Student-run media of Black Hills State University. The Jacket Journal / KBHU-TV / KBHU 89.1 FM & KJKT 90.7 FM "The Buzz".

BHSU Media

Student-run media of Black Hills State University. The Jacket Journal / KBHU-TV / KBHU 89.1 FM & KJKT 90.7 FM "The Buzz".

BHSU Media

Student-run media of Black Hills State University. The Jacket Journal / KBHU-TV / KBHU 89.1 FM & KJKT 90.7 FM "The Buzz".

BHSU Media

Hiking to the top of flavor summit: Basecamp Kitchen

Taylor SanFilipo
The entrance to Basecamp Kitchen in Spearfish.

An unassuming restaurant, Basecamp Kitchen in Spearfish, S.D., is quickly becoming a local favorite. After having the pleasure of visiting, I completely understand why. Upon entering I was met with a small, but brightly lit, dining area decorated with Nepalese prayer flags, posters, and souvenir bottles galore.

A single row of tables lined the large street-facing windows allowing diners to look out on the busy roundabout on W. Jackson Blvd. A large wrap-around counter separated the dining space from the aromatic kitchen, making me eager for the food just from the enticing scents.

I was quickly met by my server and kindly told I could pick where to sit. Of course, I chose a window seat to allow for the full people-watching while dining experience. With an appetite, I had been working up all day, I ravenously searched through the menu and chose my courses for the evening.

I chose to start with the chicken momos, Nepalese dumplings, my favorite cultural variation of the dish. As I waited, I decided what dish I would be challenging next. With perfect timing, as my search for my next dishes came to a close, I was welcomed with a platter of juicy, perfectly wrapped momos, rung around a ramekin of chilled tomato chutney. Biting into the thin, soft exterior of the momos, I was gifted a flavor profile elevated from any similar cuisine. Jampacked full of onion, garlic, and slivers of mild green chilies, I found myself immediately reaching for another.

I fully took advantage of the satisfying temperature difference between the momos and the chutney and finished the platter before I had a chance to understand what was happening.

With my appetite still not sated, due to no fault of the generous portions, I prepared myself for my entrees, chicken tikka masala and Lamb Curry, both served with fragrant jasmine rice and an order fresh garlic naan on the side.

As with most Indian restaurants, you are given the risky choice of choosing your spice level. For the chicken tikka masala, I chose a hesitant medium level, fearing an imbalance on the scales of what is considered spicy, while my guest chose an impressively confident mild level for the lamb curry.

Once the main courses arrived after a long, but rewarding wait, we dug in. The lamb curry paraded bold flavors, heavy spices, and a mid-western brown gravy-like texture. The lamb, perfectly cooked, paired with robust onion, garlic and tomato-laden curry made for an excellent combination with the fresh garlic naan, which on its own was perfect.

Slightly chewy, but still incredibly airy and light. Not only did the naan go incredibly well with the curry, but it also found an excellent partner in the form of the delectable chicken tikka masala.

The chicken tikka masala boasted incredibly moist, tender poultry floating in the beautiful traditional tikka masala sauce. Absurdly well-seasoned, the tomatoes played delicately with the ginger that was also present, and with the perfect sauce-to-protein ratio (the more sauce, the better), Basecamp brought this childhood favorite to the next level.

Surprisingly, both dishes were pleasantly mild, letting me know that next time, I can be more cavalier with my spice levels. Craving something sweet at the end of the savory paradise of the meal, but also being much too full to commit to a complete dish of one of their delicious-looking deserts, I settled for a velvety, yogurt-accented mango lassi.

In a charming – and comedically sturdy – coffee to-go cup, I sipped on the cold, luxurious blended drink and departed with the remnants of my meal (yes, there were still leftovers).

All in all, I believe that Basecamp Kitchen is one of the hidden gems of Spearfish and a great place to go with any guest, as they also offer a variety of vegetarian, dairy-free, and gluten-free options. With the location being incredibly accessible, if not a little on the pricier side, I would be absolutely foolish to say I would never be going back to explore the rest of their enticing menu.

About the Contributor
Taylor Sanfilippo, Food Critic