Submitted by Hungry Z on Sun, 05/01/2011 - 10:51pm
The Himalayas or Himalaya for short, is a mountain range in Asia, separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau. Luckily you don’t have to scale Mt. Everest or K2 to get some good Indian food in Chicagoland. My short trip to Bloomingdale brought me to the Himalayan restaurant to try their lunch buffet and a couple of their dinner entrees.
I start with the buffet which according to owner Vivek Kunwar, is very mildly spiced to appeal to a larger audience. This was evident right away when my bright red Tandoori chicken was quite mild and unfortunately a little on the dry side. The vegetable samosa was my next bite and this woke up my palate with a savory blend of spicy potatoes and green peas deep fried in a crispy pastry shell. Khasi Ko Masu aka stewed goat had a mild spice but a nice creamy texture.Time to tear into some naan bread and scoop up some chicken Makhani. This mild and creamy chicken is best when eaten with the yummy Indian flatbread.
A break from the buffet is in order and it’s time to sample a couple of dishes off the menu. A great option when ordering off the menu is that you select how spicy you want your dish. Mild will be similar to the buffet, medium will tickle your tongue, hot will give you a nice zing, and they say super hot might make you cry. Since I like heat with flavor I opted for regular hot and decided not to be too macho today. The curried lamb had the perfect balance of heat and flavor! Soak it up with some intoxicating garlic naan and you are set! The lamb was tender and since it was a curry, it had a stew like quality that made it very comforting. Vegetarians and even vegans have options here so I decided that the Gobi Manchurian would be a nice vegetarian dish to try. Battered cauliflower, onion, and green pepper make a dish that would have made me eat more veggies as a kid.
Back to the buffet to try a little dessert before I leave. Gulab Jamun is my favorite of the dessert offerings since it reminds me of a donut hole. These golden fried balls are made from powdered milk and soaked in a sweet saffron syrup. Serve them up warm and you’ve got a winner.
The lunch crowd tends to be business people while the dinner crowd leans more toward families. The lunch buffet is $9.99 but if you really want the top notch stuff, order off the menu. They have a large selection of Indian beers available to help wash down your meal. Overall the Himalayan offers good value and a nice heat option to their dishes. Those with a bottomless stomach and short on cash should opt for the buffet while those with a more refined palate should opt for the entrees. Rating ***(good) out of *****.