I have been noticing a growing trend in restaurant business lately. There are a lot of restaurants and eateries coming up with fast food version of their original restaurants. Restaurants like Big Bowl, Tucci Benucci have already opened many locations inside grocery stores that serves the same food but in a counter-serve style. And there is yet another contender in town that I am really excited about. One of my all time favorite restaurants here in Minneapolis, Himalayan Restaurant just opened their counter-serve version in Dinkytown. And for ease they are calling it Himalayan Dinkytown.
Ananta and I went to the Dinkytown location the other day. Unlike their flagship restaurant in Lake Street, which is a proper sit down restaurant, this is more of a “order at the counter” place. You can either order a bowl or order a roll. They call it “Roll It or Bowl It”. I went for the bowl option because I wanted the Chicken Tikka Masala. Curry in a roll didn’t sound like a wise option especially when you are wearing white. I also got yellow rice along with all the toppings minus the raw onions. Ananta went for the bowl too. He got Lamb Chhwayla with yellow rice and all toppings plus tomato sauce. And for any Nepalese reading this, tomato sauce they have here is “golbeda ko achar”. I know …yum! Both the main items as expected were really good but we were pleasantly surprised as to how good lamb chhwayla was. Lamb Chhwayla was made to order and while we waited, we could tell by the smell that it was going to taste very authentic. There is a unique step in many Nepalese cooking that involves smoking mustard oil usually with a bit of turmeric powder and depending on the dish either it is some seeds like Fenugreek, Sesame or dry red chilies. The smoked oil is then poured over food and mixed. This creates a very unique taste. And the chef did exactly that! We could tell by the smell of the smoked oil. You might not like the smell but I guarantee you will like the taste!
Along with two mains we ordered, there is also a vegetarian options (Chana Masala and/or Palak Paneer). They also provide a selection of sauces so you can spice it up according to your taste. Along with the roll and bowl options Himalayan Dinkytown also offers some house specials and appetizers namely the famous steamed dumpling —> Momos, Samosas, Pyazis and an unusual item Falafel. I noticed that they included some Mediterranean items as well. Tabouli, Hummus and Pita and of course Falafel as I mentioned before. I am not sure why they decided to add few of these one off items on the menu but I am not complaining. I love Tabouli and Hummus! As a matter of fact, I might add some Hummus on my rice bowl next time. I am pretty sure it will be a good blend.
Overall I loved this place. It is very centrally located and in the heart of Dinkytown. The prices are reasonable and whats better, they don’t use GMO or MSG and I can attest, they do taste authentic. I do however propose the chefs and owners to add spinach (hariyo saag) to the rice bowls to give customers the authentic “masu-bhat” with “hariyo saag and golbeda ko achar” experience. Service is okay, not the greatest. They were a little slow. That’s it. I am pretty sure that is because everyone is fairly new and still learning how everything works. Give them few months and I am pretty sure they won’t leave a space for complain or comment. Either way I am not complaining! I left feeling happy and content.