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Himalayan Heritage, Nepalese Indian in the old San Marco space in Adams Morgan, and a Second Location in Bethesda


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One thing you'll notice about Himalayan Heritage is that they're trying to be a restaurant and not a bar. That, in and of itself, is a big difference between it and many of its competitors, and a reason why this restaurant is going to have to fight tooth-and-nail to survive here.

It's an attractive, medium-sized, mom-and-pop style restaurant, with waitstaff - some of whom may be Nepalese - who probably have never worked in restaurants before. They are as green as can be, but the eagerness to please is there.

You're first presented with a wine list which is simply unacceptable. I fear that Himalayan Heritage is banking on people ordering wine with dinner, but they'll need to do a lot better than this, and for now, you're best off sticking with beer here. The friendly server brought out a complimentary plate of Bhatamas Sadeko (#3, $4.25), mild cold soybeans roasted in a strong-smelling ginger-garlic paste, with a little lemon juice and coriander.

Wanting to try something vegetarian, I ordered the Steamed Momo (#3, $9.25), which were steamed dumplings stuffed with a housemade hash of cabbage, carrots, and Nepalese spices, the whole thing served with a little hot chutney sauce. The filling of these dumplings was good and homey, but the dumplings themselves (probably purchased) were thick, starchy, and became cumbersome after awhile - for four people, this dish might work well, but I'd advise against getting it as carryout, and would consider getting it fried next time.

I heavily emphasized that I'd like to try Nepalese dishes - the type that someone from Nepal would order - and was steered to an excellent dish, the Sag Ko Tarkari (#11, $8.95). This was sauteed FRESH spinach sauteed with tomato, onion, garlic, and ginger. Himalayan Heritage advertised that they use 100% olive oil in their cooking which, I must say, sounded a little strange to me for this type of cuisine, but this dish was clean and it worked very well. Many, many examples of Indian Saag are made with frozen spinach, and this dish is a cut above and something I'd absolutely order again.

One of the most expensive things on the menu is the Himalayan Karahi ($17.95) a dish starting with pink-marinated, boneless chicken and lamb kabobs complete with skewer holes, sliced thin, and finished in an iron souk with peppers, onions, tomatoes, coriander leaves, capiscum (!), and a little red wine (!), and served on a metal plate. The flavors of this dish are primarily cumin, coriander, and salt, and while the meat was slightly dried out, it was an interesting and complex wok-fry. As I read this paragraph, I see that I'm making the dish sound a bit better than it actually was - $17.95 is a lot of money for two kabobs, and while I enjoyed it, I'd probably move on to something else next time.

I have a soft spot for restaurants such as Himalayan Heritage. If this were in a low-rent strip mall in the suburbs, I wouldn't worry about its long-term future, but competing for the Adams Morgan bar dollar, it may just have a tough time. While I wouldn't travel to Adams Morgan just to dine here again, I'd absolutely consider it if I lived in the neighborhood, and it would certainly be on my list for carryout as well.

When I returned to my car, there was a Himalayan Heritage brochure on my windshield wiper. They're trying, and I wish them well.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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I tried Himalayan Heritage for the second time last night, and I'm glad I did. This restaurant is run by friendly, attentive staff, and they feature several Nepalese dishes I haven't seen anywhere else.

Once again, I got a complimentary order of Bhatamas Sadeko (#3, $4.25), a cold, mildly spicy plate of roasted soybeans that went well with my Gin and Tonic (I drained the last of their Plymouth with this drink).

For my first course, an appetizer: Samaya Baji (#11, $5.95) was a fascinating composed plate of "beaten rice" (which has the consistency of dry, flat coconut), tempura-like catfish, a boiled-then-fried egg, roast pork, and a bit more of the Bhatamas Sadeko. This is all presented on the plate separately, and it's fun to nibble at the components, but then it's meant to ultimately be stirred together.

Then for the main, I combined a second appetizer, Kukhura ko Sekuwa (#12, $5.99), with an entree recommended by my server, Acharya Began (#4, $9.99). The former was a fairly standard kabob of chicken breast, and was really brought to life by the three excellent homemade chutneys aachars with which it was served, and also by the excellent Acharya Began, which is eggplant roasted in a clay oven, presented in a curry-like fashion. An order of Raita ($2.25) was too thin and watery, but an Herb Naan ($3.25) was a very good rendition.

As a whole, I'm fairly impressed by Himalayan Heritage, and for now, I've elevated it in the Dining Guide to just behind Cashion's Eat Place as the number two restaurant in Adams Morgan. That is at once saying a lot (there is a lot of competition) and not much at all (most of the competition isn't very good).

Cheers,

Rocks.

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I forgot to write about my trip here from a couple weeks ago, but my friends and I were all pleasantly surprised by this find in Adams Morgan. I was there WAY early for our reservation, and while I was sitting at the bar they brought out those spicy soy beans (we got more at the table too once we were seated).

