You know that old saying Nothing good ever happens in Bethesda? No? People don’t say that? Well. They should.
Shangri-la has been on my list for so long, I no longer have any idea how it got there in the first place. My desire to check it out tonight was based more on finally crossing it off the list than any real reasons. I scoured the menu all day and eventually got really excited about creating a Nepali appetizer feast for us. I was terrified that we’d be driving to Bethesda for naught, so I even called ahead to reserve a table.
We arrived at 6:30. We were–literally–the ONLY people in the restaurant. And we would continue to be the only ones for another 20 minutes. This should have meant that the service was really great but in effect, it meant that I spent a lot of time avoiding eye contact with the staff and having awkward conversations with the main server.
The first thing to come out was the Nepali appetizer furaula.
Pros: the chili-sesame dipping sauce was delicious. Cons: these were basically very plain, dry, salty hush puppies with a light sprinkle of cumin. They were pure white inside. I have no idea what they were made of.
The rest of our meal came out together: chicken momo, kukhurako masu, and mint paratha. I thought the momo would be an appetizer but after eating just a few of these, we were saying “no mo’ momo!” Once again, the best thing about the momo was that same tasty sauce. The dumplings themselves were pretty bland.
The chicken curry was kind of interesting. It was a good blend of tomato base and strong ginger flavor. It had a chili pepper icon next to it, but that was a lie. It was fine but not unique, not spicy, and not particularly excellent.
It took another few minutes for the paratha to arrive. I expected it to be more heavily minty and was pleased to find that the mint flavor was very mild. It was a nice, greasy vehicle for curry and that’s about it.
Price: $25 per person
Bottom line: Nothing good ever happens in Bethesda.