|(Possibly) original 1860s wall painting,|
with 1950s graffiti.
Sherpa says the building (Napa's oldest surviving structure) reminds him of the house he was born in, full of history and possibilities. Being 31 years old and a tad cash-strapped, Sherpa did much of the construction work himself on the space. He ripped out the stinky liquor and nicotine-stained bar, replaced most of the floor and walls with new materials, whitewashed everything anew, and installed modern lighting along the dark wood rafters. In the course of his renovation, he found lots of old wall paintings in various states of decrepitude. The best preserved one by the front door he kept intact, and if you look closely, you can still see the pencil-scrawled names and 5-digit phone numbers of former patrons... and the hospital.
The overall look is tastefully clean and contemporary, but still homey. Comfortable leather chairs, dark wood tables, and ornate Nepalese salt and pepper shakers strike a delicate balance between modern and traditional. Families, friends, and dates would all be equally at home here.
But let's talk about the food, because that's really the most exciting part. Like most Nepalese restaurants, the menu includes dishes with Indian, Tibetan, and Nepalese flavors. Unlike most Nepalese restaurants, the dishes are beautifully presented, free of artificial flavors and colors, and made with fresh organic meats and vegetables from the farmers' market. Sherpa didn't want to open just another cookiecutter Nepalese restaurant; he wanted to do something different, and raise the bar. He reinterprets many traditional dishes, enhancing the flavors as well as their visual appeal. The rice that accompanies all of the curry dishes, for example, is cooked with saffron, cardamom, bay leaf, and cinnamon to create a beautifully fragrant accompaniment that's just as desirable as the main event.
|Tandoori shrimp with vermicelli salad.|