Introducing a new feature here at World of Weasels. A
hopefully weekly column devoted to giving guidance of the best and worst restaurants in the western suburbs of Chicago. I hope to give you a brutally honest and unbiased opinion from the pickiest palate in the tri-state area to help you make your plans for the weekend. For my lovely readers who are not in the area, you too should enjoy these reviews, as they will be written with the signature WeaselMomma flare.
Yesterday Mr. Weasel suggested that we head out on a first venture to "Taste of Himalayas" located @ 110 North 3rd Street, St. Charles, IL. I managed to shock him by agreeing. Any of you whom have read *this* understand that my food intake is not very adventurous and I am extremely hard to please. As the name suggests they serve very authentic Indian and Depali cuisine.
Pulling into the parking lot, I started having second thoughts. The outside of the building resembled a mom and pop fast food joint. The scent of curry wafted strongly through the air. I almost chickened out. As we entered the building, the door was opened for us and we were greeted by a waiter wearing a fez. The tables were covered in fresh white linens and the decor was not at all what I had expected, nice surprise. None of the surroundings matched my expectations from the parking lot. A sign in the front window advertised a lunch buffet for $8.99.
The waiter came to take our drink order and suggested a 'Himalayan Long Island Iced Tea' when I asked if there was a signature traditional Indian offering. Mr. Weasel and I headed for the buffet to take a look and get started. I must admit that my sensitive palate and I almost wet our pants in fear. I have never before tried Indian Cuisine
I don't think boxed couscous from the supermarket counts. This was going to be an adventure. The Mr. on the other hand loves the stuff and has a love of good cuisine that borders on 'foodie'.
Our waiter quickly came running up behind us to give a tour of the buffet and the offerings and make suggestions. He pointed out the salad and the sauces and explained all of the hot dishes and what the best compliments for each item were in his best broken English. He could not help but notice the
panic trepidation on my face. He was very sweet and gave us both the Indian names and English translations of all the offerings. Mr. Weasel laughed out loud at the look on my face when our waiter pointed out the goat meat. I had to interrupt, "Did you just say goat meat?". Yes indeed, he did say goat meat. Khasi Ko Masu, bone in goat meat cooked with traditional village style spices and herbs. Good thing I was feeling adventurous. I filled my plate with a green salad and a touch of the yogurt dressing, a rice dish (that I forget the name of) and some batter dipped vegetables. Mr. Weasel was excited to try everything and thrilled to see some of his favorite dishes in the buffet.
We returned to the table and were brought some grilled, warm, pita like, and very yummy Tandoori Nan bread and a sizzling skillet of Tandoori Chicken and stir fried vegetables that were included with lunch. My drink arrived and resembled a Long Island Iced Tea. One sip told me otherwise. This was not like any drink I have ever had. It hit your tongue resembling southern sweet tea and finished like straight whiskey. Woooo, that baby was strong. Mr. Weasel tried a taste and commented "I didn't know that Long Island Ice tea is supposed to burn on the way down?" It came with a hefty and unexpected price tag of $12, but it easily had that much liquor in it. About 1/2 way through the drink it started going down much smoother, surprise!
I daintily worked my way through my plate and found the food to be not as alarming as I first feared. Mr. Weasel was enjoying all of the offerings and raving over the Chicken Curry. He shared a piece of his goat with me, and it was surprisingly good. Not enough to make me go chase down some more, but enough for me to admit that it was tasty. That was a pleasant surprise. If I can only get over a mental food block, the world would be my oyster
I don't eat them either.
Mr.Weasel was laughing and enjoying what a good sport I was being about trying new and exotic foods. I thought I was being very gracious and open to these new dishes, and for me I was. However the staff interpreted things much differently.
Noticing the way I carefully picked food from my plate, a waiter came to check that everything was okay. I gently explained that this was my first time and that I am very picky, but that Mr. Weasel was enjoying everything immensely. The Tandoori chicken was my favorite offering and went very well with the rice dish that was served.
Mr. Weasel and I decided to share a very large bottle of Hercules Beer (it filled two 10 oz. glasses) that we had spotted at another table and looked wonderful and tasted even better. I had never heard of it before, but it was something special.
Dessert at the buffet consisted of Gajar Halwa, which was translated as carrot cake but didn't resemble any cake I had ever seen. It had more of a pudding consistency and was very wonderful and extremely rich. It was served warm and was similar in flavor to carrot cake (now I understand the comparison). They also offered a chilled yogurt sauce over apple slices, both tasty and healthy.
Overall, the service was fantastic. Sweet, attentive without being overbearing. The food was good. Mr. Weasel loved it and I ~who am impossible to please when it comes to new and foreign foods ~ although limited my intake, enjoyed it as well.
They boast "A taste beyond the ordinary" and they deliver. We would both be willing to go back and try it again. Mr. Weasels gives it 3 1/2 stars, I'll give it 3. If you like Indian food, it's worth stopping for lunch.
Friday, February 6, 2009
Introducing a new feature here at World of Weasels. A