For the hubs’s birthday, he decided on trying out Annapurna rather than Ethiopian (hooray!). The restaurant focuses on dishes from the northeastern part of India, Tibet, Nepal, and Afghanistan. The only way I can describe the menu is Turkish meets Indian meets Chinese. That doesn’t nearly do it justice, but it gives you an idea of what to expect.
We decided on chicken momo for a starter. They’re dumplings with a different spice profile than Chinese dumplings. There was some ginger in there, but it had an earthier quality. I didn’t care for the Annapurna sauce, so I stuck with the chutneys served with our pappadam. By the way, you automatically get pappadam and a cup of lentil soup with your meal. The soup had the right amount of curry to keep it interesting.
Hubs got a grilled meat dish with veggies and pilaf. Beef is much more common on the Afghan menu since you have an Islamic tradition of food rather than a Hindu tradition. It reminded him of the grilled meat in Istanbul with different spices. He was a fan of the mushrooms and onions as a change from the usual peppers that often come with grilled meat dishes. The beef chunks were served over cracked bulgur (and I think shredded carrot) along with the side of rice pilaf. It’s a pretty healthy meal with more grains and veggies than hunks of meat.
I opted for a more familiar dish: butter chicken. It was a bit different from the butter chicken I’m used to in that the chicken seemed to have been cooked separately then added to the sauce. It was a little dry, but I liked the actual butter sauce. Chicken cooked in a creamy sauce with butter should have been juicier. I’ll go for the “hot” level of spice next time. I tend to go with medium as a safe bet for new places, but Annapurna uses less heat so you can go higher on the heat scale for a kick.
Overall, it was a nice introduction to a new region of food. If you like savory pumpkin dishes, this is the spot as much of the Tibetan menu used pumpkin. I’ll probably go for an Afghan or Tibetan dish next time. Many dishes said they included Nepalese or Himalayan herbs; I’ll have to ask them what herbs those are next time around. The hubs enjoyed his birthday dinner, and really, that’s all that mattered.