The [Short] Trek to Everest Grill
The restaurant offers Persian and Indian cuisine—no Nepalese food, though.
Everest Grill restaurant is an unusual amalgam of ethnicities. The six-month old restaurant features Persian and Indian cuisines, yet the owners, chef, and front room and serving staff are Nepalese. That explains its name, which of course refers to Mount Everest, high Himalayas of Nepal.
There are no Nepalese dishes on the menu; there are two, full side-by-side menus with most of Persian and Indian cuisines' classic hits.
If you have never had Persian food, I can tell you that it resembles Middle Eastern cuisine, and features hummus, eggplant, chicken, lamb and ground beef kabobs, but with sweet infusions of raisins, dates and cherries in some dishes.
We chose a sampling of dishes from both menus on our midweek dinner visit. That night, we had the dining room to ourselves until a single late arrival of a regular patron entered. Tranquility and quiet reigned.
In general, we thought the various dishes were generously portioned, nicely presented, and, most importantly, very delicious.
The attentiveness and low-key congeniality of Bola Taman, son of owner Tek Taman, plus the comfort, cleanliness and pleasant ambiance of the dining room, made for a very enjoyable dining experience. I will go back again, and recommend that you consider doing so, as well. (See if you can find one of the many discount coupons they have aggressively issued in Clipper Magazine, Groupon, and elsewhere.)
To test the chef's skill with Indian food, I ordered my favorite, chicken tikka masala—a barometer of any Indian restaurant's quality. The dish is very sauce driven, tomato and yogurt based, with a sublime combination of Indian spices bathing chunks of tandoori oven-baked breast of chicken. It passed with flying colors: The sauce was exceptional, the chicken tender and plentiful, and the accompanying basmati rice was superior. The unusually thin grains were half-inch long tendrils—the result of some special cooking techniques not divulged.
For starters, we had one Persian warm appetizer—Mirza Ghasemi ($7); and one chilled Indian appetizer—Papri Chaat ($5). The former is a thick puree of grilled eggplant, sautéed onion, garlic and tomato, with a touch of cooked egg on top. My LDC (Lovely Dining Companion) loved it more than me. It was good for spreading on the pita bread that was served with our starters. The latter, the Papri Chaat, is a favorite of ours, and Everest's has one of the best. The presentation is a large and immediately enticing chilled platter of crisp lentil wafers, potato and chickpeas in a divine mix of chutneys and yogurt. We loved it, but could not finish it. Sadly, the remainder that we took home did not hold up well, as the lentil wafers became limp and soggy.
My LDC was attracted to one of the “specials” for her entreé: the “Everest Grilled Chicken” ($17), which was a Cornish hen deliciously marinated in olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic, grated onion and lemon juice, flame grilled and cut into 10 succulent pieces for easy eating. It was presented appealingly, with a grilled whole tomato, fresh, chopped cucumber-tomato-lettuce salad and basmati rice.
A basket of excellent naan bread ($2), freshly baked in the tandoor, arrived with our two entreés.
Because we liked and praised the rice, Bola suggested that we sprinkle a table condiment of dried, ground sumac berries onto the rice from a shaker on the table—a Persian cuisine favorite. He also gave us a sample of tadiq, the browned skin formed and stuck to the bottom of the rice pot. Both the ground sumac and the tadiq were interesting, and I could see developing a taste for them after repeated tastings.
A very good, large triangle of homemade baklava ($4), the phyllo-dough layered, honey-and-nut laden Middle Eastern pastry classic, was our shared dessert, with cups of hot black Persian tea mildly spiced with cardamom.
The Everest Grill's dining room is comfortably appointed, spotless, lit with antique style chandeliers, and warm with the reflected light from the pumpkin-toned walls.
Overall rating: mmmm (out of 5 m’s) for the well-prepared dishes of Persia and India in a quiet, comfortable dining room in Ambler.
Location: 40 W. Skippack Pike, Ambler
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Dinner prices: Appetizers, soups, salads, $4 to $10; entrées, $10 to $23; lunch buffet, $10
Ambiance: Pleasant, clean, comfortable long rectangular dining room.
Reservations: Not necessary
Credit cards: All major accepted
Alcoholic beverages: B.Y.O.B.
To contact Mitch Davis, email MdavisMainCourse@aol.com.