“That’s definitely the weirdest thing I’ve had all year,” my dining companion admitted. “I’m not saying I don’t like it but I’m not sure I do.” He was talking about Tibetan butter tea, and though it was only the first week of the budding new year, he had a point — at least from the perspective of an American palate.

We were enjoying the warm light and alluring aromas at Tibet Kitchen, the sweet fledgling café that has commandeered the former Maki Yaki sushi spot in the peculiar conglomeration of storefronts surrounding the St. Francis Drive Albertsons. We spent the first several minutes of our dinner musing over the beverage and its rich, palate-perplexing blend of black tea, milk, butter, and salt. You get the soothing sensation of a savory cream-based soup until the tea’s leafy aroma and full-bodied tannic qualities come through, which reminds you of the milk’s natural sweetness, and then your mouth waters from the salt. It’s disorienting. My companion ended up drinking two full mugs of it.

The rest of what you’ll find on the menu at Tibet Kitchen is, by comparison, relatively familiar — co-opted Chinese-inspired dishes like chow mein and vegetable fried rice, for example — and less challenging. There are momos — dumplings, which are beloved in some form or another practically worldwide — in beef, veggie, and chive versions. Shogo phingsha is a mild stew of beef (on our visit, tiny tough chunks) and potatoes in a vermilion broth, distinguished from its American cousin by the addition of rehydrated dried mushrooms and mung bean noodles. Thukpa is a generous bowl of what amounts to a nearly universal palliative: gently seasoned chicken or beef noodle soup with slivers of carrot, scallion, and cabbage.

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