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Everest Restaurant and Lounge

Posted on January 13, 2012 by in Queen Street West

3 stars

- Wanting to try something new, and looking for a cool place to go for pre-Yuk-Yuks dinner and drinks, my friend and I decided to try out Everest Restaurant on Queen West.

What seemed to be a quiet Saturday evening when we first arrived at 7pm, quickly turned into a fairly busy “club” like dining experience. And Everest is certainly dressed to impress. The restaurant feels both sexy and modern, with dark mood lighting, clean lines, comfortable and cozy booth seating, and an eclectic playlist/DJ, depending on what night you are in. With a great view of Queen West for people watching, and MuchMusic across the street, the atmosphere, music and style of the restaurant blend in perfectly with the locals.

I was very excited to try a new place with an interesting food theme, something a little different from the usual weekend dinner and drinks, and hoping to find a new “go-to” place for a fun and creative meal. I secured reservations before our arrival, however, we were greeted with a bit of a frosty reception, waved to an area in the front of the room, and told I could sit wherever I wanted. Unorthodox, maybe, but sit we did!

Putting the hostesses’ indifference behind us, we decided to delve straight into the wine menu, and with a little help from our server, selected the Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley, a California vintage from 2009 for about $40. The wine was excellent, and I found the wine menu to be well priced for the quality of wines on the list.

The dinner menu ($15-$20) presents a somewhat more challenging predicament. Filled with Tibetan and Indian dishes, along side the same old North American stand-by of pasta and sandwiches, I found myself unsure if this was a Tibetan restaurant, or your average Italian eatery all dressed up. It’s not that I mind an eclectic menu, in fact I appreciate one, however when venturing out to try a new type of cuisine (in this case, Tibetan), one wants to be sure that the restaurant is absolutely committed to their craft, and have their “specialty cuisine” down pat. Thus, I was unsure of whether venturing into the momas (Tibetan dumplings) and sha-momo (spinach and beef), or the fettuccine alfredo was the better option.

After some quality deliberation between the Tibet/North America paradox, I decided to try a platter, a mix of several different Tibetan style foods, to allow myself to experience as much of the cuisine as possible.

The menu seemed heavy on potatoes, stewed meats and rice, so I decided to try almost all of the above. The stewed potatoes were good, cooked just right, but tasted much like something I could make at home, no real special spice or flavour that made me feel like I was trying something exotic. The rice was cooked with raisins, which just didn’t do it for me, and was a little bland. My meal was served with steamed Tibetan vegetables (broccoli and carrots), which aside from not seeming exceptionally Tibetan to me, were surprisingly good. An interesting side note, both of our meals were served with naan bread, which really was just pita bread from my estimation. Overall, I was fairly underwhelmed by my choice. My friend ordered the butter chicken on rice with naan bread (same problem), and said that she enjoyed her meal. The butter chicken looked and tasted pretty standard to me, so that must be a good thing, but neither of us could really wrap our heads around the lack on naan bread at restaurant serving Indian food.

While I thoroughly enjoyed Everest restaurant for its attention to the design décor and ambience, I was definitely a little disappointed with my first foray into Tibetan food. I think the next time we decide to go out for Tibetan style cuisine, we will try “Little Tibet” further down Queen Street.

- Janine

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