Sherpa House's Tibetan, Nepalese and Indian entrees satisfy veggie cravings

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We know we were just in Golden last week -- but we couldn't leave without first visiting Sherpa House, 1518 Washington Avenue, after perusing the restaurant's menu online. The eatery-slash-cultural-center is decorated inside to resemble an authentic Himalayan home; one dining-room wall features a small stove, another an intricate curio cabinet, and saddles, bridles, camping equipment and other artifacts of sherpa life adorn the walls. Even the servers are actual Himalayan mountain-climbers. When we stopped by over the weekend, most of the patrons were packing the expansive patio; if you want to eat outside, give yourself some time to peruse the beautifully decorated interior and items for sale in the entryway (and get there early, because the patio fills up fast).

And definitely give yourself time to decide what you want to eat, because the menu is big, and everything we tasted was absolutely delectable.

Pictured above is the sherpa stew, a large bowl of vegetables, dumplings and spices in vegetable broth, served with naan bread. You can order the stew with vegetables, beef, lamb, yak meat or a combination of the above; we (obviously) chose the veggies, and this stew looked and smelled so amazing that a woman passing by our table flagged down her waiter to change her order so she could taste it, too. (Later, she stopped by again to thank us for our honest opinion; like us, she loved her stew.)

First, however, we started off with the vegetable pakoda, deep-fried, thinly sliced onions and greens served with a tangy dipping sauce (which isn't vegan-friendly, but you don't really need it, either). Because the pakoda is just $3, we felt we could splurge on an extra appetizer, too. The vegetable samosas -- lightly spiced potato, spinach and peas wrapped in crispy, flaky pastry crust -- were fat and fantastic, and also cheap at $3.50 for two. And Sherpa House also offers an array of Indian dishes, including chana masala, alu gobi and saag paneer (pictured above). Our dining companion proclaimed this the best saag paneer he's ever eaten, and since that's pretty much all he orders at Indian restaurants, we're going to take him at his word.

The beer menu on the Sherpa House website is outdated; the restaurant now offers Odell microbrews, and the two pints of Easy Street Wheat we paired with our meal set us back just $3.50 apiece.

Between the beautiful surroundings, the reasonable prices (entrees start at around $10 a pop) and the wide-reaching menu, it won't be long before we're heading back to Sherpa House ... maybe we'll try the vegetable momo, the daal bhat, the vegetable thukpa, the sherpa chow mein or the curry. And Sherpa House offers an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. every day of the week but Sunday! Call 303-278-7939.

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