Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday Restuarant Review

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.

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Melisa with one S said...

As the reader probably most likely to visit this place due to proximity, I have to say that when it comes to Indian cuisine, you might have to drag me there.

Melisa with one S said...

But that would mean you'd have to drink that big bottle of beer by yourself.

Michelle said...

Awww, yay to you for trying! I can't wait to hear your sushi review ;) You can try Kobe up by your new favorite grocery store... and Monday is half price sushi, Wednesday (I think) kids eat free on the tepanyaki, etc....

Was the rice briyani? That would make the most sense to me (and I make a ROCKIN' briyani).

So ummm is Melisa countering your recommendation by saying there are much better Indian places or just that she doesn't do Indian either? I'm so confused. When I realize that she's my twin, she MUST love Indian, right? Hmm....

Tom said...

Tandoori chicken: always a safe bet. Try the Lassi after dinner if you ever go; it's a yogurt drink but it goes down really smooth and makes a great finish to any meal. Great job on being adventurous!

Laura said...

Yay for trying!! We LOVE Indian, though I am much pickier (like you) & usually only eat my favorites, Hubby eats nearly everything (though he did spend half a year in Afghanistan & had to eat a lot of local foods w/ a lot of higher ups that he couldn't offend...I'm grateful he survived it w/out contracting some disease). I love the "butter chicken" (so do 3 of the 4 kids), though I ususally just eat it w/ the plain rice, & we all love the Na'an so that I have to buy it at the Commissary when it's on sale (pre-packaged, not quite ast good, but there are 4 packs in the freezer right now & the kids inhale it!) There's a dish w/ potatoes, peas & homemade cheese in some kind of sauce (sorry, I don't know the Indian names for all of these) that my friend Uma's mom made for us once & I enjoy it whenever I can find it. The batter dipped veggies are usually great (who doesn't like deep fried?). That's about it for my picky self, but every time we go for the lunch buffet, we eat so much that our dinner is extremely light if we even eat!
Desserts: FAVORITE, at our Indian place in Atlanta was cut up apples, bananas & grapes in a mango sauce--heaven!! The one in Louisville has homemade vanilla ice cream--you can just taste the rich real cream in it--fattening heaven!
Again, YAY for you being adventurous!! :) Maybe when we're up in May for our anniv. we could all go together!!

WeaselMomma said...

@ Milisa ~ It would make a great post!

@ Michelle ~ Do you mean JuRin? I believe Melisa was saying "I don't do Indian!"

@ Tom ~ Good tips! It was more laughter than my average lunch has.

@ Laura ~ This area has so much to offer! When you come in May we'll have 100 options.

NukeDad said...

Ugh. Anybody wanna split a Mylanta? I hate Indian food. Can you tell?

Am I seeing things, or did Tom suggest that you ingest a Collie? What if Timmy falls down another well? Or the barn catches on fire?

de-I said...

I love Indian food. I checked out the menu via your link and they have a number of things you don't find in a lot of Indian places. Yay for goat - I love it. Tell Mr. Weasel I will join him any time I'm in Chicago.

terri said...

I have never had Indian food, but might be willing to try after reading this review. I could sure use one of those iced teas right about now too1

Chris H said...

I don't even try Indian food... the only thing I like HOT is ... Stew! He's lovely! Hot spicy food is not.

Mama Smurf said...

You are a brave...brave woman!

The Microblogologist said...

I doubt they would have anything I would be willing to eat!

twinkaye said...

I have asked any person that lives in the Chicago area about this restaurant. It is in a suburb I believe. It has catacombs that go beneath the restaurant at least 5 floors. I went there ain about 1975. It was casual food.Hope you know of it or some of your reader, Kaye

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