On a sparkling snow day last winter, a friend and I skied down the Burlington Bike Path and upon arriving at Echo, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain continued up the hill to stop at Sherpa Kitchen, a Himalayan restaurant, for lunch. There, an amiable woman on staff welcomed us despite our frosty skis and even found a home for them inside. I remember enjoying the food and the atmosphere so when my family suggested that we order take out to support a local business during quarantine I quickly offered Sherpa Kitchen as an option.
A small war later, my three younger siblings and I agreed on dishes that seemed fun and unique as we are little acquainted with Himalayan cuisine. We decided to order a variety of options and split everything so we could try it all.
With a family of six active people, including four crazy children/teenagers, we devour dinner every night. That being said, we ordered a vegetable samosa appetizer, beef momo (dumplings), vegetable momo (dumplings), beef chow mein (noodles), chicken tikka masala, chana masala, 2 mango lassis and 2 napali chai teas. The dishes were reasonably priced with entrees ranging between $8 and $12.
The Sherpa Kitchen website is easy to use because of its simplicity. The menu appears on the side bar and their contact information along the top. I called, placed my request, and drove down to 119 College Street to collect the meal.
The Cunningham clan, myself included, came to a general consensus (yes, I have recorded proof) that the beef momo dumplings and the vegetable momo dumplings were both delicious. There are three parts when considering how dumplings taste: the sauce, the noodle wrapping, and the veggies or meat inside. Sherpa Kitchen’s tomato based sauce had just enough spice to provide a substantial kick but not so much that my younger brother, often opposed to fiery food, had to sprint to the kitchen sink for water. The chefs cooked the scrumptious noodle wrapping to a perfect doughy but firm consistency. To complete the dumplings both the beef-onion combination and the carrot-onion combination were moist, soft, and richly packed with flavor.
Another dish everyone appreciated, was the beef chow mein. Again, Sherpa kitchen nailed the noodles, the main component of this dish. The carrots, snap peas, and onions added a fresh taste. My one complaint with beef chow mein is that the beef slices themselves were overcooked and a bit dry.
For the vegetarians in the crowd I compliment the chef on the chana masala, a perfect blend of chickpeas, and ginger in a specially spiced sauce. The chickpeas came whole swimming in a sauce of soup consistency with cooked yellow onions and nepalese spices. I ate the chana masala in a bowl poured over rice and found this dish unfamiliar but delightful.
Unfortunately, the chicken tikka masala was disappointing. My uncle took care of us a few weeks ago and the Costco freezer bag of chicken tikka masala he whipped out for dinner was honestly just as good. The chicken was dry and the sauce, although labeled spicy on the menu, had little to offer. The few mushrooms did revive the flavor somewhat but nobody eating chicken tikka masala is looking for the mushrooms.
In order from the right: Vegetable and beef mo mo dumplings, beef chow mein, chicken tikka masala and chana masala, mango lassis
Photo: Rebecca Cunningham
Finally to wash down a heavenly, flavorful meal overall, the mango lassi brought a reminder of summer sunshine into the room. Bursting with a tangy and sweet mango flavor, this drink, a thin yogurt based smoothie, was exactly what everyone needed to brighten up a dreary Thursday evening.
At this time local restaurants across Burlington have temporarily closed their storefronts due to a state mandate announced March 17th regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. However, many remain open for delivery or takeout which I encourage given the challenging circumstances restaurant owners presently face. My family and I enjoyed Sherpa Kitchen and highly recommend the savory Himalayan cuisine.