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Gossiping Gourmet: High dining at the Himalayan

November 29, 2012|By Elle Harrow and Terry Markowitz
  • Baingan bharta and samosas are offered at Himalayan Grill at Peter's Landing Marina.
Baingan bharta and samosas are offered at Himalayan Grill… (KENT TREPTOW, HB…)

There is a charming little restaurant in Peter's Landing that draws us back with its unique blend of Tibetan and Indian cuisine. Last time we visited the Himalayan Grill, we focused more on the Tibetan food, so this time we went Indian.

As we perused the menu, once again we found ourselves relaxing into the cozy atmosphere filled with warm colors, murmuring sounds from the attractive glass waterfall and the subtle chanting of Tibetan monks from the audio system. Prayer flags strung from the rafters and photographs of Himalayan life complete the décor.

In the classic Indian manner, our appetite was immediately whetted by the arrival of a basket of crispy papadums (thin, big, round, spicy crackers, usually made from lentil or chickpea flour), served with a trio of condiments: sweet, slightly spicy mango chutney, pickled vegetables, and our favorite, the spicier bright-green cilantro mint chutney.

We particularly like their version of samosas (spicy mashed potatoes, onions and peas in a deep-fried pastry crust). We zipped through them in a flash. These large triangular pastries are often greasy, but not so here. We love them with the condiments, so don't let them take the tray away.

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Although we wanted to stick with Indian food this time, we simply couldn't resist ordering a plate of momos (chicken meatball dumplings), a traditional delicacy in Nepal and Tibet and also a popular street food. They look like Chinese dumplings but are much spicier and meatier. These juicy packages of flavor are served with an interesting sauce based on tomato, sesame seed paste and chili and are delicious both with and without it.

Chicken tikka masala is Himalayan Grill's most popular dish. Legend has it that in India, one obstinate colonial Englishman demanded gravy on his tandoori chicken because he said it was too dry. A bemused chef responded by adding a pinch of spices to a tin of Campbell's tomato soup, unwittingly participating in an early example of fusion cookery, and Chicken tikka masala was born.

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