Himalayan Chowdown Report [MSP]
We had a good turn out this weekend at our Himalaya Chowdown (and bookswap). Himalaya is a new(ish) Nepali place on Franklin that replaced El Gaucho. Both food and service were good and there was a steady flow of custom.
We started with four appetizers:
Momos, both vegetarian and yak, served with a mild chili sauce
Kothe (deep fried momos), both chicken and vegetarian, served with a tomato chutney
Lo (fried lentil pancakes)
I found the Lo to be a bit on the bland and unremarkable side, but the rest of the appetizers were quite tasty.
For the main course:
Kwati - it is a mixed daal, but it is on the soup menu. A combo of kidney beans, black eyed peas, urad daal and more. The menu said that it had 8 or so varieties of beans. I really liked this dish, it was nicely spiced and not too rich or complicated. I would not order it by itself; it is good as part of the meal as a whole.
Lamb Choyala: Strips of lamb marinated in yogurt and spices and grilled in the tandoor, served with grilled onions and green peppers. I found the lamb to be a bit tough. we ordered this one hot and the flavor was okay, but I don't think I would order this one again.
Aloo dam: Potatoes in a gravy. I think I may have missed this one. Someone else will have to give their impression on this one.
Palak Paneer. Spinach and Cheese in a cream grave. This was quite a good palak paneer. it was rich and nicely spiced. The gravy seemed more like a tikka masala gravy than other palak panner gravies I have had, but it worked quite well. If you like a cream based gravy, I would defintely recommend this one.
Kataar Aaloo - This was a jackfruit and potato dish. It was good, but not as good as the one I had at Everest on grand. It is definitely worth trying. The jackfruit has a nice texture and taste and the dish works well.
Khosi ka Masu: Goat Curry. This dish was excellent. The goat was tender and the sauce was delicious.
Salmon Tikka Masala: This was the special of the day - Chunks of marinated salmon grilled in the tandoor served in a tomato cream gravy. The salmon was a bit overdone and the sauce was not stand out. I think there are definitely better ways to eat salmon and better fish curries both.
We had basmati rice, naan and poori to go with the meal. The naan was a perfectly good naan. The poori was deflated when it came to the table. This may be because we ordered five and things were busy at this point. While the taste was good, I love the presentation of a freshly cooked and ballooned poori. An important note, the breads were quite large, maybe 8-12 inches in diameter or so. We were unable to finish ours.
We were so full that we were unable to try dessert. It was the standard South Asian fair. Kheer, rasmalai and the like.
Finally, the service was good. Despite a twelve top and most of the restaurant being full, the waitstaff was attentive and unstressed. They didn't make any mistakes and the food came out in a timely fashion.
I'll definitely be eating here again.
The yak kothe are fantastic at The Himalyan. They source the yak from a farm in St. Cloud, and the meat is tender, juicy, and flavorful.
I agree with kolgrim's assessment of the palak paneer. Very creamy.
I thought the lassi was interested at The Himalayan. It had a higher yogurt ratio than others I've had. It definitely did the job cooling my mouth. I ordered medium spiciness in my Palak Paneer, and it definitely had some heat.
We were also too full to try dessert.
The night we were there, they were hosting an event, and they had one table to spare for us. Our service was prompt.
I'll definitely go back as well. I want to try the yak momos, the kwati and the bheda ko masu (lamb curry).
2401 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55406
How did I overlook this? Thank goodness EOS and djohnson22 bumped it up into sight! Thank you, kolgrim for your excellent report and to everyone who came out to Himalayan for dinner on Saturday, as well as to the subset of attendees who participated in the cook book swap. I can say that everyone left with a different cookbook than s/he showed up with and everyone seemed quite happy with what s/he ended up with. (I'm quite happy with mine, thank you.)
I agree with just about everything kolgrim says in his excellent report. I'll have to go home and check my photos to see if he left anything out.
I don't see that you mentioned the okra dish that was ordered later in the meal--I thought that was nice. For okra. HAHAHA! No seriously, it was nice. Agree about the salmon tikka masala--that's not a regular thing on their menu, though, so you aren't going to have to do too many machinations to avoid it.
Also, I would have to say that I didn't think either of the momos we tried were as good as the "meat" momos I had at Himalayan's sister restaurant Highland Cafe and Bakery (on Ford Parkway) or the vegetarian momos I've had at Everest on Grand.
I thought the poori seemed pretty puffy when it first arrived, but I don't know very much about poori, so if Kolgrim says it was a bit deflated, I defer.
And, I agree--our server was unflappable and cheerfully rolled with all of our unconventional/crazy requests for 400 knives so we could split each dish 37 different ways, etc.
Thank you again!
Thanks for the After Action Report! I have nothing to add to kolgrim's excellent descriptions of the establishment and the particular dishes we tried. I will say this was the first chowdown for half of the dozen 'hounds present (including kolgrim) and it was a delight to meet everyone.
I also have not much to add to Kolgrim's AAR, except that I agree on the assessment of the Lamb Choyala - liked the flavor but meat was a bit on the tough side. And the Salmon Tikka Masala was ok, but I definitely was not wild about it - the flavor of the salmon did not combine very well with the flavor of the sauce.