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Namaste. Greetings and welcome to lunch. Everest's return to the downtown area, now located in the former Union Trust Building on Olive Street just west of Seventh Street, provides patrons with a quick, filling and healthy midday meal. Open from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on weekdays, Everest does have a full menu with appetizers, soups and salads, and several vegetarian and meat entrees, but their typical diner swarms to the buffet line, which offers the opportunity for Nepalese, Indian and Korean food to tastefully share a plate. Around seven different dishes are available, with typical vegetable options such as korma and kimchi keeping warm next to chicken and noodle trays. White or Nepalese-style fried rice are offered, along with steaming hot naan and a ladle of garlicky, aromatic daal to complement your meal. Diners can also make donations to the Himalayan Family Healthcare Project, dedicated to serving the healthcare needs of the people of Nepal.
Mizu fits nicely into the Washington Avenue loft district's trendy aesthetic: spacious and sleek without seeming hipper than thou. The extensive menu includes nigiri sushi, sashimi and rolls both traditional and Americanized. The nigiri sushi ranges from good to very good. Best is toro, fatty tuna belly that's worth the expense. There are numerous appetizers (including a sushified version of the jalapeño popper), and non-sushi entrées like chicken or steak teriyaki. The menu also features a couple of Korean dishes; particularly tasty is a generous portion of savory-sweet barbecue beef ribs.
The owners of Tani Sushi Bistro in Clayton have opened one of the cornerstone restaurants of the new Mercantile Exchange development downtown. Like Tani, Takaya New Asian offers nigiri sushi, sashimi and over-the-top Americanized rolls. (The “Oh My God” roll comes to your table engulfed in flames.) Unlike Tani, though, Takaya fails as a restaurant in nearly every respect. Much of the menu features dubious takes on the already played-out Asian-fusion trend. There are sliders with bulgolgi beef, and fried cheese sticks classed up with a light tempura breading. The sushi is sloppily prepared, only one of several missteps from a careless kitchen that might mar your meal.
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