72-20 Roosevelt Avenue
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
(718) 779-1119

Of all of the great things about living in a global city, access to cuisines from every corner of said globe has to be one of them. Nepali food is probably not the first thing you'd think of when your friends call hankering for dinner. In fact, if they're like some of the people that I know, the only thing they're ever in the mood for is either Italian or Mexican. I call these people boring. Therefore, I was very pleased when Seth displayed an unexpected eagerness when I suggested grabbing the F train to Jackson Heights to try out Himalayan Yak.

This particular night it was frigid out. Ten degrees if we were lucky and easily arctic-esque with the wind. Thank goodness that Himalayan Yak's front door is only about two blocks from the Roosevelt Avenue subway hub. The interior of Himalayan Yak is a simple one. No frills chairs and tables. Some Nepali art. A television running a documentary on life in the Himalayas plays silently by the door (nothing about Yetis). Traditional might be a good way to think about the interior design. There was nothing crazy or artsy about its decor, in contrast to KyoChon, and there was nothing artsy about the way that the food was displayed on the plate, in contrast to Aja. Himalayan Yak isn't the cool trendy place you're going to go to if you're trying to impress that FIT girl you've been flirting with. Himalayan Yak is where you'd go when you want to try something different. Oddly, "different" didn't include yak, which we looked for on the menu, but couldn't find. We'd have to make do.

My meal started with Chasa Kho-wa, a chicken corn soup. I needed soup. It was too cold outside not to be ingesting hot liquid to thaw me out. The soup was pretty good. I was initially disappointed because it felt thin. But a few spoonfuls in, I learned that there was a lot of flavor packed into that bowl. If Himalayan Yak had a flaw, it was their timing. Virtually everything came at once, except for Seth's main course, which arrived very late in the game. We were sharing everything, so no big deal, but we had started to wonder if it was forgotten.

Seth's appetizer was the Sandeko Bandel, strips of wild boar (looking like thick bacon) with a lemon dressing. Neither of us cared for this very much. The boar was far too fatty and there was a strip of skin on the outer side which was about as tough as a leather belt. It was impossible to bite through and none-too-appetizing once you did. We don't recommend this. My appetizer was, interestingly, the exact opposite. While we both thought we'd like the boar, but did not, we both expected to hate what I ordered, only to find ourselves pleasantly surprised. I ordered the Bhutan, goat intestines and livers and other random organs ground up and stir fried with spices. It was actually pretty damn good. Especially with the green tomato sauce they have handy. I never thought I'd be wiping clean a plate of goat entrails, but hey, goes to show. Never say never.

Sticking with the things I couldn't normally find elsewhere, I ordered the Gyuma. Gyuma is a Nepali blood sausage made with ground beef and spices and, well, a hearty filling of blood. It's pictured above and, as you can see, if it sounds gross, it's even less appetizing to look at. But again, looks aren't everything. Sometimes personality counts, too. And this was surprisingly tasty as well. Not fantastic, but pretty good, especially, again, with the green apple sauce or their hot sauce. But the Gyuma is very heavy. I put away about four or five of the slices before I just about exploded. Seth had two or three. Seth chose a safer route, ordering the Shagok Ngopa with Beef. It's a beef and vegetable stir-fry in a sweet garlic-ginger sauce, served with a Nepali style steamed bun. We concurred about the taste. It was not bad, but it was generic. It was the kind of dish you might see being ordered as takeout somewhere. The steamed bun had a white rice blandness to it. It's a vehicle for mopping up sauce, not something to be eaten on its own.

Nepali food is like a cross between Chinese and Indian (in fact, Himalayan Yak has an Indian menu), so if you or your friends want to try something different, but somewhere that you know has a few safe dishes, that has a menu with prices that are easy on the wallet, Himalayan Yak should be on your short list.

1 soup, 2 appetizers, 2 entrees, and 2 beers came to about $43 plus tax, plus tip.

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