On the night that Himalayan Restaurant was opening in its third location, in Gurnee, my husband and I participated in the opening indirectly by dining at the Niles location. What we missed in Gurnee was the excitement and the long drive from where we live. The food, however, was the same and that was great. Our server, Rak Thapa, had been in Gurnee and reported that the opening had gone very well.
Even though Himalayan Restaurant has been in the Niles location since 2003, this was our first visit. Its location in a shopping center is deceiving as once inside it’s ambiance takes over. Before coming we looked at their website:www.HimalayanRestaurant.com and found it very helpful in helping us think about what we wanted to order. In addition, its description of the food and service matched our experience. Chef, co-owner, Sudir KC explained to us that he as a chef/owner has good quality control and more interest than an owner who is not also a chef.
We were there on a Monday evening and the restaurant was filled by the time we left. Their website description states: “The Nepali influence at the Himalayan reflects the Asian/Indian fusion style of food the restaurant offers. It offers an incredibly vast menu to customers, that is easy to decipher and helpful in terms of what the food is made of. The team does an incredible job of labeling the “hot factor” of the meal. What truly gives the Himalayan Restaurant an advantage is their offering of highly delectable vegetarian meals. They incorporate veggies, rice, breads and spices for an incredible vegetarian experience!” It would seem that an enthusiastic customer following has found these statements to be true.
We were greeted warmly when we entered the restaurant and received attentive service throughout our meal. Our server, Rak Thapa grew up in Nepal and we appreciated his suggestions and interesting comments on Nepalese food. The Nepalese food interested us most, since we have had more experience with Indian food and were curious about the food from Nepal, especially the vegetarian offerings. Geographically, Nepal is located between India and China and gastronomically, it reflects a blend of the two cuisines.
Portions were very generous and prices very reasonable.I was especially interested in the vegetarian dishes while my husband was interested in everything else. We experienced the flavors as somewhat more subtle and full ranging in contrast to Indian foods we have had elsewhere.
To help us get started we were presented with papdum, which was crispy and just delicious. It was a bit like potato chips in that I couldn’t stop eating it.
Looking at the menu we were impressed with its clarity, the photos and the range of foods offered. We began with the appetizers that were Nepali. These were the Vegetable and Chicken Momo. They looked like very pretty pot stickers. Again, we could not stop eating them. Our server commented that, in Nepal, they are eaten on their own all the time, and he also told ust his six-year old son had forty at a sitting. We could relate to this. They were that good.
From the vegetarian offerings, we had the Vegetable Assorted Appetizer. Each of the items were delectable, crispy, pleasantly flavored and fresh tasting.
My husband noted Tandoori Chicken and Prawns online, and wanted to try them. He was glad he did. He like the way the prawns trapped the smoky Tandoori flavor. He also tried the Lamb Tikka Masala and found it very tender and juicy and the sauce was mellow and the perfect compliment.
I loved the range of vegetarian items. These included Dal Makhani, Chana Masala, Aloo Gobi and rice. There was also Naan and Garlic Naan to accompany the other dishes. One bite followed another because the flavors were so pleasant, subtle, blended and again, fresh.
And we did not get away without dessert. How could we not try their very unique Falooda ? Delicious! How could we leave without the Galub Jamun? Lighter and more flavorful than others we have had.
And I almost forgot the Mango Lassi, a mango yogurt drink,that I just loved. But most spectacular was the Falooda. Even full, taste after taste was irresistable.
As you can imagine, we had some food left to take home. As we continued to enjoy, we realized why Himalayan is also such a popular carry out restaurant. While we were at dinner there seemed as many take-outs as eat-ins and the restaurant was full.
Even if you don’t usually find Indian food to your liking, you are sure to find some wonderful and unusual in the uniquie presentation of Indian and Nepalese food at Himalayan Restaurant.
Himalayan Restaurant, Indian & Nepali Cuisine
offers, “Everyday Lunch Buffet” in addition to dinner
in three locations.
The newest location:
3747 Grand Ave.
Gurnee, IL 60031
398 W. Army Trail Rd #116
Bloomingdale, IL 60108
8265 W. Golf Rd.
Niles, IL 60714
Photos: Leon Keer