Himalayan Heritage, Adams Morgan

Have you ever been to a restaurant where the prices are so downright reasonable, and the staff so pleasant, that you left feeling guilty because you didn’t pay enough? That’s exactly what happened to me at Himalayan Heritage.

For the first time, I had dinner at the bar here, and the service was just as engaging as it is at the tables.  The service here is consistently friendly, and it made me happy to see that the restaurant was busy on this evening (on previous visits, it had been fairly empty).

I ordered a Kingfisher, figuring it would be $5 or $6, or whatever a moderately upscale beer goes for in Adams Morgan these days, and took a look at the menu. I’ve ordered a la carte here in the past, but the Himalayan Special Set Meals caught my eye this time around.

Tempted to go vegetarian, I was instead lured by the goat, so went with the Muglin Thali ($21.95) which included Samaya Baji, Kukhura ko Masu, Palaak Paneer, Mas ko Daal, Rice, Naan, Rice Pudding, Tea, and if you can believe it, any 12-ounce beer of your choice (or soft drink, or glass of wine). That Kingfisher I just ordered was part of the deal.

Samaya Bali is a fascinating dish that I’ve only ever seen in this restaurant. It’s hard to describe because there’s nothing quite like it – beaten rice (each grain is hard and flat) with roasted meat, smoked fish (!), boiled-then-fried egg (pretty much a Scotch Egg), soybeans, and diced ginger, the menu says it’s a customary food in Newari culture (which drove me to Wikipedia). This is only $6.95 a la carte, and is one thing you shouldn’t miss here because it’s just so different than anything else you’ve ever thought of trying.

Kukhura ko Masu is goat curry, bone-in, sauteed in ginger and garlic, marinated in Himalayan spices (I’m not quite sure what these are, but they’re nothing dramatic), and cooked in a tomato and onion sauce. It was better than the Palaak Paneer which was a pretty ordinary rendition – likewise the Naan which was freshly baked but just average. The Mas ko Daal is similar to what you’ll find in North Indian restaurants: black lentils cooked in onion and tomato sauce, finished with ginger and garlic. The rice pudding was a nice touch and very good, but I was starting to OD on rice – I finished dessert, enjoyed my little cup of tea, and took half of my food home.

I also started with a Vegetable Samosa ($4.25), house-made triangles with potatoes and peas. Though they sound ordinary, they are ample and quite good, and you’ll be happy if you order them.

Based on two previous visits, I’ve consistently had Himalayan Heritage listed behind Cashion’s Eat Place as the number two restaurant in Adams Morgan, and this dinner did nothing to change that. (Note: I’ve not yet been to Jack Rose.)

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