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Rare Nepalese Restaurant Coming to Andersonville

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A restaurant focusing solely on authentic Nepalese cuisine is a rarity in these parts, but that's going to change. Ne:Wa, an upcoming eatery revolving around a segment of Nepalese called the Newars, is shooting for a mid-June opening in Andersonville.

The Newars are an ethnic clan credited with largely revolutionizing and modernizing Nepalese cuisine. Unlike other Indian restaurants in town that serve a few Nepalese dishes, Ne:Wa will provide only Nepalese and Newari cooking. It will be a balancing act of staying true to a style that holds its history close while incorporating modern flavors and techniques. The name is an abbrevation for Newars yet also means "to come and eat" in Nepalese: "Ne" translates to "food" or "eat" and "wa" translates means to call upon someone.

Both Indian and Nepalese cuisines employ a wide variety of spices and are eaten with rice and bread, but most similarities end there, managing partner Prabal Singh says. He explains that the types of spices it uses and the presentation is different. Dishes will include "mo;mo," which are steamed Newari-style dumplings stuffed with buffalo meat and served with roasted tomato and roasted pepper dipping sauces. "Hakku chhoilaa" is a smoked and charred meat dish (often pork) in mustard oil interspersed with garlic sprouts. Vegetarian and vegan offerings will include "bara," a lentil patty topped with "aalu ko achar," a spicy potato salad. Also look for rice flour crepes with different toppings, such as ground pork and egg or vegetarian.

Singh and owner Sanam Shrestha started building buzz with a social launch event at Rebel Bar on March 8, check out the photos on Facebook. The space, including an outdoor patio, will seat 70 and feature traditional Nepalese and Newari decor with modern touches to match the cuisine. The former home of Hillbilly's Smoke House will become something very different in June, bringing a taste of rarely seen cuisine to the mushrooming Andersonville corridor.
· Ne:Wa [Official Site]

Ne:Wa

5009 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL

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