rice… blah blah blah”). Sounding a bit exotic, I had no choice but to try it and was very impressed. Marinated then stewed for 10+ hours, they cook the traditionally tough dark meat down to the point of fall-off-the-bone tenderness. I’d liken it to a pot roast and very similar to the Italian “osso buco” dish with its bone-in presentation. Either way, it’s a very rich, dense meal with a great curry flavor and a faint but hot spice. It was really a 5-star restaurant dish for a much better price.
BOTTOM LINE: Kathmandu embodies everything Asheville — at least to an outsider. The prices are right, the atmosphere: relaxed and the food: excellent, making for a unique dining experience.