190228GLOBE

A dining companion of Gazette restaurant reviewer Bill Livick ordered a serving of Thai coconut curry during a recent visit to The Globe in downtown Madison. The dish simmers tofu or chicken and lemongrass, ginger and garlic in coconut milk.

MADISON

Operating from a small downtown storefront on North Henry Street, The Globe restaurant has been offering a fusion of international recipes since it opened late last fall.

The Globe specializes in the cuisines of Nepal and Northern India, but its menu also includes dishes from Thailand, Tibet, Korea, Japan, the Middle East and elsewhere.

Although The Globe is Ashim and Suzy Malla’s first restaurant, the husband-wife duo is experienced in the food-service business. The pair learned the ropes from family members who also run restaurants in Madison.

Ashim attended culinary school while managing his uncle’s popular east-side restaurant, Dobhan, for seven years, his wife explained. She learned her craft while working at her sister’s downtown Indian restaurant, Mirch Masala.

Suzy Malla said she and her husband had planned on The Globe being a take-out-only kitchen but decided to squeeze a few tables into the tiny dining room after requests from customers and friends.

The place has an informal, homemade atmosphere that can feel a bit like a communal dining experience—partly because it’s so small and partly because everyone is so friendly. Customers place orders at a small counter separating the dining room from the kitchen, and the food is served to their tables. The owners checked in with us repeatedly during our meal to make sure we were pleased with everything.

The Globe’s menu includes appetizers, curry and rice dishes, soups, sandwiches and even a couple types of tacos—the standard Mexican version and a Korean barbecue taco (both three for $10).

At this time of year, there’s nothing better than a bowl of delicious soup to stir the palate and warm the soul. The two soups on The Globe’s menu—Himalayan 15-bean soup and coconut cauliflower chowder—are sure to please. Much to our surprise, the restaurant is including them free with every meal.

The Himalayan 15-bean soup is extraordinary for its flavor, which Suzy Malla attributes to the plethora of beans and the ajwain seeds used in the recipe. Ajwain seeds are similar to caraway, cumin and fennel but have an even stronger flavor, much like anise and oregano. They provide the dominant flavor in the soup.

The coconut cauliflower chowder incorporates curry with cauliflower, corn and potatoes, but it is the mild sweetness of coconut milk that comes through the most. My dining companion commented it is one of the richest soups she has ever tasted—and also one of the best.

The kitchen’s appetizers and main dishes didn’t match the same level of perfection as the soups, but they were worthy of recommending nonetheless.

An Indian starter called bhajji ($5), which is similar to a fritter, is a crunchy pocket of chickpea batter that is stuffed with minced vegetables (typically potato and onion), deep-fried and then served with a mild yogurt sauce and a salty tomato sauce, while Tibetan dumplings ($5) are prepared with edamame, soy, cabbage, onion, scallions and cilantro.

A Nepalese version of a bento box ($14) included jasmine rice, “tic tac” curry (kidney beans, carrots and broccoli cooked in tomato and cilantro curry) and steamed vegetables and a salad of scallions, cabbage, carrots, edamame and tamari. It is an interesting mix of flavors and textures, but it didn’t stand out as exceptional.

That also was my friend’s take on an order of Thai coconut curry ($11.95), which simmers tofu or chicken and lemongrass, ginger and garlic in coconut milk. She said the dish falls short of similar plates around town and would benefit from the addition of squash or some other dominant vegetable.

The Globe doesn’t have a license to sell alcohol but offers coffee, soda, Thai spiced milk, yerbamate or lassi as a beverage. We opted for a mango lassi and banana lassi ($5 each), and both were really delicious. We didn’t feel the need to order dessert.

The Globe is one of those great little one-of-a-kind treasures that will hold great appeal to some diners and none at all to others. It reminds me of so many small, family-run, hole-in-the-wall eateries you’ll find in cities throughout the world.

We loved it for its authenticity and uniqueness, and we think you might, too.

Bill Livick is a freelance writer who writes entertainment stories and Madison-area restaurant reviews for The Gazette.

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