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Feb 12, 2006 02:26 PM

Himalayan Yak Report

  • l

Yesterday we decided to hit the Yak; we hadn't been since it switched to the Himalayan from the Tibetan :) We got there just after their lunch buffet had ended- about 3:30 and ordered a pot of buttered tea, vegetable mo mo, hand pulled noodles soup with radish and spinach, spinach and potatoes, steamed and baked rolls (one of each as everyone else seemed to be doing)and an order of sabzi- what the menu described as "spinach/mustard."

The mo mo seemed starchier and heavier overall this time. As a gal who likes her dumplings "etherially light" (unless of course they're pierogi) these kind of left me cold. I had remembered them a bit more thin skinned and more aggressively seasoned from last time. This time they were stuffed with a lot of potato and not much veggie. Buttered tea was great for the first few sips and then the saltiness started to take over and I switched to a Masala Chai which was a lot more refreshing. Spinach and potatoes were a complete loser-basically a small oval plate of undercooked, and way underseasoned potato slices- about 39 cents worth- with four fresh spicach leaves ( honestly) thrown in. A colossal rip-off for $7.99! We were in the mood for something verdant and so we ordered the aforementioned sabzi and received essentially a small bown of coarsely chopped, boiled greens that were neither spinach nor mustard. No real taste to them either. They kind of reminded me of broccoli di rape, but were begging for some spices and a sprinkling of oil.

The handpulled noodle soup, this time and last, was a real winner. With a few heaping spoonfuls of hot sauce thrown in, it was a sublime treat for a snowy day.

Service was friendly. Hindi videos played on a flat screen T.V.. There were quite a few hearing impaired people at various tables and there was a lot of signing going on; they all seemed to know each other. I wonder if there is a school for the deaf nearby. All of the people looked Tibetan/Himalayan/ Indian- we were the only Westerners there which I always take as a good sign. As it was a carb heavy meal (those steamed rolls sit in your tummy like lead- totally unnecessary )I didn't even order the fried noodles with sugar, barley flour, and grated cheese as much as it sounded like a dish I'd like. The owners, if the waiter is to be believed, are a Tibetan and a Himalyan - not Koreans as someone had told us recently.

Afterwards I got a few skewers of chorizo at the juice place on the corner of Roosevelt near the Colombian club, Chibcha. I think 77th.... and some take out rice and beans from the Pollos a la Brasa/ Palacio de los Frisoles place on the corner of 76th I think....All treats for my mom and dad who were not able to join us. I looked in vain for the oblea lady, but the snow must have scared her away.

A nice day over all. The Yak left me kind of let down with the exception of the soup. I'm not sure if it was just me and my standards or the fact that this is honestly the way this food is prepared and it's just not my thing. Bottom Line: I don't think I need to go back for another 2 years. BTW, around the corner from the Yak I noticed a red- awning-ed Tibetan restaurant and cafe that seemed to be having a Grand Opening.

Happy Eating,

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  1. It wasn't any good as Tibetan Yak and it's not any good as Himalayan Yak. I went for lunch recently and ordered the sliced beef with potatoes which was decent but not great. They first served a small cup of tasteless clear soup with a few strands of spinach which I did not order. I thought it went with the entree. I refused to pay the $3.00. The new place you mentioned around the corner is not new. Has been open for at least 6+ months but I haven't tried it. Whenever I walk by Himalayan Yak I notice very few dining so it won't be around very long and it won't be missed. It's a great location near the E,F,G,R,V,W,7. I wonder if Di Fara's would consider moving to this location? I can dream can't I. I would even settle for Nick's from Forest Hills. Not a decent pizza in Jackson Heights/Elmhurst/Woodside.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Bill C

      strongly disagree, and your hopes that someone goes out of business makes me ill.

      it is good as Himalayan, and was spectacular as the Tibetan.

      as for the crowds, just about every time i've eaten there, and it's in the dozens, the place was filled at one point or another, either when we arrived, or when we left. maybe during the day it's much slower than the evenings, when it is truly hopping...

      1. re: Tree
        david sprague

        I, too, have always found the food to be stellar. Overall, i prefer the Himalayan version, because i find the nepalese dishes to be delicious, and quite unlike the tibetan side of the menu. the momo were a bit better in the last incarnation, but beyond that, this one rules.

        1. re: david sprague

          What exactly do you find to be stellar? As you can see from my post, we didn't order any meat dishes, so maybe those fall in the "stellar" department :)

          I'm genuinely curious, as stellar is such a strong word.

          1. re: lisa
            david sprague

            I've always liked the Dhal-Bat combination, which is kinda like a Thali -- there's a mustard green component I love, and sometimes a very spicy potato dish. The achar, which is a cold pickled radish dish, also very spicy, is a favorite (it's kind of akin to a kicked up cole slaw). of the meat dishes, i like any of the dry preparations. there's a tongue dish that's really interesting (if a bit chewy) and a nice chili chicken. my favorite of the meat dishes -- but best to order if you have a few people along -- is gyuma. they're little sausage-like things with intriguing, not all that fiery, spicing, but the order consists of eight or ten, and they're heavy enough that a couple go a long way.

            1. re: david sprague

              Definitley saw a lot of orders of the sausage stuff going out.... Thanks for the tips, David. Next time I'll branch out more with my selections.

    2. In the past, I've liked their aloo ko achar (spicy pickled potatoes) and tama (bamboo shoots w/ black eyed peas). Those were almost as good as when my Nepali mom's versions, and authentic enough.

      However, last time I decided to try the lunch buffet. This was awful and almost inedible. I agree that the prices are a bit too high for the portions served.

      1. ooh I really enjoy this restaurant.

        Their mutton curry is delicious. As are the chicken momos, though the tomato achar is lacking. I agree with David, when the urge for Dal-Bhat hits, it definitely is where I turn to. Try the Thali. I prefer the Nepali menu to the Tibetan one. And Joe is right- the aloo ko achar, and tama are so so good.

        1. Does anyone like the butter tea? I loved the first few sips, but then started to feel ill, like drinking watery roux. Are you only supposed to have a small taste? I think the meat choices here seem to be a lot better than the vegetarian stuff.

          3 Replies
          1. re: angelaf

            The butter tea goes down smooth as silk at first and is quite soothing, but after it cools a bit, it tastes more like something you'd drown movie theater popcorn in. Maybe it's made to ease altitude weariness in mountainous Tibet, but won't help you recover from a long subterranean ride on the E/F train.

            I go all the time and see a most of the Burmese/Nepali customers sipping Heinekens or colas, not butter tea. Probably the right idea.

            1. re: nobody special

              I don't know what it's like here, but I had the tea years ago in Tibet, made with yak butter. Yak butter tastes like blue cheese. It was very salty too. I found that if you think of it as a nourishing soup along the lines of chicken soup, it's delicious... but if you're expecting sweet tea it would be nauseating.

              1. re: Brian S

                My great grandfather (who was not Tibetan, but Romanian) always put butter in his coffee instead of milk or cream. I always think of butter tea as chicken bouillon infused with tea leaves.

          2. I've found that too often at Him Yak the butter tea just isn't hot enough.