Even during the height of the governor’s stay-at-home order, a large percentage of Durango’s restaurants stayed open — at least enough to fulfill take-out orders. And, as everyone in the city’s tourism industry is fond of pointing out, while Durango has a greater density of restaurants per capita than San Francisco, it’s still got some gaps in its coverage when it comes to cuisine. (If anyone feels like opening a food truck specializing in gyros or shawarma, I will patronize you a frankly disgusting amount.)
We’ve got American, Chinese, Italian (and its subset, pizza), Mexican, and Thai food in spades. However, after cycling through it enough, to paraphrase the King of Pop, if you want to make your table a better place, take a look at your food and then make a change.
When we think of the Himalayan Kitchen, we mostly think of its lunch buffet — a feature that doesn’t quite translate into anything when every restaurant dining room in Colorado is closed. That’s probably why we didn’t think to order out from there until late April.
For our main entrée, we went with the Chicken Korma. When it comes to curry dishes, our personal protein preference is chicken because its flavor doesn’t get in the way of the sauce. And that was definitely true here. The korma was creamy and coconutty, with savory flavor coming from not just the chicken but the tomato and onion as well. Our favorite part of that particular dish, though, is the juicy little golden raisins lurking beneath the surface.
Korma, however, can be found all over the Indian subcontinent, and we had to get something truly Himalayan to review — after all “Himalayan” is in the name. And that’s why we got the Yaksha Mo-Mo. Yaksha Mo-Mo are steamed Tibetan dumplings, stuffed with ground yak and seasoned with cilantro, garlic, onion, and other spices, and served with chutney for dipping.
If you’re wondering where the restaurant’s yak comes from — a valid question given the fact that Lhasa is 7,650 miles away — the answer is Montrose. Apparently, there’s a farm up there that breeds them. Yaks are the highest-dwelling mammal in the world, chilling out mainly at altitudes above 18,000 feet (*cough*) and up to 23,600 feet (*gasps for air*). But we guess they can live all the way down here in lowly Western Colorado as well.
What does the meat taste like? American Bison, we think. It seems pretty lean, a bit darker, and maybe a bit sweeter? The meat in our dumplings was naturally very seasoned, so it’s not super easy to isolate the bovine flavor, but it was good. As far as exotic meats go, yak doesn’t stray that far from beef, so if you’re some sort of weirdo that thinks you can impress people by ordering somewhat unusual menu items, this is an easy one.
Finally, we threw some garlic naan in there. Flatbreads are the greatest invention humans ever developed and pair well with every cuisine on this planet. Think about it: Greek? Pita. Mesoamerican? Tortilla. Chinese? Bing. Icelandic? Flatkaka. Anyway, they’re great for sopping up sauces, like korma, and you can never have enough garlic unless you’re a vampire, obviously.