Taste of Himalayas

Kane County, Illinois

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Nepalese restaurants are sprouting up all over the Chicagoland area; not two years ago there was only one but now, at the end of 2009, there are probably five or six. Taste of Himalayas takes the gutsy move of opening up in the far western suburbs where pub-bistro food is more the norm.

I came here and was pleased to see clearly labeled Nepalese dishes (too often do Nepalese restaurants shirk on their native offerings and instead just make generic North Indian food which is similar, but not the same). That said, they don't label their vegan dishes, so make sure to ask questions, and some of the dishes contain yogurt.

I had a "palungo ko saag" (spinach and tomatoes with spices) ($10), an "aloo tama bodi" (potatoes, blackeyed peas and bamboo shoots)($10) and a tandoori roti ($2).

The aloo tama was extremely spicy (more than I was looking for) but fell flat in terms of taste. The tomato base of the sauce and the starchy textures of the beans and potatoes gave this dish a mushy feel, and over-spiced at that.

The palungo dish was wonderful, though. The spinach comes lightly cooked and shredded, giving it an unusual look. The tomatoes were also only lightly cooked and diced, retaining a fresh look and feel. And something about the spices gave this dish a wonderful flavor that was akin to a really great, light curry, but without the heaviness.

Lastly the tandoori roti was okay, but was white flour, which is a shame, as roti should usually be wholewheat.

They don't serve brown rice, which is also a shame.

The service was friendly and prompt and the decor is decent. Prices and portion sizes are reasonable.

I will definitely come back to try their other Nepalese dishes. I'm surprised they don't offer jackfruit curry, which is a Nepalese specialty. That said, the food here holds promise based on the spinach dish, if not the potato dish.

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