Thursday, July 2, 2009

Himalayan Restaurant – Minneapolis, MN

Sometimes when I get to class early, I drive around and check out the neighborhoods around the U. Driving through Seward, I found this place called Himalayan Restaurant – pretty obvious what it is I guess. They specialize in Nepalese food, which I had never had, so it intrigued me. I planned to bail out of work early today, so I thought I could make it there in time to eat dinner before I went to class. I was partially right.

And yes, thanks for asking. It IS by the video rental and tanning place. W. T. F.

I did some research online as to what was tasty in Nepal (and also at the restaurant), and came up with a couple of things that sounded really awesome to me. I walked in to an empty restaurant and got seated by the window. I browsed the menu quickly and the guy asked if I wanted any starters. As a matter of fact, I did – in fact, I wanted two. I ordered the Kothe with yak (yes, the giant hairy beast of burden) and a bowl of Aaloo Tama (popular soup from Nepal, apparently). The guy seemed confused by me asking for both as appetizers, but he got the point.

When he came back to the table, he asked if I’d be ordering anything else. I assured him I would be. I was torn between the Bheda Ko Masu (Lamb Curry) and the Choyala with lamb. I went with the Choyala.

I waited a little bit and the appetizers came out. The Kothe was really quite good. It’s like a meaty samosa. Deep fried with seasoned yak and onions (both green and white) inside and twisted into this cool shape. The things were piping hit and filled with juice. In fact, I cut into the fourth one and it squirted a stream of juice about two feet across my table onto the upright wine list. I’m glad no one saw it. It came with a zippy little orange dipping sauce with some heat. I have no idea what the sauce was but it really brought out the flavor, so I kept using it. (I just looked it up, it was a tomato cilantro sauce.) Really fantastic appetizer.

But the best part of the entire meal (I didn’t know this yet), was the Aaloo Tama soup. They must have a lot of orange colored things in Nepal because the soup was orange. I’m assuming some sort of curry, but it was awesome. Potatoes, bamboo shoots, black-eyed (yellow) beans, and all kinds of spices and herbs. You need to try this soup. In fact I would put this soup in the top 5 soups I’ve ever had. The black-eyed beans looked and crunched like corn, but had a different consistency like beans. The bamboo shoots added the perfect texture to what could have easily been a mushy soup, which it was not at all. I’ll quit raving, just go get some.

I finished that stuff and ended up waiting longer than I thought for the main dish – the Choyala. This dish looked incredible. Lots of lamb on it and lots of green peppers and large pieces of onions in (guess what color) an orange curry-like sauce. The waiter asked if I needed rice, and he brought me a big bowl of long-grain white rice. It looked so perfect it didn’t look real. It was fantastic though. I was already near full, so I would give this my best shot and see what kind of damage I could do to it.

It was good. I’ll not rave about this dish like the soup. But it was good. It took my mouth and adjustment to get used to the dry-ish spice rub on the meat (I’m used to sauce or plain, but not super coated with seasonings. It was so seasoned I had trouble tasting the meat, which I think is kind of weird. The meat was great texture-wise, but it totally could have been any meat at all and I wouldn’t have known the difference. And especially after eating more appetizers than I should have, it could have just been my stomach telling me I didn’t need anything else. I won’t complain about it since it really was good, but it didn’t knock my socks off or anything. I ended up eating 95% of the meat and leaving a huge pile of onions on my plates. And yes, Trash, I did eat all of the parsley.

Couple of side notes: the waiter smelled really good. I should have asked him what cologne he had – sounds ghey, but really, he smelled nice. For only having like 8 wines, they had some winners: Malbec, Gewurstraminer, and Menage a Trois (which is an unpretentious Californian red)(that comment made Trash laugh – that’s all that matters). There was a lot of beeping of the cash register. I think someone was trying to crack the code or something as the beeping was continuous for almost an hour.

That’s the other thing: I strolled into class about 15 minutes late. It took me about an hour to eat and I was the only one in there. I’m not complaining. I’m just warning you. Might be fine for date night, but I couldn’t drink wine and retain anything related to Operations Management – ha ha ha.

I will go back here for sure. It was good. Next time, I’m going to forgo the Choyala and get the other lamb stuff, but there are a lot of things I’d eat here. And for my vegetarian friends, there are a lot of things to choose from as well.

Top 5 things about the Himalayan Restaurant
1. Aaloo Tama soup
2. Kothe with yak (pretty much anything with yak, ha ha ha)
3. Nice smelling waiter
4. Quiet atmosphere and decor
5. Menu is explained really well

Bottom 5 things
1. Gerd loved adventurous places like this and I’m sure she would have really really liked this place (especially since they had Malbec)
2. A little lengthy on the time (although, if I just get aps and soup, I should be ok before class, right?)
3. Be VERY careful cutting into the Kothe (seriously shield your eyes from the spray of molten lava)
4. I’m glad I don’t have an aversion to orange food (just purple)
5. With no one eating here, I hope it stays in business so I can go back!!!

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