Even the voluptuous copper chafing dishes on the Kathmandu Bistro's buffet table are from Nepal.
So are three of the four owners of Rapid City's newest restaurant, which opened for business on Wednesday in downtown Rapid City at 727 Main St.
Mahendra Poudel, Adam Newman, Pushpa Thapa and Pushpa Poudel are the co-owners of the ethnic restaurant that will specialize in the authentic cuisines of Nepal, India and Tibet. In addition to their mutual love of masala and naan, the four men share a profession: medicine.
When they aren't working at Rapid City Regional Hospital as an infectious disease specialist, an emergency medicine physician and two hospitalists, respectively, the four doctors will handle front-of-the-house duties, some bartending and other tasks at the restaurant.
The kitchen, however, is the domain of executive chef Raj Gautam, a French culinary institute-trained chef, and his tandoori chef, Ramesh Thapa. Together, the two men turn out a lengthy menu of Nepalese dishes, always using fresh ingredients that are locally sourced whenever possible. Gautam is a certified pastry and dessert chef. Thapa's clay-lined tandoor oven produces chicken, seafood and lamb dishes, including rack of lamb, as well as 10 different varieties of naan, the traditional bread that is cooked on the tandoor's clay walls.
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Main dishes range from beef and bison to vegetarian and venison, but you'll find all the classic Indian dishes on the menu, too, from dal to biryani to curry. Plans are to feature specials with exotic meats, from alligator or even yak.
There's a daily lunch buffet that will utilize those nine copper chafing dishes, which match the copper-covered bar at the former Corn Exchange restaurant. Patrons of the Corn Exchange may notice the bar has been moved back several feet to accommodate three new padded booths for the 58-seat restaurant. Another change: The iconic vegetable mural on the wall will be covered by an 8-by-16-foot Himalayan landscape painted by Newman's mom, Sandra.
Average entree prices are $14, but range from $10 to $30 for the lobster masala, the priciest thing on the menu.
"We feel pretty confident that all our our food is going to be consistent and delicious and the fine-dining atmosphere is going to be a step above what you can get at Everest or Curry Masala," Newman said, referring to the other two local restaurants featuring Indian food. Pushpa Poudel is also an owner of Everest.
Wine and beer are both available, with an extensive wine list that runs from $16 to $100 per bottle. Reservations can be made through the restaurant's Facebook page.