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New Restaurant Potala Serves Tibetan Specialties From Tiny Storefront

By Katie Honan | June 13, 2017 11:29am
 A bowl of laphing at Potala in Jackson Heights.
A bowl of laphing at Potala in Jackson Heights.
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

​JACKSON HEIGHTS — Long before he opened Potala in the neighborhood, chef and owner Tashi Lama, 31, dreamed of opening a restaurant serving the dishes he learned to cook growing up in his village in Khumbu, Tibet.

After a brief stint in Nepal, he moved to the city and worked for three years at a Chinese restaurant in Manhattan. When he decided to open his own place, he couldn't think of a better location than the center of the neighborhood that's become known as the "Himalayan Heights."

Lama opened Potala two weeks ago in a tiny former barber shop on 37th Road, steps from 74th Street and next door to the entrance to Phayul, one of the most revered Tibetan restaurants in the neighborhood.

​The menu, like the venue, is small. His standouts are laphing and momos, which come in vegetable, beef, and chicken, he said.  There's butter tea and sweet tea to serve yourself while eating.

Beef momos. (DNAinfo/Katie Honan)

Chef Tashi Lama. (DNAinfo/Katie Honan)

The response so far has been "really good." But there has been some confusion: the brick and mortar Potala is not affiliated with the food truck of the same name usually parked on Broadway.

They both take their name ​from the Dalai Lama's residence, which is currently a museum in Lhasa.

Potala is open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.