From selling momos at the Mill City Farmers Market to opening her own restaurant in Northeast Minneapolis, Rashmi Bhattachan (below, center left) has come a long way.
From the exterior, her newly opened Gorkha Palace looks like just another Indian restaurant, albeit one that mentions Nepali and Tibetan cuisine prominently on its signage. Things are a bit different on the interior, however — Gorkha Palace is reminiscent of other new ethnic hotspots such as Ngon Bistro and Manny’s Tortas in that it’s dedicated to concepts that go beyond serving tasty food at affordable prices. Its website sums it up nicely:
“We use high quality fresh ingredients sourced from local organic and sustainable farming. Our dairy products are organic, meats are naturally and humanely raised without hormones or antibiotics. Our spices are ground fresh and ghee (clarified butter) is made in house…. We are proud to be the first within the Nepali, Indian and Tibetan restaurant community to go Green.”
The care given to ingredients shone through at yesterday’s grand opening day buffet attened by media and VIPs — the latter included Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak (above in tie) and Council Member Diane Hofstede (middle photo, right).
The Paalak Paneer (spinach and cheese, below top) was probably the freshest tasting we’ve ever tried, the tender paneer practically bursting with lactic goodness, and the spinach mild and delicate. Pakora (veggie fritters, below middle right) were crisp and crunchy, not greasy, nor heavy, and a coconut chicken dish was both assertively flavorful and creamily mild.
Opening day speeches were short and sweet. Giving a shout-out to local suppliers including Larry Schultz Organic Farm and Organic Valley, owner Rashmi Bhattachan noted that even though friends and family had advised caution about opening in a recession-plagued economy, that she sincerely believed that “there is a market for local, sustainable food.”
“We really respect the fact it’s open,” noted Mayor Rybak. He summed up the event succinctly: the opening of Gorkha Palace, he said, “is about Minneapolis citizens who have come here from around the globe, it’s about local food, and it’s about great food. Now, everybody — get back to eating!”
Nepali, Indian, and Tibetan food in Northeast Minneapolis
23 4th St. NE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
OWNER / CHEF: Rashmi Bhattachan / Sarala Kattel
Mon-Thu 11am-2pm; 5pm-9pm
Lunch buffet: Mon-Fri 11am-2pm
BAR: Beer and wine
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / Yes
ENTREE RANGE: $10-15