Lhasa, the celebrated Tibetan restaurant that started with a tiny outpost in Jackson Heights, debuted its East Village location yesterday on the southwest corner of First Avenue and 11th Street. (These photos via Steven are from Friday.)
Here's more about the Jackson Heights spot — first championed by Anthony Bourdain on his show "Parts Unknown" — from Atlas Obscura ... "the Tibetan surprise at the end of a corridor of cell phone shops, a tailoring business, and jewelry stores."
For lovers of momos, Tibetan dumplings filled with pork or beef and heaps of chives or cilantro, Lhasa has been an open secret. ... The decor is sparse, the tableware disposable, but the food is a hearty invitation into Tibetan food culture. Steaming bowls of thenthuk, hand-pulled nubs of noodles swimming in a tomato-chili broth replete with vegetables and beef, are popular, as is shapta, fiery strips of beef fried with mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorns. Bamboo steamers full of momos occupy every table, served with a hot sauce that feels like a call to arms.
Owner-chef Sang Jien Ben grew up in the Tibetan town of Rebkong in what is today Qinghai Province, China, as the Times noted in an enthusiastic write up in 2017. He opened an easier-to-find space in Elmhurst last year called Lhasa Fresh Food.
On First Avenue, Lhasa is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, with an 11 p.m. close on weekends.
The previous tenant here, Little Tong, closed after three years in in mid-March. (They did return shortly after for donation-based takeout meals.)
In an Instagram post from March, Simone Tong, Little Tong's chef and owner, cited the coronavirus outbreak as the driving force behind the closure. The Midtown East location remains open. She also opened Silver Apricot to great fanfare in the West Village several weeks ago.