Kathmandu Kitchen opens in Aurora

"Eat well, feel well. That's what this restaurant is all about," says Srijana Sharma, who, along with her husband and brother-in-law, recently opened Kathmandu Kitchen, an Indian and Nepalese restaurant in Aurora at 16611 East Smoky Hill Road.

The bright-hued dining mecca, whose open kitchen is commanded by Vijay Vhandari, a chef who trained in five-star hotels in India, joins a crop of other Indian restaurants in Aurora, but Sharma insists that Kathmandu Kitchen is different. "Everything here is done from scratch, and we hand-mix all of our own spices, many of which we import individually from India," says Sharma, who's a nurse by profession and strongly believes that Indian food can -- and should -- be healthy. "We use ingredients that are good for your body, and we adhere to a tried-and-true saying in India, that if you eat healthy, you feel healthy. That's our concept."

A concept that plays out, mostly, in a well-stocked Indian and Nepalese buffet. "We weren't going to do a buffet originally," admits Sharma, "but our customers begged and pleaded with us to have one, so we went with what our customers wanted, and it's been extremely successful." The buffet changes daily, but always includes vegetarian dishes -- chana masala, aloo gobi and Nepali momos, for example -- and a variety of proteins, including chicken, lamb, shrimp or fish. "Half of us grew up in India, and the other half are Nepalese, and both the buffet and the menu reflect that," says Sharma, adding, too, that Vhandari, who cooks the Indian specialties, is sidekicked by a chef from Nepal.

There's a full menu, as well, and every Sunday, Kathmandu Kitchen offers goat curry. "We have it special-ordered from Haat Bazar, and it's some of the best goat you'll ever eat," says Sharma, noting, too, that the meat is butchered from Halal goats. And earlier this month, the restaurant began a vegetarian-only buffet for $11.95 per person.

Kathmandu Kitchen is open daily for lunch and dinner. For more info, call 303-699-5488.

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