Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Jewel of Himalaya Restaurant, Yorktown Heights

The first Nepali (Nepalese) restaurant in Upper Westchester

Tikka Masala, Biryani, and Vindaloo.  Introduced by some unwitting immigrant restaurateur in Britain, who knew not what he was doing, these are the three pillars of commercial Indian food in the West.  They enable enough business and provide for a roof over the restaurant.  And in a clever move, this is exactly what Jewel of Himalaya, the new Nepali restaurant in Yorktown has done—one that might ensure its survival while offering fare that is off beat and exciting.  Encrusted inside their jewel of a menu are these reassuring favorites—that a diner with “Indian” on his mind can order up, like some old song from a juke box.

But if you have any taste for good food, then I would ask you to look in-between these three pillars for this is where the Himalayan Jewel sparkles.  This is, as far as I know, the first Nepali restaurant in all of upper Westchester and they deserve a warm welcome.  Jettison the conventional dishes that you see. That would be a good start.

Nepal sits(rather uncomfortably) in between China and India and while the influence on its cuisine is decidedly Indian, the Tibetan and Chinese touch is unmistakable.  Start your order with the Thukpa—a hearty vegetable (and meat if you desire) noodle soup.  Move on to the Momos—steamed meat dumplings similar to what is called Shumai in Chinese restaurants.  Then end with a Nepali Thali as your main course. The first two dishes come from Tibet, while the thali is almost conventional Indian.   A thali is a full meal that comes with a bowl of rice, some meat, a  daal, a couple of curries, some pickle and a dessert.  Each item is placed in a small stainless steel bowl, and the constellation of bowls is placed on a stainless steel plate.  You can get Indian thalis in New York City.  Consuming them can at times be the equivalent of gargling with petroleum and then inserting a lit match into your mouth.  The Nepali thali avoids pyrotechnics, it is deliciously under spiced, and lets the flavors of the vegetables and the meats seep through.  You can have it with meat or in the vegetarian version—I would recommend going for the goat meat version, which the proprietor refers to as “mutton”, following the norm throughout South Asia.

This is a different South Asian restaurant that brings with it a fresh perspective.  The way the thali was cooked is the way home food would be cooked.  And if you are a noodle soup afficionado, give the Thukpa a try.  It is lesser known than Vietnamese Pho or Japanese Ramen, but is just as good.  This is a place not to be missed. 
Jewel Of Himalaya Restaurant on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. I had there lunch with my daughter today and what a pleasant surprise!
    We ordered from curries Beef Makhini and Shrimp Curry. The taste of sauces were very finely blended, cashew nut sauce was out of this world! Both of us really enjoyed both dishes. The place feels cozy with simple Nepalis decorations and Asian soft calming music on background. Staff was very friendly, patiently explaining what's behind exotic dish names. The place is spotless clean. I am looking forward to eat there again. It was very pleasant experience.
    P'S.: Whether owner is from Nepal, Tibet or any other country does not bother me. I went to eat there. And what they served me was excellent.
    I am wishing good luck to this place. We needed it in Yorktown.