Jeremy's rating: ★★★★★
This place has the best momo dumplings I've ever had in my life. Don't know what momo dumplings are? Neither did I! But you should eat them, because it will change your life for the better/worse, because you will never taste anything as good again.
Jen's rating: ★★★★☆
Everything is made just right at Phayul Restaurant; the pork is succulent, the momo dumplings are juicy, and the spices are titilating. The casual vibes and mixed customer base of locals and adventurers like us will make you feel right at home no matter where you're from.
We first discovered Phayul Restaurant during the annual Momo Crawl in Jackson Heights, where multiple restaurants in the area sell $1 momos (South Asian thick-skinned dumplings) for a chance to be crown that year's momo champion. We happily (and hungrily) hopped from vendor to vendor until we found ourselves at Phayul Restaurant, located above a nail salon, only reachable through a slightly shady hallway and narrow staircase; we ended up sticking around for longer than we expected to get our grubby hands on more momos than planned. Jeremy still claims their his favorite momos to date.
But their made-to-order momos aren't all that this Himalayan/Nepalese hole in the wall is known for. Serving up specialities such as spicy mung-bean jelly, blood sausage (for the more adventurous), and spicy beef tongue, Phayul doesn't shy away from its heavy dosage of Szechuan peppercorns. You'll most definitely need to order that side of rice to keep your mouth from exploding from painfully delicious spices, especially if you shovel on that hot chili sauce.
Another solution is to order a mango, banana, or sweet lassi which will calm your senses (although their lassis are my least favorite item on their menu). The Tssak Sha Momo (beef dumplings), Thenthuk (hand-drawn noodle soup), and Phaksha Gotsel Ngoema (pork with garlic and green pepper) are among our favorites. And not to worry, there's plenty of vegetarian options as well, such as their fried rice and vegetarian dumplings.
And don't forget to wrap up the filling meal with a $1 cup of butter tea, which essentially tastes like warm, lightly salted, yak butter. It's definitely an acquired taste but you can't doubt that it's warming. Jeremy orders on to start his meal at Phayul every single time; I always steal a sip and call it a day. Either way, 100% worth a try.
If you make the journey out to Jackson Heights, stop by and let us know what you think!