On January 28th, the Queens Dinner Club had their event at Bajeko Sekuwa, a Nepali restaurant in Sunnyside, Queens. The name means grandpa’s bbq and the owner used to grill skewers at a stand on the road to the Kathmandu airport. He now owns 14 restaurants in Nepal and the one in Queens.
Peter was hesitant because the menu mentioned gizzards and goat head. But there was enough things on the menu that he could still have a full meal.
First they brought out flattened rice and pickles.
The rice was good for cooling off my mouth for some of the spicier appetizers. It didn’t have much of a taste. I’m not sure what was pickled – radishes, I think? – and they had some heat.
Then came the tangy shredded goat with house masala and it was tough to chew – like a beef jerky.
There was supposed to be gizzards with onions and green chiles and I wasn’t sure if the pakora was supposed to be that. If it was, all I tasted was the potato. Otherwise, we were missing a dish.
The crunchy soybeans with ginger, garlic, green chiles, and lemon were my least favorite of the appetizers. Give me gizzards over soybeans anytime.
For the buffet there was pan fried potatoes with ginger, garlic, and cumin; homemade black lentils; deep fried eggplant in ginger-garlic Madras curry; slow-cooked chicken with house curry masala; spinach; and basmati rice. Some of the words I recognized from Indian menus – like aloo and saag.
The eggplant and chicken were really good. I could taste the chicken or eggplant in addition to the spices. The same for the potatoes and the lentils.
Family-style on the table were crispy goat head stir fried with onion, coriander, and secret masala, which I was going to pass on.
But then I tried one of the peppers, which didn’t taste great but wasn’t horrible (it had some goat head taste on it), so I popped a piece of goat head in my mouth and could not spit it out fast enough. The taste was so overwhelmingly bad that I thought I’d never be able to eat again.
The Nepali chicken dumplings in house spicy broth were indeed spicy and the chicken had a very different taste than what you’d have in a Chinese restaurant. But it was good. I tried one of the sauces with the dumplings – the less spicy one.
The bbq skewers were also excellent. The meats were coated in yogurt and some were grilled with coriander and cumin. There was grilled wild boar with Sichuan peppercorn, tender grilled goat with house masala and grilled chicken with house masala.
As we were eating, they put a salad out by the buffet and I got a small bowl to help cool off my mouth.
Dessert was sweetened cheese with syrup and Nepali yogurt. It’s lal mohan on the menu but the card on the buffet table said gulab jamon. The cheese ball was hot (in temperature) and very sweet. I liked it but couldn’t eat more than one because I was full.
There were familiar tastes from having eaten Indian and Chinese food for so long but there were also delightful surprises when the food looked familiar but didn’t taste at all like what I had eaten in the past.
By Carene Lydia Lopez