Himalayas Restaurant: Peaks of Flavor Nearly Sabotaged by Service

Jaclyn’s Pick

Himalayas Restaurant
1010 Howard St
Fare: Bhutanese and Indian
Cost: $80 for drinks, two appetizers and two meals
Reservations: Recommended

Greetings Eaters and Readers!

Already downtown to see Wicked, I chose an old market spot for this month’s NFF. Toggling between Trini’s and Himalayas, I chose on the latter. I didn’t know much about Himalayas other than it serving Indian food and being there for as long as I can remember.

This visit was possibly the most conflicted experience we’ve had in four years of doing New Food adventures and two years of blogging about said adventures.

We don’t want to dog-pile on the server or the business – but we’re also desperate for you to understand and help us decide if we’re being whiny or if our feelings are valid.

To paint a picture: we were the first to be seated, but the last to be greeted and offered beverages; our server circled back not once but twice to repeat our desired appetizer and main order which lead to the observation of everyone around us getting their drinks and appetizers before our order was even officially submitted.

Martha watched our server take a full plate of food to another table, watched that guest shake his head no and indicate that wasn’t their food, and then watched the plate of appetizers journey from that table to ours; the sauce that should have accompanied the appetizer was absent until we were nearly done with said appetizer.

Our entrees arrived without the double order of Naan we requested (one for each of us please!) and while the server noted it’s absence twice, it still didn’t get to the table until we were both nearly done with our meals – slowing down only in hopes of getting the Naan in time to swipe up our respective sauces and last few bites. And when it did hit the table? It was one order – not two – and although the server offered a quiet “on the house” for the evening of delays – ultimately, the Naan was still on the ticket when we paid.

We’ve spent the last few days trying to figure out if the food redeems the service or does the service drag down the experience? We oddly even feel a little guilty even putting out in the universe that our service was so … meh. More than meh. But because we like to think we’re pretty kind and compassionate foodies, we’ve landed on the assumption that our server simply didn’t have his best moments on this particular evening. In the end, we were relieved that, at least, everything that hit our table (whenever it hit our table) was good enough to save the experience.

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Cucumber Martini – $6 | Infusion Vanilla Bean – $4.50

For our evening’s beverages, my Infusion Vanilla Bean was nothing out of the ordinary, but Martha ordered a cucumber martini. To her, it went down smooth. To me, it did not … so good thing it was hers.

Joining the drinks, a hot, yummy plate of the Mixed Appetizer hit our table. Serving two, Martha and I shared Samosas, Papadum, Vegetable Pakoras and Chicken Pakoras.

Everything was hot and delicious – which made up for the aforementioned delay. We weren’t quite sure what the Papadum was (it’s a crispy lentil wafer), but we enjoyed the crunch and sort of used it as a palate cleanser between hot bites of everything else.

When we did receive the mint chutney, we loved the light, cool and creamy notes. More so, we would have loved having it from the very first bite. We kept it for the rest of the meal just in case there was something else with which we could enjoy it.

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Samosas, Papadum, Vegetable Pakoras and Chicken Pakoras | $9

Martha’s main course was the Goa Chicken – boneless pieces of chicken cooked in a spicy coconut milk and cashew-based sauce. Everything was right and palate-pleasing about the dish. It was perfectly warm when it hit the table and Martha loved the wonderful dance of spicy notes with the sweet coconut and cashew flavors. She wanted to slow down and share more but it was too good. And once the Naan hit our table, it was nearly impossible for her to not mop up the remaining sauce.

Sad that I hadn’t ordered the same delicious meal as Martha, I still enjoyed my Chicken Korma – chicken simmered in a creamy curry sauce. A frequent eater of Korma-based sauces, I could easily taste the coriander and cumin spices and altogether enjoyed my meal.

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Goa Chicken – $14.95 | Chicken Korma – $14.95

We wanted to order their rice pudding for dessert. But when we noticed we were already 2 hours into this meal, we decided it was time to move on. So we walked to Ted & Wally’s instead – each enjoying a few scoops of ice cream.

With the service as a fork down and food as a fork up, the overall experience gets a fork sideways from the both of us. Because we believe in second chances and the redeeming quality of the food, we’d be willing to let Himalayas try again.

Cheers!
Martha & Jaclyn

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