Mt. Everest offers both mainstream, more unusual Indian dishes

While it's not quite here yet, it surely won't be long before a few favorite dishes identified mostly with Indian cuisine -- tandoori chicken, certainly, and maybe the bread called naan -- fully break out into the American restaurant mainstream.

Doing its best to hasten the inevitable arrival of that day is Mt. Everest India's Cuisine, 3641 W. Sahara Ave., which opened six months ago and represents the latest addition to the valley's expanding roster of Indian restaurants.

The dining room, which seats 56, features posters of scenes of Mount Everest and Nepal -- owner Loka Mishra is from Nepal -- and a soundtrack of Indian background music.

On its menu, the focus is on Northern Indian dishes, ranging from the increasingly familiar (curries, tikki masala) to more intriguing offerings that may be new to American palates.

Lunchtime diners may order off the menu or partake of a buffet, for $8.99, that features at least a dozen items at any one time, says Alisha Mishra, the owner's daughter.

Diners who fear the potential heat of Indian cuisine need not worry, she says. "The food we serve here is medium. And, for dinner, we ask customers what kind of food they want: spicy, medium or mild."

Reservations aren't required, but are accepted, Mishra says. And while no alcoholic beverages are served, a liquor license application is in the works.

Mishra estimates that the restaurant's clientele is about evenly split among members of the valley's Indian community and others. Both, she says, "like the prices and have been referring (the restaurant to) their friends and families."

Mt. Everest India's Cuisine is open seven days a week. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner from 5 to 10:30 p.m.

Starters: Vegetable samosa, $3.99; aloo tikki, $3.99; vegetable momo, $5.99

Soups: Daal (lentil) soup, $2.99; chicken (mulligatawny) soup, $3.99

Entrees: Tandoori chicken, $12.99; seekh kebab, $14.99; prawn tandoori, $15.99; malai kofta, $9.99; lamb curry (Rogan Josh), $12.99; chicken biriyani, $12.99

Extras: Garlic naan, $2.99; mango lassi, $2.99

Desserts: Kulfi, $3.99; gulab jaman, $3.99

Information: 892-0950