Little Nepal

925 Cortland St., Bernal Heights
San Francisco, CA
phone: 415.970.0772
hours: Daily at 5pm
Wine and Beer

Ah, Nepalese. The perfect fit for the carnivore or vegetarian, the perfect mix of Indian and Chinese. I've been to this place twice, which is unfortunate for them, because the experiences were pretty different. Overall, though, I dig their groove.

By the way, the man who opened this restaurant also runs the pizza place next door. Hmmmm...

The Ambience:
Cute, tiny, warmly lit, bustling. The first time I was there, excellent ethnic sitar music was playing at a tasteful volume. The second time, it was silent. The host, who is likely the owner, offers everyone a glowing smile and a Namaste bow. They all wear traditional Nepalese clothing.

There are only one or two bad tables in the house. Our first time, we were nestled into a cozy bench. The second time, we were up against the cash register with hovering waitresses staring blankly and clicking their pens incessantly in their boredom.

The Menu:
Feels pretty Indian. Tandoori meats, curried veggies and other specialties. Maybe a stir-fry or two. You can order a la carte, which comes with a heaping pile of white rice and three pieces of Nan. Now that's my kind of a la carte. Or you can order the Meal, which in addition to rice and Nan has a vegetable platter. No thanks. Entrees are approximately $7-$10.

The Food:
Mighty tasty, folks. Mighty tasty. They spice to your liking and everything is infused with ginger and garlic. The portions are pretty good, and the subtle mingling of flavors is right on. I doubt there's a bad bite in the house, whether it's sizzling Tandoori or creamy yogurt chicken curry. Yum.

The Service:
Well... the first time she was friendly, on the ball and all around excellent. The second time she was rude, bored, distracted and forgetful. We'll call it a crapshoot.

Reservations: Suggested but no necessary.

Overall: B+
With the exception of a belligerent waitress on one visit, the experience and food are both quite pleasant.

Reviewed : Jan 2004

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