Reader Brendan let me know that a new restaurant named Himalayan Kitchen, serving Nepalese, Indian and Tibetan cuisine, has opened at 431 State Street, the former home of All India Café. The eatery offers a large vegetarian selection along with a variety of lamb, seafood, chicken and Yak dishes. Been craving Yak dumplings? Your dreams have come true.
I sat down with owner Karma Bhote who told me that he, along with partner and Executive Chef Karma Tenzing Bhotia operate the award winning Tibet Nepal House of Pasadena, and Himalayan Kitchen locations in both Santa Barbara and Durango, Colorado. Bhote is from the remote village of Chyamtang in Northeast Nepal near the Tibetan border.
Himalayan Kitchen offers a very large menu so I asked Bhote if he could recommend some specific dishes. From the Starters menu he suggested you try the Mo-mo. The most popular dish for Nepalese and Tibetans, momos (steamed dumplings) are filled with your choice of vegetable, chicken or lamb, and served with achaar.
From the Nepalese Daal Bhaat section of the menu Bhote recommends the combination plate Daal-Bhaat Tarkaari, a Nepalese traditional dish eaten by 90% of the population, which includes lentils, rice and curry.
From Chef Karma’s Specialties Bhote suggested you try the Mixed Grill Platter which is a feast of chicken breast, drumstick, and thigh, along with lamb and shrimp, seasoned with a variety of marinades overnight and then roasted in a tandoor. He also recommends the Kathmandu Sekuwa (chicken, mint, cilantro, ginger, garlic, and yogurt) and Sherpa Stew (chicken, lamb, vegetables, ginger, garlic, timboor and rice) which is popular in the high altitude regions.
The Vegetarian menu includes 22 dishes and Bhote highlighted Indian favorites including Saag Paneer (spinach, cheese, celery, mushroom, cilantro and jalapeño chili), Motor Paneer (peas, cheese, onion and fenugreek) and Paneer Masala (cheese, onion, tomato and fenugreek), both popular in India. A Nepalese favorite is the Vegetable Sekuwas (vegetable skewers marinated in yogurt sauce and roasted in a tandoor oven). Tse Phing is a Tibetan favorite featuring pan-fried mung bean noodles, sautéed with mushroom, cabbage, carrot, celery and onion.
I am told that Yak meat is new for Santa Barbara and Bhote mentioned Yakisha Thenthuk (authentic Tibtan Yak dish cooked with radish, potato, pasta, onion, celery, timboor, ginger, garlic amd chili) and Yaksha Mo-Mo (Tibetan steamed dumplings stuffed with ground Yak seasoned with onion, garlic, ginger, cilantro and served momo achaar).
Kheer is a traditional Nepalese dessert. Kheer is a South Asian rice pudding made by boiling rice, broken wheat, or vermicelli with milk and sugar; it is flavored with almonds, walnuts and raisins.
Bhote’s partner, Chef Karma Tenzing Bhotia, was born and raised in the remote Mt. Makalu region of northeast Nepal and has traveled extensively throughout the Himalayas. His travels helped him to learn the nuances of Himalayan cooking; a cuisine that utilizes black and white cardamon, jimbu, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, star anis, timboor, chili, turmeric, saffron, sesame and mustard seed. Bhotia spent several years as a chef in Austria, enabling him to combine the bold flavors from his homeland of Nepal with the subtleties of European cuisine. Karma uses his expertise in Himalayan and European cooking along with fresh herbs and spices to create unique flavors in every dish.
Gourmet lunch buffet is served daily 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and Happy Hours are from 3 – 5 p.m. The dinner menu is served Sunday – Thursday from 5 – 10 p.m. and from 5 – 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Himalayan Kitchen offers free delivery within 4 miles with a minimum order of $30. Catering is available. For more information call 882-1000 or visit himkitchen.com.
A FAMILY AFFAIR: Son Tenzing Bhote, along with husband and wife team Diki and Karma Bhote have opened a new State Street restaurant offering Himalayan cuisine.