Everyone at our table ordered the Muglin Thali, or non-vegetarian combination meal. For $18.95, this really is a good deal since it includes an appetizer, tastes of two entrees plus lentils, naan and rice, rice pudding for dessert, plus a glass of house wine and tea. Most entrees are between $10-14 or so, and if you're also getting something to drink, it's a good way to introduce yourself to the restaurant. Next time I will probably try something new, but I really enjoyed the thali.

Our app was the Samaya Baji than Rocks describes above. Of course no one told us until we were halfway through eating it that it was all supposed to be mixed together, so we were certainly the stupid Americans on that one :D. It was still very tasty though.

Mains included a smaller portion of Khukhura ko masu (Boneless chicken pieces stir fried in ginger and garlic, cooked in mild tomato sauce in nepali style) and Palak Paneer (Spinach cooked with cubes of cottage cheese delicately spiced and garnished with chopped ginger) along with Tarka Daal (Lentils cooked with mild spices touch with garlic). The chicken was by far the standout, but the spinach and lentils were nice for some variety. A generous portion of rice and naan were served alongside.

I'm not much of a fan of rice pudding, so I only took a few timid bites of mine, but I'm sure it is a nice end to the meal for some.

It's too bad I live across town from this place, cause if I was in the neighborhood I would certainly go back soon or order for delivery.

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Sadly the chutney that we ordered to accompany the butter chicken was not, as Don's was, house-made. "Imported from England" bragged the menu but it might have been from wherever they make Smucker's jams, for all the sweetness and monotony it added to the dish. And the Butter Chicken, dry and bland, needed something. The daal were watery and forgetable, as well. Some highlights: the pani puri were quite swell, and the momo were also tasty. Horded by the kids and so only vaguely tasted: samosas and and the cauliflower Gobi seemed pretty OK.

Service and room were wonderful and welcoming. I might go back. But, given the praise here and elsewhere, I had expected better.

Oh yeah -- those soybeans are indeed hot shit.

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Sadly the chutney that we ordered to accompany the butter chicken was not, as Don's was, house-made. "Imported from England" bragged the menu but it might have been from wherever they make Smucker's jams, for all the sweetness and monotony it added to the dish.

Sorry, I meant to say "aachars" not "chutneys."

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Back in late January, I really wanted to try this place, so I decided to head here at around 2:30pm, despite the fact that they close at 3:00pm for lunch. The staff was most gracious and accommodating to both the lateness of the hour AND to my garlic and onion sensitivity (in addition to the fact that I had a restaurant.com cert). I am thankful. The non-garlic and onion version of the Hans Bhutwa-Nepalese (Nepalese duck curry - $16.95) was simply outstanding. A hint of sweetness with the spice to the sauce had me sopping as much as I could with the accompanying order of naan (which is also really good here). I was also thankful for leftovers. I only wish it was closer, as New Foodie expressed as well.

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The samosas are served with the usual mint and tamarind sauces -- but somewhat thinner, more down-to-earth versions, maybe even exotic. The pastries themselves are high hats, the filling really a mash. An aachar of potato sitting in a fiery oil also comes with them, providing the spark that makes them worth ordering.

There is also something primitive about the Samaya Baji, which I have read is regarded as a ritual food in the Newari culture, even though there are aspects of it that make it seem more suitable for the lunch pail. As far as I know, this was my first encounter with beaten rice. Served here, what resemble coconut flakes but are actually parboiled grains of rice that are smashed and dried are not as tough as fish scales or as soft and dusty as oatmeal, and it is difficult to understand why they would be a popular staple in any part of the world. We were told that the rice is easy to transport in areas that are often remote and where there is often not much variety in in the available ingredients. In any event, it is impossible to reconstitute them into a more pliant texture even by stirring them into the other ingredients on the plate, which are dry, including a deep-fried boiled egg devoid of one drop of moisture. And the meat served with this was not just arid. It was tough as jerky, and not thin. Despite all this, the dish is engaging, delicious and fun to eat. Other than the aachars, it was the best thing we had all night.

In the Himalayan kothey, the momoes -- stuffed with ground chicken -- are steamed and then pan fried. The first one is good but filling, and your enthusiasm for them doesn't last long. The problem is -- and I didn't take a head count -- there are probably 10 or more of them on the plate, a case of wearing out your welcome through too much generosity.

The Khasi ko Masu had a deeply delicious brown curry gravy, but the knuckly pieces of goat clearly required more stewing. This animal derived too much of its sustenacne from tin cans, although a few tender morsels had fallen from the bone and pointed to how much better this might have been if given more time. We ordered a tomato-based aachar to go with it, which was more reserved than its predecessor, but also a small highlight of the night.

Garlic naan comes in a basket, creased in half, in spots brown as a pancake, glistening with what might be olive oil mistaken for butter. The bread is thin, crisp. The portion was more than ample, and we ate almost all of it.

Attached to our receipt was a coupon for $7 off a dinner of at least $45 before the end of the month. I don't really need that inducement to return. I am told this is the only Nepali restaurant in the city. Although the introduction wasn't entirely satisfactory, this place has whetted my appetite for more examples of this intriguing cuisine.

