A few weeks ago I had supper at this joint in Renton in the realm of Valley Medical Center and the region’s “tourist attraction,” IKEA. In my experience, many Nepalese or “Himalayan” joints tend to cater to the gringo-friendly Indian buffet items and hold out just a short list of Nepalese items. Himalayan Cafe is different, its menu featuring at least 20 dishes that are distinctive. We had plate of momo (stuffed steamed dumplings) that was somewhat better than past versions, with an excellent tomato chutney. Dal Bhat Tarkari is an assortment of salads with two veg and one meat curry - we selected Khasi Ko Masu, goat. I was surprised by the vibrancy and heat of the spicing in each of the curries, since we did not ask for that specifically; the potato salad (Alo Ko Achar) with Sichuan pepper and sesame was very interesting, Most surprising was the “Nepali-style Chicken Chow Mein”, which we ordered for our kids. It was too spicy and interesting to have much appeal to them, but the adults devoured it.
One notices the touch of excellence in the better-than-needed decor, the table sauce, the tiny anise candies mixed into the mukhwas at the front. The service was very good - when I inquired about the Nepalese rum on display the server gave me a snort, gratis.
Now I sit and think about a comparison with Annapurna Cafe in Capitol Hill. Comparing the menus, it appears Himalayan Cafe has a greater selection of Nepalese dishes, while I find the Annapurna atmosphere and especially the location more appealing.