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For a village with fewer than a thousand residents, it?s amazing to think you can eat at a different restaurant in Glen Ellen every night for a week.

You might start at the north end of town with Saffron, the cozy little place that serves California cuisine, and work your way through the village, ending at Yeti in Jack London Village at the south end. And if you love big, bold flavors, goodly portions, and exotic cooking, you might find the best was saved for last.

Yeti is the creation of Narayan Somname, the owner-chef, who comes to Glen Ellen by way of restaurants in Mountain View, Japan and Nepal. He stays true to the cuisine of the Himalayas, but ? like any good chef working with a basic cuisine ? he isn?t afraid to tweak the classics to his satisfaction.

You can watch him being creative because Yeti has its kitchen up front, behind a long counter, where chef Somname has installed his tandoor, the tall, cylindrical clay oven used from the Balkans all the way to the Himalayas. Temperatures in a tandoor can reach 900 F., which flash-cooks meats so they have a light char on the outside yet retain their juices inside.

A fine example of this is the Lamb Booti Kabob ($18.99 ****). Chunks of lamb are encrusted with fragrant and tongue-tingling Indian spices, skewered and plunged into the inferno of the tandoor, emerging moments later as wonderfully tender and juicy, slightly smoky morsels of meat. These are pulled off the skewer onto a hot iron plate, where they sizzle merrily along with sliced onions and green peppers. A lime wedge is provided and much appreciated, as it adds yet another layer of flavor to the dish.

?Next time,? the waitress confided, ?try the lamb shank curry ? it?s the best.?

Yeti occupies one of the premier spots along Sonoma Creek in Glen Ellen, with a large outside patio set with six glass-topped tables holding umbrellas, and a view down to the creek and to the Bluegrass Bar and Grill next door. Besides the full-on dinner menu, Yeti is a great place for a light lunch of an appetizer like the steamed Momo ($7.99 ***) ? ground chicken and fresh Himalayan herbs wrapped in pot-sticker dough and served with cooling mint sauce and a wedge of lime ? washed down with one of the 15 bottled beers on the menu. Of course, there is the traditional yogurt-based beverage called lassi available, and 22 wines, 14 by the glass. Well chosen and nicely priced wines, too, like the Kunde Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon for $26, the J Pinot Gris for $28, and a bottle of Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs for $26.

Inside the restaurant, six small tables can seat about 12 to 15 people easily, and there?s a long counter with nine stools. Eleven Nepalese square paper lanterns hang from the ceiling to deliver light. You?ll see chef Somname with a tall toque, and the floor painted milk chocolate brown with yeti (the Abominable Snowman) footprints painted on in white. Tables are set with bud vases holding multicolored dianthus. Indian music plays softly on the sound system. The service is excellent and delivered with warm smiles.

Indian and Nepalese appetizers make fine snacks. Mixed Vegetable Pakoras ($5.99 ***), for instance, double as fast street food in the U.K. These amorphously shaped morsels contain potatoes, cauliflower, spinach, eggplant and onion, chopped and mixed together and dipped in a chickpea flour batter, then deep fried. An order is served with a spicy-sweet tamarind chutney and a cool mint sauce.

A fundamental food of Indian and Nepalese cooking is naan, the leavened bread cooked by slapping it onto the burning hot inside of the tandoor. It can be torn into pieces that are used to pick up saucy meats and vegetables. It?s also a napkin to wipe the mouth, and a tasty treat in its own right. Yeti?s naan is the best I?ve ever had. It?s in the shape of a paddle, or a large leaf, and is served on a silvery leaf-shaped dish.

The Plain Naan ($2.99 ****) is superb bread, but it?s just the beginning of what?s available. You can get it buttered, or order garlic naan, garlic and cilantro naan, honey-butter naan and masala kulcha. This last type is naan stuffed with potatoes, peas and the Himalayan spice mixture called garam masala. Roti ? an unleavened whole wheat bread ? is also available.

Samosas ($5.99 **) at Yeti are the perfunctory kind, made of a thick cone of dough that holds potatoes, peas and chopped bell peppers spiced with garlic, cumin and ginger. They?re deep fried and served with tamarind and mint sauces.

Many of the entrees come as stews served in round metal bowls. For these, sides of aromatic Steamed Basmati Rice ($2.99 **) studded with green peas make a good, starchy bed for the meat and sauce that are meant to be spooned over. Chicken Vindaloo ($14.99 **1/2) features tender chunks of chicken in a sweetish, hot and spicy sauce. This dish is found in almost every Indian restaurant, and yet is Portuguese in origin. Spice trade sailors traveling to India preserved pork in vinegar aboard their ships. Today?s vindaloo combines the original meat with the hot spices of Goa, the city on the southern Indian coast where the spice traders landed. It?s probably more appreciated in Western Indian restaurants than in most of India.

Vegetarians might like to spoon some Saag Paneer ($11.95 **1/2) over the rice. This mixture of creamed spinach and cubes of farmer cheese ? what we might call a fresh (unripened) cheese ? has a nice, spicy kick to its sauce. The carnivorous among us might prefer the Roghan Josh ($14.99 ***), a medium-hot lamb curry. Cubes of tender lamb come in a sauce flavored with garam masala ? a spice blend ? plus onions, coriander, chiles and garlic. Here?s where the naan comes in handy, as torn pieces of the bread make perfect scoops to whisk meat and sauce and rice into the mouth.

Tandoori Chicken ($15.99 ***1/2) is some of the best I?ve found. The chicken is marinated overnight in yogurt, ginger and garam masala, then roasted in the intense heat of the tandoor. It then goes onto a sizzling hot iron plate to be served. Unlike most tandoori chicken, which is dyed the color of an electric orange from turmeric, this looks like real chicken and tastes that way, too.

For dessert, there is traditional Pistachio Kulfi ($6.99 ***1/2), and it is sensationally delicious. It?s like an ice cream, but different, as it?s made from cream and condensed milk, sweetened with sugar, and enriched with crushed pistachios and corn flour to make it set like a paste. It?s then frozen without being whipped like ice cream. It?s more like a frozen Bavarian or semifreddo than ice cream. You?ll love it.

To sum up: Yeti is a fine Indian and Nepalese restaurant, very traditional, that joins other fine restaurants in Glen Ellen?s eclectic culinary scene.

Jeff Cox writes a weekly restaurant review column for A&E. You can reach him at jeffcox@sonic.net.