Have you ever gone to a restaurant that you found so incredibly dark that you wished you had brought a flashlight with you to read the menu? This is what I experienced upon entering Himalayan Kitchen, because with the sun shining into the windows, everything appeared to be in shadows: this was the only major dissatisfaction I experienced.
When I was able to glance around, I noticed that Himalayan Kitchen renders a modern but warm setting with comfortable seating and tasteful décor, refreshingly enough it doesn’t have any TV or music in the dining room; as I have experienced in other ethnic restaurants in SLC. It was nice to hear the chatter of patrons while being surrounded by a helpful and enthusiastic staff.
We placed our trust in the server and asked him to weigh in on our entree decisions. After he counseled us on what we were after – a dish made with chicken and something traditional that he and his family would eat – the protein choice and dish selections were made and voila! We were consuming our dinner within minutes.
My guest and I started with the paneer pakora appetizer, homemade cheese that is battered and fried, served with two dipping sauces: cilantro-mint and tamarind. The sauces were excellent, but I agree with my guest – the dish was overall bland and boring. Next time I would go for a samosa appetizer instead to try something that would provide more flavors.
Our two curries arrived. One was a very traditional boneless lamb curry that highlighted garlic, ginger and tomato flavors. The second curry was chicken tikka masala, which had a more barbecued flavor. The server told us that the chicken was cooked in the traditional tandoor oven. After getting our curries, my guest and I could certainly tell which dish was the more “Americanized” – the chicken tikka masala, because it was made with cream. Nepali cuisine doesn’t use cream and typically when one eats meat and dairy it isn’t combined at the same meal or even during the same day. Therefore, if you are looking for a more traditional curry of Nepal, I would suggest that you go for the lamb curry.
The level of spiciness that we ordered was just right. Temperature wise – perfect. I could handle more heat, but I wanted to taste the food that I ordered, therefore I would say Himalayan Kitchen’s “scale” of spiciness was spot on. The downer? The rice was too hard and half of the naan was a bit burnt. The naan that was warm and fresh put a big smile on my guest’s face, because this is what she looks forward to at every Indian meal.
All in all, there are other restaurants in SLC that make similar dishes, but the truth of the matter remains that Himalayan Kitchen has an attentive waitstaff who pay attention to details, are personable, and the service alone knocks the competing restaurants in this category out of the ballpark. We’d rather enjoy the conversation that the servers and other staff members had with us than go to any of those other restaurants. In fact, as far as I am concerned, Himalayan Kitchen should get an award for the best service. For example, what other restaurant have you experienced where the waitstaff could guess what industry you work in and then have something pleasant to relate back to his own life about what you do for a living? Even though we definitely felt catered to and watched out for, my guest was not sure about their recommendations and I was overwhelmed by their menu size. Yet, I did appreciate their input and the information about the dishes’ authenticity.
Rating – I would be willing to return, when I wanted to be waited on hand and foot.