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Himalayan Yak is Yakky!!!

I was recommended to this restaurant from a woman I know who has been to Nepal several times. She said the food was as good, if not BETTER, than in Nepal. So I was excited to go and try out this cuisine I had never tasted before. My friends also saw a woman reviewing this restaurant on TV last week.....so much hype! What for?

We ordered gundruk (which is a Nepali mixed dry vegetables of some sort of fermented green with various unknown things mixed inside). It seemed good the first few bites ...an interesting mix of soft and crunchy ...but after a few bites it gave me the strangest feeling so I stopped eating it. It was just fowl.
Goat Dalbhat. A goat curry type thing served with rice, black eyed peas, and a sauteed green. All decent but forgettable.
From the Tibetan side of the menu we had a sauteed beef with vegetables and Himalayan bread. The beef was tough and just average in flavoring and spices. The bread was flavorless and not worth the carbs. lol
And finally another dish of chunks of lamb (mostly lamb fat) with sauteed onions and garlic. Toughest chunks of lamb I've ever tasted.
We also shared a mango lassi which was not flavorful at all.

Everything was just....blah....leaning on the side of yakky! (yuckie) hehe

I walked out feeling disappointed and with a stomach ache on top of it.

Needless to say I will not return and would not recommend it to anyone else.

Himalayan Yak Restaurant (72-20 Roosevelt Ave, Jackson Heights)

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  1. i live nearby and have never tried it. i'm curious, but whenever i read the menu descriptions, they sound so boring and unappealing to my palate. very beef and wheat based, which isn't so much my thing.

    it may be a good example of the cuisine and it's just not to your palate either, or they may have had a bad night, or a combination.

    good for you for trying it anyway.

    alekz

    1. Well, the food I had in Nepal itself, aside from the Tibetan style food, was pretty uninspired too. Most Nepali cusine tends heavily towards various "dal bhat" (rice & lentil) combinations. Particualrly dal bhat takari (rice & lentils with a little lightly spiced and pasty vegetable curry, usually served with some bread and very occasionally preceeded by a little meat), which is served for the overwhelming majority of most people's twice a day meals. Nepal is quite poor and not a lot grows at those elevations, so the emphasis is very much on food that fills you up in smallish amounts, hence a rather grain-heavy diet.

      Having said that, I've eaten at the Yak several times and found it to be quite authentic, although things can be indifferently prepared sometimes (as they often are in Nepal). I understand that the place is actually owned by Tibetans who lived in Nepal, as are many of the restaurants in Kathmandu. The dal bhat dishes are generally the best things on their menu. I also like their momos, although better ones are available at the Nepali/Japanese hybrid restaurants down in Sunnyside. The lamb and goat dishes seem to have the right amount of stringy funkiness to remind me of the food I had in Nepal. The gundruk tastes like it should in my experience, kind of like a Nepali kim chee with the same "weird" feeling of active fermentation, although the dish is not a favorite of mine and I've only ordered it once I think. Other things that are on the Tibetan menu I don't like so much. I never order the beef dishes, since real beef would never be served openly in Hindu/Bhuddist Nepal and my guess is that they would cook it a lot more the way buffalo is cooked there (i.e. with the hell cooked out of it). In any event, Woodside, Jackson Heights, and Sunnyside have one of the few concentrations of Nepali - Tibetan population on the east coast, so if you can't get their food authentically prepared here I don't know where you'd get it.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Woodside Al

        I wonder if any of the Queens restaurants reproduce the sweet, gooey pie and cake offerings of the pie shops of Kathmandu's Pig Alley. I remember them fondly. They'd get a lot of customers (but not Nepali customers).

        http://www.nepalnews.com.np/contents/...

        1. re: Woodside Al

          thanks for the interesting reply! its good to know i did indeed try an authentic version of their cuisine. i think the flavors just don't please my particular palate (or stomach) as i had a stomach ache all night and into the next day. their neighbors india and bangladesh offer much more pleasing food for me!

        2. I enjoy the Himalayan Yak. Their dumpling dishes were particularly good, as was, strangely enough, the beef stomach. Much of the food of the region is mildly spiced, as opposed to the bulk of Indian food. But Tibet Shambala on the Upper West Side is better, IMHO.

