Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Himalayan High's

Top Cafe Tibet sits tucked away between a train station and a bodega in the heart of Brooklyn.

Even though it is less that one block from my house and next to my train station, it still feels like a remote location, channeling the faraway, impossibly high Himalayas.

But on a drab rainy day, you'll want to brave the elements to find this homey, tiny restaurant.

Make the trek and you'll be rewarded with foods that seem both familiar and exotic. Something hauntingly intimate about this small restaurant and it's delicious foods will keep you coming back.

Tapping into the comfort receptors in your brain, their Tsam-Thuk soup will bring you back to life and make you sleepy. One bowl induces groans of pleasure and nap-time related drowsiness .

 Tsam-Thuk is a Tibetan soup that uses roasted barely, or Tsampa, to thicken the broth and provide a roasted, earthy flavor that embraces your taste buds, giving them a hug and telling you everything is going to be okay. It's laced with shredded carrots and daikon, sprinkled with fresh spinach. Tiny "shredded" beef cubes are studded throughout the ridiculously silky broth if you order the meat version. The soup is also available without meat for a vegan experience.

It's got a I've-been-eating-this-my-whole-life feel to it that is very soul-soothing.

I imagine the most authentic would be yak meat, but that may be one thing Brooklyn does not have. Or maybe I'm not looking hard enough.

Soup is certainly not all they do here. They've got plenty of Tibetan specialties and are well known for their momo's, or Tibetan dumplings.

I managed to grab a side of Chana-Khatsa; mixed chickpeas with ginger, garlic, lemon and hot sauce. Sprinkled with cilantro. Everything should be sprinkled with cilantro. All the time.

This side is delicious in it's own right, but for me, was even better as an addition to my soup! Every few bites I dropped a few tiny chickpeas into the rich broth, adding just a hint of the creamy hot sauce each time. The hot sauce was incredibly thick, but not overly spicy. It had just enough kick to let you know it was there. It also looks like melted Velveta.

Let Top Cafe Tibet be your Sherpa into the culinary Himalayas.

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