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Having to work late this week, I took advantage of Seamless Web services and ordered here, as they offered delivery to my workplace. My coworkers were very jealous compared to their Seamless Web choices, as the Lamb Korma and its Naan knocked the others' meals out of the ballpark. I wish I could watch the chef cook, as their combination of spices used is even better than most the Indian places in this area, imho. I just wish it was closer to home.

On the upside, their website states that they are opening a branch in Rockville soon, so perhaps this might be my regular stop after little man's Chinese School on Sundays.

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One thing you'll notice about Himalayan Heritage is that they're trying to be a restaurant and not a bar. That, in and of itself, is a big difference between it and many of its competitors, and a reason why this restaurant is going to have to fight tooth-and-nail to survive here.

It's an attractive, medium-sized, mom-and-pop style restaurant, with waitstaff - some of whom may be Nepalese - who probably have never worked in restaurants before. They are as green as can be, but the eagerness to please is there.

...

I have a soft spot for restaurants such as Himalayan Heritage. If this were in a low-rent strip mall in the suburbs, I wouldn't worry about its long-term future, but competing for the Adams Morgan bar dollar, it may just have a tough time. While I wouldn't travel to Adams Morgan just to dine here again, I'd absolutely consider it if I lived in the neighborhood, and it would certainly be on my list for carryout as well.

When I returned to my car, there was a Himalayan Heritage brochure on my windshield wiper. They're trying, and I wish them well.

It makes me happy to hear Himalayan Heritage is opening a second restaurant in Bethesda. I've been here perhaps three times, have had a really nice meal each time, and the thing I remember most about the restaurant (other than the unusual dried rice) is how friendly the staff has always been.

Maybe behind the gentle facade, they're a family of axe-murderers, but absent any specific information, it's satisfying to see nice people succeed. I felt the same way when the original Lebanese Taverna began expanding, way back when.

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My wife and 11 yo daughter tried out the new Bethesda location and were extremely pleased with the result. It is a very small space with maybe only 12 or so tables and a small bar. We were a little surprised when they asked if we had a reservation since there were on 4 people in the place but its was still early 6:15 or so.

We tried the following:

Chips Chilli - $7.75 Finger chips deep fried until golden brown,then stir-fried with garlic,onlion and capsicum

Kukhura ko Sekuwa (Barbeque Chicken) - $8.95 cubes of chicken breast marinated in mustard oil and Himalayan spices grilled in charcoal oven.

Khasi ko Masu (Goat Curry) - $17.95 Tender goat pieces with bone sauteed in ginger and garlic, marinated in Himalayan spices, cooked in mild tomato and onion sauce. Served with Basmati rice or naan.

Lamb Rogan Josh - $16.25 Traditional lamb curry cooked with chopped onions, tomatoes and fresh ground spices and yogurt.

Bread Basket - $7.95 Plain naan, garlic naan and tandoori roti. (enormous portion - probably enough for 6-8 people)

Not an expert nepalese and indian cuisine but we all enjoyed the meal very much, service was friendly and quick.

When we left the place was packed with quoted wait times of an hour so it appears to be doing well which is nice to see. The also offer delivery within a 2 mile radius (we are 2.2 miles away so hopefully we can convince them).

Look forward to working our way through some more of the menu.

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Had a nice if not exceptional meal here tonight. At 8:30 on a weeknight they were pretty quiet (only 3 other tables seated when we got there, all of which were gone by the time we finished), and yet they still asked if we had a reservation when we arrived. Odd.

We started with Himalayan Kothey (dumplings stuffed with ground chicken and Tibetan spices, wrapped in flour dough and then steamed before pan fried, served with hot chutney sauce). I can only hope by hot they meant warm (which it wasn't), because it also wasn't spicy at all. It was flavorful, however, which helped liven up the slightly bland though well fried - crisp but soft on top and not greasy - dumplings.

We then shared two of the three dishes from the Nepalese Specialties part of the menu: Khasi ko Masu (Goat Curry) Tender goat pieces with bone sauteed in ginger and garlic, marinated in Himalayan spices, cooked in mild tomato and onion sauce and Himalayan Karahi mixture of barbecue chicken and lamb cooked with tomatoes, capsicum and coriander leaves in medium spices with red wine tossed in an iron souk. The goat was the better of the two - reasonably meaty goat chunks in a tasty sauce. The Karahi, as pointed out above, was definitely too dry, though there was no more heat in the Karahi than there was in the Curry.

Service was excellent - waiter was friendly, helped us choose among the Nepalese dishes, and made sure to let us know that the dumplings were made to order, so getting them as an appetizer would delay the meal a bit. Total with 2 soft drinks, tax and tip was $70 (and enough leftovers for tomorrow's lunch).

Will definitely return to try some of the other Nepalese dishes, though will probably stay away from the typical Indian dishes with Passage to India just a couple of blocks away.

Side note: the Karahi was not even in the same ballpark as the stunning ones served at Kabob'n'Karahi up in northern Silver Spring. Thanks again to Dean for that find!

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