          2 Replies
          1. re: plumerai

            Tibet Shambala on the Upper West Side has been closed for months.

            1. re: Seth

              i tried tibet shambala about two years ago and didn't like that restaurant much either. both were completely forgettable meals.

          2. I found the food ok, not too exciting, but I may not have ordered well. What I really liked was the buttered tea. Prob not yak butter though...

            3 Replies
            1. re: prunefeet

              I had yak butter in Tibet years ago. It's rich and creamy and a bit like blue cheese. The thing about the tea: if you think of it as a restorative broth a bit like chicken soup, you'll love it. If you are expecting a sweet sugary tea, like Indian chai with milk, you will loathe it.

              1. re: Brian S

                I thought it was yummy. A lot of people seem to think it's gross, but I have heard reports of a rancid taste and mine tasted rich and fresh.

                1. re: Brian S

                  geez, brian, you've gone just about everywhere, haven't you? color me JEALOUS. :)

              2. The food at the Yak was really good and I recommend everyone who wants to have a taste of Tibetan and/or nepali food to try this place. I highly disagree with your review i recently walked into the restaurant since me and my husband wanted to try something new and the food was very exotic and delicious. I personally love Indian food and the entree's we had were wonderful, it was a perfect combination of Indian spices with an Asian twist. I think they just renovated because my friend who referred me told me about them being closed for a few months, the venue has portraits and huge oil painting of the Tibetan lifestyles with beautiful thangka paintings. The waiters were very friendly in answering all our questions and helped us pick our dishes. Overall my experience was wonderful for the price was very reasonable for the portions, I would surely be back there and recommend it to all the people who want to try a new cuisine and add some spice to their life :)

                1 Reply
                1. re: doloresnyc

                  I haven't been there in a while. I don't think Himalayan Yak is bad, but Tibetan cuisine is really not my thing. I haven't been to Tibet, but have eaten at several Tibetan restaurants in NYC. In comparison, I think Himalayan Yak is one of the better ones, if not, the best one I've eaten in. However, I can understand why the OP wasn't too thrilled with the cuisine. It's not for everyone.

                2. not really sure why you'd diss a cuisine based on one attempt at it. I've been to Yak a few times after returning from a wonderful trip to Nepal and have always enjoyed every meal there. The dalbhat and goat curry platter usually does the trick for me- the fragrant rice and the subtle use of spice. I much prefer this subtlety than the overpowering factor in Indian food.

                  I've had much better Nepali food in Nepal itself. An acquaitances mother made me a meal in her Kathmandu kitchen which was just delightful, as was the luxurious Nepali meal at Dwarika Hotel. For anyone with an open mind wanting to try Nepali food in NY, visit Yak. Start with the momos as an appetizer. Get the Dal, Bhat and either mutton or chicken option. Finish with some kheer (spiced rice pudding). A delicious meal start to finish.

                  If you want a less safe, more adventurous Nepali meal give the tama (bamboo shoots with blackeyed peas) and the aloo achar (potato salad) a try... mmmm...

                  Their recent renovations means the interior is much nicer than before and thus lends to a nice ambience as well.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: love2eatny

                    I don't know if you meant that comment for me or not, but I would never diss a cuisine based on one restaurant...I would absolutely give it a try again (I plan to go to Nepal sometime in the next few years) but I really thought that restaurant, that night, wasn't very good. I've worked in many restaurants before and I realize that even one restaurant can vary greatly depending on who's the one cooking that night, the quality of the ingredients, how long ago the food had been prepared, etc.
                    Nice to hear they have renovated and are serving good food now! If I'm ever back in the area I would possibly give it another try.

                    1. re: junglekitte

                      I think "love2eatny" was referring to the original poster who wrote:
                      "So I was excited to go and try out this cuisine I had never tasted before."
                      Oh wait .... you were the OP.
                      Interesting that you've only tried Tibetan/Nepali food once yet you come back to this thread every few months to bash this restaurant.

                      1. re: el jefe

                        I come here every few months? HUH?