2016-10-12 / Restaurant of the Week

HIMALAYAN Restaurant and Grill

Himalayan Restaurant and Grill is one of the newest jewels in Astoria’s crown of ethnic restaurants. In celebration of “Steinway Days,” the Gazette is proud to welcome Himalayan Restaurant and Grill to the neighborhood. It was opened in mid-August by owners Anil and Santa, and is managed impeccably by Jewan, both of whom hail from the distant, mountainous country of Nepal, wedged between China and the Indian subcontinent. Offering an exotic combination of Nepalese, Indo-Chinese, and Indian cuisine, Himalayan Restaurant and Grill even looks like a stop on the Spice Road. Walls are painted in rich tones of cinnamon, while the clove-colored, leather banquettes and cherry wood tables provide plenty of quiet, comfortable dining for an intimate dinner for two, groups of friends or even large families. The sparkling light fixtures glimmer against the charming copper water goblets and slender, silver vases hold fresh orchids. The overall feeling is serene.

Enjoy a soft drink or tea until their wine and beer license comes through, and savor some of the wonderful appetizers. If you’re unfamiliar with Nepalese cuisine, Jewan and the friendly staff will be happy to assist. The dishes are very flavorful but not spicy, and I asked Jewan to bring the most authentic dishes possible, being new to this cuisine. I had very special help from Tanchhohang, Anil and Santa’s precious 8-year-old son, who explained the dishes, and who I invited to join me for what was one of the most fun dinners ever!

We started with lasooni gobi, which are tender cauliflower florets sautéed in tomato sauce with lots of garlic and fresh ginger ($5.50). Next came a bamboo basket bearing Momo, which are Nepalese dumplings filled with ground chicken and mild spices, available fried or steamed. I loved these dumplings and happily dipped them into the chutney sauce that accompanied them. Nepalese fish fry are chunks of flaky fish fried till crunchy and golden, served with mustard chutney, cucumber and onion relish. You might be familiar with Indian style Seekh kabab made with minced lamb and coriander, skewered and cooked in the tandoori clay oven. Chicken or vegetable samosas are great for sharing, and the eggplant chat is best spread on homemade Roti bread or Naan bread, which is ordered separately and a ‘must have’ with this delicious food, to soak up all the intoxicating flavors. All the appetizers are generously sized for sharing and very reasonably priced.

Entrees cover meat, fish, and chicken dishes, as well as a host of vegetarian options so there is something for everyone here. Jewan brought me the traditional dish called Himalaya Thali, which is actually composed of several dishes served in small bowls, all resting on a large platter with lots of delicious rice in the center. This allowed me to sample their homemade black lentil stew, lamb curry, vegetarian curry with chunks of potatoes, and yogurt sauce called raita. I learned that curry means gravy and can be made from various spices, vegetables, or meat. Spoon these tantalizing sauces over the fluffy rice and dip in with your bread for a remarkably flavorful meal. There’s even a sweet galub jamun on the platter for dessert. Other curries include lamb, beef, and goat curry, chicken and fish tikka. All the meat served here is halal and these entrees are served with jasmine rice.

From Indo-China come Hakka noodles, which are linguine like noodles stir fried with julienned vegetables and mild spices. You’ll also find Hong Kong style chicken with red peppers and cashews, coriander garlic chicken, and basil ginger chicken. Shrimp are prepared in many ways, with curry, with garlic, in black pepper sauce, and more to name a few.

Visit Himalayan Restaurant and Grill soon to experience the exotic flavors of Nepal and beyond. The phone chimes quietly and often with dozens of orders heading out for delivery. You can order through Himalayan directly, or through Seamless, Grubhub, Eat 24, and now, Uber Eats. But I suggest you take a break from the chaotic world and dine in to enjoy the peaceful setting too. If you’re lucky enough, you might meet Tanchhohang. For gorgeous photos visit their website. For great food, visit Himalayan Restaurant and Grill. They’re open seven days for lunch and dinner or orders to go. Dhan'yav da, which means ‘thank you’.

25-94 Steinway Street
Astoria  718.255.6838

www.himalayanrestaurantandgrill.com

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