Union Sq. Donuts/Himalayan Kitchen: Union Sq., Somerville


#1

Had to hoof up to the Market Basket yesterday around five, and then made the circuit of Union Sq. just to check in on some old spots. (Side note: Reliable Market sure has expanded their sake & beer selections, and I gave the once over to the new hot food setup in the back though it didn’t look hugely enticing. Also noticed Bronwyn, which I had forgotten about–I know they don’t do lunch except Saturday, but I might scope that out sometime).

After walking around a bit, I realized I was getting hungry. With all the recs I had received in my earlier thread and my prior experience rattling around in my head (was really tempted by Buk Kyung!), I did what any self respecting food dork would do–go to two places no one had even brought up. First was Union Sq. Donuts, which I had also forgotten about but that beckoned me in on reputation. Got a Belgian dark chocolate donut, which of course was overpriced at three bucks and change but was pretty darn good. I’m mostly more of a cake donut than yeasted donut guy, but the thing was really light and airy, and what I mostly dug was its low level of sweetness. The product is a little high in price point for this to be a regular stop for me (I confess that I think a Lyndell’s yeasted donut at a third of the price is more my style, not totally being an all-in on dessert kind of person), but it’s sure not a bad bakery item.

Walked another half block and found myself staring at the Nepali menu at Himalayan Kitchen, which has a bunch of interesting stuff on it that is fairly uncommon. Figured what the heck, and popped in for a vegetable and egg chatamari. This turned out to be fine foodwise, but in time spent, not so much. The item itself was nice when it came out–a crispy rice flour pancake topped with peppers, onions and an egg with a tasty sauce with black eyed peas in it on the side. The satisfying nature of this offering was an indication that I’d like to try more stuff here from this menu. But here’s the rub: getting this pancake to me took, well, 25 minutes! It sure shouldn’t take that kind of time to get out a pancake to customer waiting in their tiny seating area with only one other table of customers. It didn’t seem to be just an issue with me, though–a driver who I assume was from one of the myriad food delivery services came in for a pickup and was told it’d be twenty minutes until their stuff was ready.

I plan on going back again to try more things on this menu (am especially intrigued by the bhuton–goat organs or chicken gizzards sautéed with onions & herbs and the sukuti, a homemade buffalo jerky dish) but I sure do hope next time that stuff comes out a little quicker. I’ll let you know.


#2

To be fair, I have been mentioning BBQ International, now the Himalayan Kitchen, pretty regularly. Haven’t tried all the new Nepalese menu items yet, but the ones we have tried have been good. Never had to wait a long time for food there however. Wonder what the problem was?


#3

You jogged a nice travel memory for me…we went to Nepal a few years back and our food in restaurants always took a while to get to us, which we didn’t care about since we were on vacation. But at one joint, the cheerful guy waiting on us said, “you’re on Kathmandu time now!” That sentiment has stuck with me ever since.


(Peter Sward) #4

I have also blogged about BBQ International, now Himalayan kitchen since the original owner left. never waited long for my Indian dishes, but haven’t tried the Nepali side of the menu.


#5

haha, i just meant in my recent begging for suggestions thread! I know you posted about it a long time ago here & it’s also been Daily Lunched. I’m sure I got the idea from one of you guys!


#6

@passing_thru. The reason that I didn’t mention the Himalayan Kitchen in this thread is that I find their lunches to be sub-par compared to dinner time. In fact, we have spoken with the owner about this and have stopped ordering anything from them mid-day. Didn’t want to give you bad advice.


#7

huh, that’s kind of weird and I totally appreciate your not trying to steer me wrong. I’ll sure take that under advisement for when I go back–that’s really good to know, because I def. plan on trying some more of that Nepali menu.


#8

To clarify, I haven’t had the Nepalese part of the menu at lunch. I am a little gun shy. The woman who cooks the Nepalese stuff is absolutely charming and so very excited about bringing her food to more people.


#9

I went back again last night and she was there. I ordered the egg and meat bara, and she offered me soup while I waited. This turned out to be…cream of broccoli? That was a little weird, but in any case it was a nice gesture.

The bara was nice, a crispy lentil pancake with the egg and meat inside, lightly spiced. It was maybe a bit salty, but I liked the fry job and the flavor. She did come over at the end and ask me how I liked it and talked a bit about Nepali food and how it tends to be less aggressively spiced than a lot of the food from that area of the world. I told her I’d be back, I’d like to work my way through all of these menu items


#10

oh, also my food came straight out last night. so I guess that the pancake took so long the time before was an aberration.


#11

Interesting. Usually the “complementary” soup is a yogurt, pea and mint soup and it is delicious with just a hint of spicy heat. If it was on the menu, I would buy it by the quart.


#12

I wish I had gotten that!


#13

I’m still working my way through these myself. Went again last night (I’m now already recognized as a repeat Nepali food ordering guy by the nice woman in the kitchen) and had what I think was my fave so far–the goat sekuwa. It’s a very simple dish, goat marinated with spices and yogurt and then charbroiled. Comes on top of a basic but good rice pilaf and with a really interesting tomato based sauce on the side. (There’s also some bad iceberg lettuce-winter supermarket tomato-giant cucumber salad).

The goat was succulent and cooked just right–juicy inside, and the gamy meat topped with the tomatoey-garlic sauce on top of the soft rice was fantastic. Really liked this one.

Still have a handful of items left to try in this section of the menu. Maybe I can get through most of them by the end of the month!


#14

Fantastic reports.
[Though I thought it was noodle month, not goat, your reports on what you eat have me (and, I suspect, many others) avidly following your every bite.]


#15

haha, I hope people are enjoying these updates and not getting really, really tired of them. and my tastes are catholic! I can maintain both noodle and goat fascinations during the same month. (also bourbon).

I’m starting to suspect that January may need to be Leafy Green Vegetable Month, though, I’ll admit.


#16

Please do sow your wild goats, as you please.

Next month you can sow wild oats (or wild kale).


#17

the beef sekuwa is equally good