It was a random weekday evening at the stoplight on 41st Street and Western Avenue when:
“Is that a new Indian restaurant?!”
This was screamed at the level where I was shocked my husband had a voice the next day.
“We have to review that place. I bet they own the Everest Indian Cuisine in Rapid City, too.”
Fast forward to the week of the review. The Google calendar event was set for 2 p.m. on a Thursday. Then John (said husband and main Indian food connoisseur) double booked himself for a meeting. He previously had dibs on taking photos for this piece (a.k.a. eat all of the Indian food). You guessed it. There were more screams – but not of joy.
Up next to bat? Liz, art director and Indian food virgin. She was accompanying me, who has dabbled in the most mild of Indian food excursions.
Now that the backstory is clear, we stopped by the newest restaurant in the former Moe’s Southwest Grill.
We walked in mid-afternoon to all of the crew vacuuming and clearing a (nice) buffet setup. One of the owners, Dhiren Magar, greeted us and sat us at our booth. While the atmosphere was pretty minimal, it was clean and still inviting. Magar explained that from 11 a.m. to around 2:30 p.m. (about the time we arrived due to changes in schedule) they swap out the buffet for the dinner crowd.
Instead of us getting the boot, they welcomed us with open arms, and we let them pick some of their favorite items since we are not as seasoned (see what I did there?) with authentic Indian and Nepalese food.
First up was what some would say is the cherry on top for this category of cuisine: Naan.
While we’re not as familiar with Indian food, we are obsessed with bread. We had the traditional Naan that is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread that is lightly buttered. Brought out with it was what I would consider traditional Naan’s “hot cousin,” Garlic Naan. This white flour bread stuffed with garlic and cilantro was delicious, and made me ignore regular Naan, which is typically one of my faves.
One of the other owners, Jitendra Poudel, came out and talked to us about their Sioux Falls location opening in early January. John was correct that they opened Everest Indian Cuisine in Rapid City, along with Kathmandu Bistro, which they said were both doing very well.
Magar came over to ask us how we would like it for spice. We stared at each other confused and unknowing of the right answer for our wuss (and lack of) experience.
Magar tried to assist, “Mild, medium…”
“Yes, mild medium,” I said confidently.
“No. Mild or medium.”
“Mild,” we said, disappointed in ourselves.
Next up was the (mild) Chicken Tikka Masala. This meal is pieces of marinated chicken cooked with creamy sauce with authentic spices. I’ll give you some more backstory real quick. To describe what we tried, we’re using the menu. So while I know creamy sauce and authentic spices is kind of vague, it’s what I know. It definitely had some curry sauce, though, and I was excited about that.
Liz legit snapped at me when I took my seventh bite.
“We have to try the rest, stop eating the chicken.”
I took four more bites. The chicken seemed so fresh, and I couldn’t stop the happy food feeling I had with each consumption. This is a popular dish that is great for those who are also newer to the Indian food scene.
On to the Lamb Bhuna. The tender pieces of lamb were sautéed with onion and green chili peppers and were then cooked in spices. While the chicken was incredible, spicy or not, this needed to at least be medium, if not more heat. I was eh about it, but Liz suddenly looked up and exclaimed, “I like lamb!”
The tables turned, and she started going at the dish, and kept talking about how good it was, and how it would be even better with more of a kick. Cumin seemed very strong as a flavor in this dish, but that’s me guessing.
Our final dish was from the Tandoori side of the menu (“served in a hot sizzler,” as the menu described). The Mixed Grill was an assortment of shrimp, chicken tandoori, tandoori chicken tikka, and lamb kebab served with vegetables. The vegetables were crisp, and the meat sometimes looked questionable to the eyes, but was great.
“I can’t believe I like Indian food,” said Liz. “I’m so proud of myself.”
(Disclaimer: Liz had literally not tried anything out of her comfort zone until the year 2015, so this truly is an exciting moment for her.)
Everest Indian Cuisine is in a great location that brings tasty Indian and Nepalese food options to the area. Whether you eat in, try the lunch buffet, or grab takeout for a night in, it’s a welcomed addition to town. Rapid City has had six years with this talented crew, and I’m excited to have them now on both sides of the state.
Buffet on the Daily
Enjoy a lunch buffet every day of the week from 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. The best part? Come hungry (and bring TUMS), because it’s all you can eat for $10.99.
Honestly, it’s pretty minimal with a couple framed pieces of art… or photos. I didn’t get that close. The red booths are nice and seem new, and the atmosphere is clean. Maybe once they’re settled in they’ll experiment with more décor. Also, the buffet doesn’t feel like a cliché buffet.
It’s priced out fairly. There are spendier options, like the lobster at $25, but many items are around the $12-$16 price. These are not your everyday flavors, though, so it’s worth every penny. Is there a price for pleasing your palate? Didn’t think so (this is why I have credit card debt).
It was so tasty, and it actually made me want to test the spicy waters, which never happens. I will definitely go back just for the Chicken Tikka Masala, and the vegetable-only options actually sound delicious (if you know me, you’re probably wondering if I feel okay as I write this). Also, one word: Naan.
Rating Scale: Ambiance ++++ | Average Price Per Meal: $—$10 & under; $$—$20 & under; $$$—$30 & under; $$$$—over $30 | Taste ++++
It’s the Facts
They’re not the best with social media. Their last post was December 19, and it read: “New Indian restaurant in town.”
Everest Indian cuisine is open 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and reopens 4:30-9:30 p.m.
The owners are testing the current menu and say they will play around with options once they get a feel for what the customers like.