Summit Kind of Wonderful

Venture into no-man's land for extraordinary Nepalese cuisine

soul n. 1. The animating and vital principle in humans, credited with the faculties of thought, action, and emotion and often conceived as an immaterial entity. 2. The spiritual nature of humans, regarded as immortal, separable from the body at death, and susceptible to happiness or misery in a future state.... [from the American Heritage Dictionary]

For all the ways it falls in line with other Asian eateries, Everest Café is, truly, a soul food restaurant through and through: located in an ungentrified area, unfussy in its décor, casual but attentive and friendly in its service, cheap but downright reverent about the down-home-style food it serves. Dumplings, green beans, vegetable fritters, black-eyed peas, fried cauliflower and okra -- all the traditional ingredients are here. (Even the potato-stuffed samosas bear strong resemblance to knishes, which are nothing if not a staple of Jewish soul food.) So is the patient, affectionate cooking that results in lamb and chicken that would fall off the bone if they hadn't been boned already. Meats are simmered in a mixture of onion, bay leaves, nutmeg and cinnamon sticks, then put to the pan with turmeric, coriander, cumin, chile powder and, most important, loads of ginger and garlic. The garlic is peeled and pounded on site, and a stone mortar and pestle are used to grind the coriander and cumin seeds into powder. The kitchen does not cut corners. There is real devotion happening here -- you can taste it.

"My wife, Connie States, and I would like to thank you for your decision to visit Everest Café and trusting us to prepare your meal," begins States' open letter to his customers, laid under the glass table tops at each place setting. He also thanks his adoptive American father, James H. States, M.D., whom he met back at K.C.'s in 1983, when the elder States was there to attempt an Everest ascent (he succeeded). James States took a shine to the teenager busing his table. When he learned both the boy's parents had died, he offered to bring him back to America.

Great adventure: Devi (right) and Connie States are 
hanging their hopes on Everest Café.
Jennifer Silverberg
Great adventure: Devi (right) and Connie States are hanging their hopes on Everest Café.

Location Info

Map

Schlafly Tap Room

2100 Locust St.
St. Louis, MO 63103

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: St. Louis - Downtown

Details

Masala bread $2
Complete Nepalese meal (vegetarian or chicken) $9
Complete Nepalese meal (lamb) $10
Mo-mos (meat or vegetable) $4.50
Kheer $2.50

314-621-2021. Hours: Lunch 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Tue.-Fri.; dinner 5-9 p.m. Tue.-Thu., 5-10 p.m. Fri.-Sun.

1916 Washington Avenue

"It is the mission of Everest Café to have every customer who comes through our door leave impressed and excited to come back again." Such restaurant dreams don't happen easy -- especially when they involve serving unfamiliar cuisine in no-man's-land neighborhoods. But Devi States knows how to handle an uphill climb.

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