There’s an great stretch of Cortelyou Road in Ditmas Park where there are several interesting restaurants: Hartwell Vegetarian, Purple Yam, Lea, The Farm on Adderly. My friend Ian recently told me about one I wasn’t familiar with, hidden right next to a small grocery store — Cafe Tibet. I was on the prowl for great Tibetan food, having eaten some fantastic Tibetan food while I was in Nepal.
At Cafe Tibet they have a ton of vegetarian and even vegan options, all helpfully marked on the menu. I started with laphing, a dish I had once at Phayul in Jackson Heights. This was a very different rendition of the dish, though with similar ingredients. In this case there were large, wobbly chunks of mung bean jelly smothered in a chili vinegar sauce. It was more about texture than flavor, with the jelly basically melting in my mouth and slipping around in the bowl. I love this kind of thing, but your mileage may vary.
Even better was the thenthuk, a soup made with wide, unevenly cut noodles. It tasted like the best chicken noodle soup you’ve ever had; comforting, warming, the noodles soaking up the soup and becoming laden with flavor. About three-quarters of the way through the bowl I had an inspired idea — I poured some of the chili-vinegar sauce from the phayul into the soup. Holy moly, this was a revelation. It hit every pleasure center on my tongue, and I sluped it down with abandon. There are so many more things I want to try on the menu, but I don’t know if I can return without ordering the thenthuk.
Cafe Tibet — 1510 Cortelyou Rd