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$20 Dinner

Elmhurst’s Taste of Himalaya Is Absolutely Delicious

Prepare yourself for a Nepali, Tibetan, and Indo-Chinese feast.

A variety of dishes on a round metal plate and a smaller plate with stir-fried okra, both set on a wooden table.

Sukuti thali, $15.99, with okra pepper salt, $9.99. (Scott Lynch)

Tsering Yamzzom started out in the babysitting business when she first arrived in New York City from her native Nepal about seven years ago. It was fine, she said, but then two close friends from back home—Thenleg Chaodan, who grew up in Tibet, and Tsering Lhagyal, whose family is Indo-Chinese—joined her in the city. The three became roommates in Jackson Heights, cooking for each other at night, and eventually, they concocted a scheme to open a restaurant together.  

"Back home in Nepali India, my parents had a tiny restaurant," Yamzzom told Hell Gate. "So I grew up watching them cook, and now I love to cook. And I really love to eat." 

Me too. Which is why I'm delighted to tell you now that not only is the trio's restaurant Taste of Himalaya a really fun idea—each of the three chef-owners handles their own regional specialties—but most important, the food is absolutely delicious.    

Bring a crew, because Taste of Himalaya is the sort of place where you can order a bunch of stuff from all over the menu and still come in at about the $20 per person mark, though you'll be tempted to go over and bring home leftovers. 

Everything I ate here on one of our many recent subtropical evenings was excellent—nothing hits the table flat; it all sings—but my favorite dishes were probably the most offal-y. The gyuma, a Tibetan sausage made from yak or sheep's blood, according to the menu, was superb, the mineral funk balanced nicely by roasted sweet onions and peppers. 

Gyuma, a sausage made with yak or sheep's blood, $12.99. (Scott Lynch)

And the Nepali goat bhuttan was even better, arriving as a pile of chopped-up goat tripe and "other digestive parts," including small squares of some lovely liver, well-seasoned and stir-fried with a lot of garlic.   

As Caroline Shin noted in Eater, one of Taste of Himalaya's most popular items is their okra pepper salt dish, and understandably so. The okra has a slightly crisp shell but is sautéed to a pleasant softness inside, and there's enough chili oil for the dish to qualify as fiery. Also quite spicy are the wedges of chili potatoes, described as Indian-Chinese and drizzled with honey.  

Okra pepper salt, $9.99. (Scott Lynch)

There are momos, of course, in a half-dozen or so varieties, and they are plump and dense with a thicker skin than most. I got the ones stuffed with alu cheese, which is sometimes called potato cheese, and they really hit the spot. These are served with a crock of terrific housemade chutney, and you should dump that stuff on with abandon.  

Alu cheese momo, $8.99. (Scott Lynch)

For a festive, shareable centerpiece for your table, get one of the thali platters, which in my case came with sukuti, or air-dried beef, in a tomato-based sauce, as well as some good dal, a mound of rice, and a bunch of different pickled vegetables and chutneys, a few of which were startlingly bitter. 

There's so much more, too—several versions of the Tibetan noodle soup thukpa, Nepali standouts like chatbat (puffed rice, dried instant noodles, chickpeas); and loads more Indo-Chinese dishes, such as hakka noodles and sweet corn soup with chicken.   

Crispy chili potato, $9.99. (Scott Lynch)

Note that your server brings over a trio of sauces in some handsome blue pots when you first sit down, and all three, but especially the zingy chutney, are worth exploring. For beverages, there are sodas, mango lassi, chai, and a lovely cup of Tibetan butter tea. 

Taste of Himalaya is located on a somewhat grim stretch of Broadway in Elmhurst, about a block away from the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue subway station and the adjacent bus terminal. So it's convenient to get to, which is awesome, but it's also an area that people typically hurry through to get to somewhere else, rather than stroll around looking for a place to eat.   

Don't let that dissuade you! Once you pass through Taste of Himayala's auto parts supplier-looking exterior, it's remarkably chill and comfortable inside. The team spent six months transforming the space, so settle into your high-back chair, enjoy a moment of serenity (really, I can't believe how quiet it is in here, given the honking hordes right outside on Broadway), gaze at the big screen playing a slideshow of generic nature vistas, and get ready for a feast, because feast you shall.  

(Scott Lynch)

Taste of Himalaya is located at 75-16 Broadway, between 75th and 76th Streets in Elmhurst, Queens, and is currently open on Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.    

(Scott Lynch)
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