After hearing raves from trusted friends, we finally had the opportunity to give Gorkha Palace a try this past weekend. We showed up at dinner rush with 9 people and no reservation. (If you're in a hurry, this is not recommended.) They were extremely polite, and apologized unnecessarily for not being able to seat us quickly. We waited at the bar, took advantage of their decent selection of wines and beer, and marveled at the aroma of any dish that passed us on its way from kitchen to table.
When we were seated, ordered, and started receiving our food, every one of us thought it was well worth the wait. Between us we had 3 different appetizers, 1 of the soups, and 8 different entrees. We all thought the food was wonderful. (There was much passing of dishes, so most of our group sampled at least 2 different appetizers and 3 different entrees.)
Because most restaurants of the general Asian/Indian region in our area season to the taste of the average Midwestern palate, we usually order food "Hot" until we know they aren't afraid to turn up the temperature. Gorkha Palace chefs are thankfully not shy with the spices. The dishes ordered "Hot" were, indeed, spicy, but still in perfect balance with the rest of the flavors. The only dish we thought was a little less exciting than the rest was the Tofu Aloo -- good, but not quite great. Standouts included Saag, Choley Masala, and Aaloo Bhindi. The Veggie MoMos were served with a unique and delicious sauce, and the Veggie Pakoras were surprisingly non-greasy for a deep-fried treat!
All but one of the 10 entrees in the "Vegetarian" section are clearly marked (v) for Vegan. Unfortunately the Appetizers and Soups/Salads are not marked on the menu, but upon request our server told us exactly what to avoid without needing to check with the kitchen. (Sadly, the Samosas were not vegan, nor was the Kwati soup, which I longed to try.)
Service was outstanding, especially considering that no table was empty for more than a few minutes between our arrival at 6 PM and our departure after 9 PM. Our orders were prepared as quickly as one could expect for a table of 9 that showed up unannounced during dinner rush. Water carafes were kept filled, and full dishes of rice to replace those we had consumed were brought before we had to ask. Our server offered to split our bill 5 ways, and each bill had the 20% Grand Opening discount applied without us being aware of it in advance, or asking. There was no "large group" automatic gratuity. The final touch was biodegradable take-home containers in both small and large sizes.
Anyone who is even a casual fan of Indian, Nepali, and/or Tibetan food needs to give this place a try as soon as possible.