On any day of the week, Sherpa's is waiting like a familiar, comfortable neighborhood bar -- one that just happens to be staffed by sherpas and run by a former Everest guide, and serves momo, thupka, dahl bhat and aloo paratha. It's a foreign restaurant yet oddly comforting, confined as it is within a rambling honeycomb of rooms inside a large Victorian home in Boulder. The "Adventurer's Bar" takes up the space where the sitting room ought to be -- a short stretch of oak, well-stocked, in a space filled with books about trekking, questing and the climbing of really big mountains. Beyond this are the dining rooms (several of them, the exact count seeming to change from visit to visit), each set with a few tables and chairs.
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The speed of service depends entirely on what you order off of the combination Indian/Nepali/Sherpa comfort-food menu, with simple things like the bright-orange panir pokara (fried cheese in chickpea flour) coming almost before your order has crossed your lips. More complicated dishes -- like aloo saag (creamed spinach with garlic, cumin, ginger and giant hunks of potato) or Sherpa Stew (a humongous bowl filled with incredibly fresh veggies, potatoes, dumplings, meat and a thickened chicken broth) -- take longer, in seemingly direct relation to their number of ingredients.
For several years, Sherpa's has been a semi-secret refuge for climbers, international travelers, Sherpas on the lam and local gastronauts in the know, who have no trouble locating this spot off the Boulder tourist corridor. The food is excellent, filling and cheap, the atmosphere one of relaxed pleasure -- the comfort at trail's end. And half of Sherpa's charm is in knowing that it will remain this way, always waiting and welcoming, always with room enough for one more to join the party.