In a former life, Dipak Prasai was working in a five-star kitchen at a hotel in his native Nepal following his training at a prestigious culinary school in India. Fast forward several years, and he’s at the helm of the south-city restaurant Himalayan Yeti, where the digs may be much more humble, but the flavors are no less world class. Prasai prepares both Nepalese and Indian dishes, showcasing the unique flavors of the two countries that influenced his culinary style. Both are a testament to his skillful hand; the chola (or chana, as it’s often called) masala is a revelatory dish with layers of cinnamon, ginger, garlic, onion and clove that come together like a beautiful symphony. Even go-to dishes like chicken tikka masala are extraordinary; its freshly milled spices and tart tomato punch a beautiful counter to the overly creamy versions so often passed off as the real deal. Prasai may no longer be working in an officially five-starred establishment, but the food that comes out of his kitchen is as elegant as it gets. — Cheryl Baehr
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