By Shelby R. Cardamone
We all know it can be difficult to find something for everyone, whether you’re going out with your family, friends or adjourning for a business meeting. Adorned with many five-star reviews on Yelp, Sherpa House cannot go unnoticed. If you live in Golden, you’ve definitely heard about it from multiple people, and for good reason. Golden isn’t home to very many exceptional restaurants, but Sherpa House is worth your time, namely if you and your family are looking for a place to eat tonight, or if you’re an Indian cuisine virgin and need a good jumping-off block.
Indian food enthusiasts always have their go-to spot for some great paneer at great prices, and the décor is typically and nostalgically outdated. Such is the case with Sherpa House in the former, but thankfully not the latter. Grand ornamental detail is displayed throughout the restaurant from the ‘Prayer Wheel’ near the entrance to the hand-woven baskets and fountains adorning the patio area. If it’s true that people eat with their eyes first, the setting alone is enough to whet anyone’s appetite while carefully traversing the restaurant to your final destination at your table. Beware that, when you sit on the patio,
though, you don’t wear a dress like I did – the cold metal of the outdoor patio tables and chairs half froze me to death, which I suppose is a graceful way of reminding people to quickly order some warm food.
I don’t suggest going to Sherpa House for great service, as you will be disappointed. I found that the staff does not immediately remove guests’ first course dirty dishes from the edge of the table, especially after their third course is halfway done, and the dishes have been stacked there precariously for over 15 minutes. Not exactly a fresh start for each course.
I do suggest that you go to Sherpa House for the food. The vegetarian platter ($17.75) is a cornucopia of flavor, perfect for aforementioned virgins in the field of Indian cuisine. The platter comes with white or brown rice, naan and three variations of typical Indian food: saag paneer, aalu ghobi and chana masala. Unfortunately, all of the above are served in small metal containers, which aren’t the best insulation on a breezy porch, so you’d better eat fast, lest your $17 platter get cold. If you can manage that, you’re in for a wonderful surprise. All three of the variations served were absolutely incredible, and the naan and rice were cooked perfectly – the naan being thin but still fluffy, and the rice maintaining it’s beautiful grain shape.
The saag paneer, a dish of spinach and Indian cheese curds cooked in ghee, was savory and perfectly salted. The aloo gobi, a curried dish of potato and cauliflower, was the most beautiful color of orange, and the ginger was prevalent but not at all overpowering. The chana masala, chickpeas in a spiced ginger curry sauce, was the typical Indian comfort dish I’ve come to dearly love – as the dish is so simple, it’s often that you find your chana masala very bland, but not at Sherpa House. This simple dish was not lacking in the subtle curry and spice flavors that make the savory-sweet dish so enjoyable.
The prices at Sherpa House are definitely reasonable. For $6, you can get a small plate of salmon fried in spiced chickpea platter (called pakora), which comes with cool yoghurt-dill dipping sauce. Entrées are also reasonably priced, around $12 to $16, considering that the portions are more than large enough. The salmon mahkani ($15) I ordered was enough to share between two people, and $15 for a Salmon entrée isn’t easy to come by, unless the restaurant is skimping on quality, which Sherpa House clearly isn’t. So come hungry, and don’t expect to empty your bank account when visiting.
My final grade for Sherpa House is a solid B. The food was lovely and the décor was exciting, the building alone being a conversation piece in itself, let alone the many hand-woven baskets and pictures of the Dalai Llama adorning the walls. However, the service was incredibly unfortunate, and despite making reservations for indoors, our host insisted we sat outside where a cool breeze almost instantaneously made the fresh dishes cold and the metal tables and chairs are not forgiving for bare legs. The food is great Indian starter food – not the best I’ve ever had but nowhere near the worst. If you can get a table inside, or if it’s a very warm day on their outdoor patio, I highly recommend giving Sherpa House a visit.