Himalaya in Houston
Indian & Pakistani Feasting
My friend Kristi and I tried Himalaya a couple years ago. We weren't overly impressed, mostly because we felt a little rushed at lunch.
Don and I arrived on a Thursday evening at 6:30. We parked in the strip mall lot and counted about 5 other options for Indian food. That was no surprise since we were in the Houston area, known as the Mahatma Gandhi district. I was feeling sort of at home in the area, since I'd recently spent 5 hours shopping at a number of Sari Shops across the street... for an Indian wedding. I should have dressed up for dinner!
Once Kristi and Jim arrived we headed inside. I wanted to wander and study the decorated walls, but the cozy space filled up too quickly. I wanted to ask about the Latin American art on the back wall.
I wanted to know if it was left over from the Columbian Restaurant that was once housed in the space. But I was too intimidated to wander and ask questions. Don and I had read a few reviews from diners who said the restaurant was unfriendly. I don't usually let whiney reviews sway me, but I also didn't want to risk ruining the evening with Kristi and Jim.
Wine and Menus
As soon as we were seated, a waiter arrived with menus, a corkscrew and plastic glasses. He'd seen our wine bottle and he was on top of it. It's nice going to a BYOB restaurant that doesn't charge a fee or make you stress over asking about policies.
The meun was packed with options. I noticed the Hunter's Beef Plate, that Kristi and I ordered last time. There was a Persian Kabob that sounded good. But the words, "Mild, Kid Friendly" made it sound like only wimps ordered that. There were lots of Bourdain approved dishes marked, with red thumbs. It seems we'd only looked for a moment before the waiter had returned to take our order. Oh dear. Are we being rushed?
We bought ourselves some decision time, by ordering veggie samosas. They arrived piping hot, with some sauces. Very yummy!
After a few bites of samosa, the chef and owner Kaiser Lashkari arrived to take our order. I'd recognized him (from TV) when we first walked in. He seemed terribly serious with his pen and pad, when he asked for my order. But I still hadn't decided. "You go first, Jim." I pleaded. I did not get reprimanded for being slow.
Then the food arrived and heavenly aromas hit our table. This photo poorly reveals our 4 entrees and 3 orders of nan bread. I had not planned on writing this up or I might have requested "hands off!" to get a better photo.
I took one more photo, but, hands were still grabbing. So I stopped snapping and grabbed for food myself.
My dish was the big one... a mountain of Chicken Biryani and Basmati rice! We also had Chicken Hara Masala, Dal Gosht with goat and Lamb Vindaloo. All were wonderful. The garlic nan and butter nan was amazing. Poor Kristi can't do cilantro, so she missed out on some of the bread.
Meeting the Owner
After we'd relaxed into our food, Mr. Lashkari stopped by the table.
I asked the question Don often dreads. "Would you mind being in a photo?" "Sure!" Lashakri boomed. "Let's do a selfie!" We gathered around the "star" and Jim used his long arm to snap a pic of our group. It's a little blurry, but it captures the happy moment!
Sometimes it takes a trip or two to know the ropes. I'm ready for a third trip to Himalaya. I hear there's a pretty flavorful Indo-Pakistani Chicken Fried Steak that might need some taste testing!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.