Yak & Yeti
7803 Ralston Rd, Arvada, CO 80002
To properly tell you about how good the Saag Paneer is at Yak & Yeti, I must digress for a moment and go back almost 30 years to my college days at NYC's Fashion Institute of Technology. There I was, a wide-eyed freshman, excited to experience & taste all that the big city had to offer. Living next door to me in my dorm were two extremely nice (and very cute as well) roommates from India—and no, this is not THAT kind of story. As I got to know them, they would invite me over for home-cooked meals made from recipes that had been lovingly passed down from their mothers. I ate a wide variety of meals with exotic flavors I had never tasted before—it was absolutely awful! To be fair, some were "palatable," but often times I could barely stomach how bad the food was. Long story short, I never ate Indian food again!
Fast forward many years, I was chatting with some friends in 2013 about a craft beer + culinary pairing event called BrüFrou I had started developing with my partner and they mentioned an eatery/brewery called Yak & Yeti in Arvada, a suburb of northwest of Denver. Of course I fervently (and ignorantly) said, "Yuck, I hate Indian food," but decided to tag along anyways when a bunch of them trekked over there one evening. They ordered a plethora of dishes: Mixed Vegetable Pakora & Samosa, Tandoori Chicken, Garlic Cheese Naan, Lamb Makhani—and of course the Saag Paneer, all paired with a outrageously delicious Chai Milk Stout. I tried a little taste here, and a little bite there. My taste buds were exploding, the synapses in my mind were firing like it was the 4th of July!
I sat there in front of this Indian banquet of glory, and never felt so stupid in my life! Had I really let 30 years of my life go by and shunned these culinary gifts from this ancient part of the world? I came to realize, as I sat there stuffing my face with these heavenly bites, it wasn't that I didn't like Indian food, it was that my old dorm neighbors were simply horrible cooks. So yeah, while I now feel a little silly, I do look back and appreciate their effort & kindness. Food is truly a gift.
And now that my digression is over, I can tell you unequivocally that the Saag Paneer is divine. Bright, lively fresh spinach is the key to this dish, unlike many other unmatched, unworthy saags I've since tried. And just the the right amount of spices liven up the dish (I recommend ordering "medium" as a good place to start). The paneer (cheese) is the perfect firm texture to complement the creaminess of the saag. Also try the Chana Saag if you like chick peas as an alternative to the paneer.
Lastly, don't miss the Tandoori Chicken Wings—yeah, I said chicken wings, and this is coming from a die-hard New Yorker whose been to the original Anchor Bar in Buffalo. Their tandoor, which I believe operates at a temperature slightly cooler then the sun, crisps the tandoori spices for a perfect crust on the outside of the wings, while the inside meat next to the bones remains tender & moist. For your next Super Bowl party, order these delicacies to-go and serve them up to your friends for a BIG wow-factor, Go Broncos!
I don't make a lot of promises in this world, but since my first experience at Yak & Yeti, I have discovered many dishes that have delighted my senses & satisfied my soul—and I promise that you will love this place too. And if you do go there, say "Hi" to Kal Pant, the ever-present GM, and the amazing photographer who shot these beautiful images.