A taste of Nepal on Mount Rainier? Knitted Nepal hats for sale in a restaurant? Yak? What could be more appropriate than to have food of the Himalayas here in the Cascades. All great mountains and great food.
For the past five years, a Nepalese family has run The Wildberry Restaurant one mile south of the entrance to Mount Rainier National Park. They bring traditional Nepalese foods, gifts and souvenirs and excellent American selections to the big, bright dining room.
The menu is extensive and includes Red Potato Chowder, Flat Iron Steak, Sherpa Stew, and Yak. A selection of berry pies rounds out the menu.
We ordered the Yak Burger and fries, $13.99, which came with onions, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo; the Pappadum, which is very thin lentil flour chips, at $4.99; a cup of Sherpa Stew ($4.99); a cup of spiced yellow lentil Dal soup ($4.99); Sherpa tea, warm and spiced ($2.50); and huckleberry pie at $6.99. We loved everything.
The stew was beefy and rich and had potatoes, celery, radishes, small dumplings and tender beef.
The Dal soup was bright yellow, had ground lentils and was gently spiced. Delicious.
The four Pappadum chips were the size of folded dinner plates, slightly salty and dotted with cumin seed. Almost too tender to touch, they came with a dip of sweet and delicate tamarind sauce.
The yak burger was big and thick and served on a hot but not toasted bun. I researched yak meat, and it is leaner, has less cholesterol, and is easier to digest than beef. It was very good.
I have a friend who is fascinated with huckleberries, so I ordered the pie, and it was excellent. It had tender, flaky crust, was crammed with berries and was warmed and fragrant.
It is well worth the ride to try this food. We had a great time. Plenty of parking, roomy bathroom.
IF YOU GO
The WildBerry Restaurant
37718 State Route 706 E. in Ashford.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day
Carolyn Augustine is a freelance restaurant writer.