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$20 Dinner

Make Your Way to Sunnyside’s Newa Chhe For Fantastic Nepali Delights 

Definitely get the goat head.

Newa punhi platter for three, $50, at Newa Chhe in Queens. (Scott Lynch / Hell Gate)

The four longtime friends who opened the terrific Newa Chhe on Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside last December have a specific vision for their restaurant. "We want to serve only Nepalese dishes here," Radip Shrestha told Hell Gate. "No Indian stuff, no Chinese stuff. Only things from the Newar people of the Kathmandu Valley," where he and his partners are originally from. 

But even in these famously multilingual and culinarily adventurous precincts of western Queens, Shrestha admits that some of the dishes at Newa Chhe are a tough sell, most notably those in the "Newa Exotic Food" section of the menu. To wit: the nhepu fry, the jibro fry, and the tauko fry, or goat brain, goat tongue, and goat head. 

"We're having a hard time serving it every night," Shrestha said. "We are purchasing five heads at a time, and since, you know, a goat has only one tongue, not two, there are only five orders available, and we don't know how many or how fast they will go."

(Scott Lynch / Hell Gate)

According to Shrestha, the menu is subject to change. "We've been open since December 10 but haven't printed our paper menu yet," he said, "because we're not sure what the restaurant will be. We don't want to print out five, 10 boxes of the wrong thing."

My advice to you, then, is to get over to Newa Chhe as soon as possible, both to support the endeavor and, more important, to eat some of their excellent food. The goat head fry, for example, was one of the best things I've had this year, heavily seasoned with ginger and garlic and so fatty and funky and tender. 

Tauko fry (goat head), $14. (Scott Lynch / Hell Gate)

Water buffalo also has a large presence on the Newa Chhe menu. You can get the beast prepared as jerky, or stuffed inside some thick-skinned momos, or fried into a green lentil pancake known as a bara. This latter format makes for an excellent snack, especially after spooning on the robust (and unexpectedly spicy) tamarind sauce that comes with it.

Bara (green lentil pancake) with water buffalo, $10. (Scott Lynch / Hell Gate)

Or get the buffalo choila—basically, a bowl of chopped-up, well-marinated meat, served chilled—as the centerpiece of a samay baji platter, which features an abundance of other wonderful things, including chiura, crunchy rice that's been beaten flat; alu, a potato dish; and bhuti, a bean dish. My table's neighbors got the $50 "serves three" version of this, and it looked like a total party.  

Samay baji platter with water buffalo, $16. (Scott Lynch / Hell Gate)

If chicken's more your thing, the bird can be subbed in for goat or water buffalo in most of the above offerings. There's also a bright orange, legitimately fiery "chicken chillis" dish, as well as a sautéed gizzard concoction called pangra. There's booze here, too: Cocktails are $15 (spicy mango margarita alert!), bottles of wine run in the low $30s, and a bucket of bottled beers will set you back $35.  

Chicken chillis, $12. (Scott Lynch / Hell Gate)

Chhe means "house," by the way, and Shrestha and his partners Buay Khayargoli, Kunchok Sherpa, and Pashupati Shrestha have done a good job of creating a chill haven on the bustling boulevard—they were going for "rooftop garden" with all those wooden slats—without, as Shrestha put, "making the place into a museum." This restaurant is great—let's hope it stays.    

Newa Chhe is located at 4301 Queens Boulevard, at the corner of 43rd Street, and is currently open on Monday through Thursday from noon to 10 p.m.

(Scott Lynch / Hell Gate)
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