Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Mitho Restaurant: Compelling Himalayan Cuisine in Winchester
--The Golden Child
It's great to see restaurants in Boston+ area specializing in lesser known cuisines. Though there are a few restaurants in the Boston+ area serving Himalayan/Nepali cuisine, it is much more difficult to find such restaurants in the suburbs. Thus, I was very intrigued when I learned about the planned opening of Mitho Restaurant, a Nepali/Himalayan restaurant, in Winchester.
Located on the site of the former Cafe Piazza Dolce, Mitho Restaurant opened in December and I've already dined there four times. Their website states that they offer "cuisines from the foothills of the Himalayas." Nepali cuisine includes dishes and ingredients that have some similarities to what can be found in Tibetan, Chinese, Indian and Thai cuisines. Commonly used ingredients include lentils, tomatoes, potatoes, chilies, coriander, cumin seeds, garlic, mustard oil, and peppers. I don't have much familiarity with this cuisine, beyond momos (their version of dumplings), so I was eager to experience and learn more about it.
When you sit down at your table, and receive a copy of the menu, they also bring you a glass bottle of water. This is especially appreciated as some of the dishes can be spicy and you might want some water to quench that fire. The menu has a moderately long list of nonalcoholic beverages, from Lassi to Herbal Tea, from a Cucumber Cooler to a Virgin Mojito. I enjoyed a hot cup of Matcha Green Tea and was intrigued by the Chia Tea, which is a milk and spiced, sweetened black tea from Nepal.
Last week, Mitho acquired a liquor license, and they have just started serving beer, wine, and Sake. You can get Sake cocktails like the Mitho Mojito (Sake, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, fresh mint) and the Cucumber Cooler (Pickle cucumbers soaked in Sake, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, soda water). As the license is brand new, it will take a little time for them to select and stock all the alcohols they will normally carry.
The food menu is large and diverse, and you may be unfamiliar with some of the terminology but the menu does a good job providing explanations for most of the terms. And the servers can also answer any of your questions. Their website states they have the "most varieties of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes in New England." This is likely hyperbole, and I am doubtful as to the accuracy of the claim, however, they do carry lots of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. Meat lovers will also find plenty to please their palate.
Their dishes also tend to be healthier, as their food is generally steamed, pan-grilled, or stir-fried, seasoned with with organic herbs, and often served with steamed Basmati rice or fresh vegetables. Their sauces tend to be lighter and their flavors are very clean.
The Menu includes Appetizers, like Momos, Chhoila, and Bhuteko. For example, they have six types of Momos ($9-$12), including Chicken, Buffalo, and Vegetable. There are also Salads (4 options for $6 each), Soups (2 options for $6-$7) and Sides (3 options for $2-$3). There are Lunch Entrees (11 options for $11-$14), mostly Tarkari Curry and Namche Stir-Fry.
There are four types of dinner Entrees, including Tarkari Curry, Our Chilies, Grilled Delicacies and Stir-Fry Noodles. The Tarkari Curry ($15-$19) includes dishes served with items such as chicken, lamb, goat, shrimp, sweet potato, plantain, jack fruit, and tofu. The Our Chilies ($16-$27) includes dishes served with items such as duck, buffalo, wild boar, calamari, and mushroom. The Grilled Delicacies ($17-$26) includes dishes such as Wild Boar Ribs, Basil Shrimp, Cashew Coated Haddock, and Basil Thyme Lamb. The Stir-Fry Noodles ($16-$19) includes dishes with tofu, chicken and shrimp. The Dessert menu ($6-$9) includes 4 choices, such as Chia Seed Pudding and Sikarni.
When ordering a dish, you'll be asked the level of spiciness you desire, on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the hottest. This is an excellent way to customize your dish to your particular preferences. So, even if you dislike spicy foods, you can still enjoy their dishes. And if you love spicy heat, Mitho can ensure plenty of fire for your palate.
As an aside, the ingredients you find at Mitho are likely familiar to you, and some of the flavors will bring to mind other cuisines, especially Indian and Chinese, but there are significant differences as well. The cuisine at Mitho is a fascinating blend of familiar and unfamiliar, and sets apart their Nepali/Himalayan cuisine. You might have certain expectations about their dishes, based on the description and list of ingredients, but you'll find something different when you actually experience each dish. All of their dishes present something more unique and we need more restaurants that offer something different for our palates.
Overall, Mitho Restaurant will impress you with its Nepali/Himalayan cuisine, offering healthier but still delicious offerings. It is very reasonably priced and you'll enjoy the freshness of their ingredients. Service is good, and they are eager to answer your questions about the cuisine. With their new liquor licenses, you'll be able to get a drink with your meal, though don't ignore their nonalcoholic selections. The suburbs need more of these type of restaurants and Winchester is fortunate to have Mitho, which earns my hearty recommendation.