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Best Pakistani/Northern Indian Houston 2008 - Himalaya

Himalaya

Himalaya

6652 Southwest Fwy

Houston, TX 77036

713-532-2837

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Encompassing Pakistani, North Indian and a bit of Southern Indian cuisine, Himalaya is a standout among the dozens of Indian restaurants that populate the area. However you describe it, the food is flavorful and satisfying. Presided over by the ever-present owner, Himalaya offers some of the best dishes from the Subcontinent you'll find anywhere in town. The chicken tikka masala is velvety and subtle, and the lamb shank curry is tender, spicy and downright life-changing. Everyone who walks through the doors seems to find a favorite that keeps them coming back for more.

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Alain G. Harvey
Alain G. Harvey

Proprietor's Abusive Tantrum Ruined Dining Experience

The food at Himalaya is average for Indian cuisine compared with other similar restaurants in the Houston area and overpriced for the quality. Leftover menu items prepared for lunch are served again for dinner, albeit much drier and less appealing for the wear. There is absolutely no ambience. The owner (chef Kaiser Lashkari) has his cluttered desk placed prominently within the dining area where employees take turns reclining in a chair while rubbing their eyes and faces.

Worse, the proprietor can be a real ass which was the case during our visit with several guests.

There is constant grinding chaos in this restaurant. Service is slow and inadequate. It was an effort obtaining basics such as silverware and napkins. Two of us never received requested glasses for our beer brought in deference to the restaurant’s BYOB policy.

Dealing with the proprietor was akin to haggling with a used car salesmen. The proprietor attempted to increase his profit margin by aggressively suggesting additional food items and by substituting complimentary naan bread which accompanies many of the entrees with garlic naan bread at an undisclosed additional cost. This and other costs were not shared with patrons until a careful examination of the meal’s bill revealed problems.

The final bill was not itemized consisting only of a confusing jumble of numbers and letters in place of food and drink items thereby making it impossible to determine how much each person owed for their portion of the meal.

The owner was reluctant to disclose how the bill was calculated. We ended by paying what the owner described as being due for each diner. However, it was apparent that the amounts quoted were far in excess of the actual cost of the food ordered by each person. Worse, an inexplicable “service charge” was added to each person’s bill which further inflating each diner’s final cost.

Unfortunately, our dining experience became substantially worse. While paying at the front counter, the owner unexpectedly began loudly screaming at one of our female guests who was in the process of paying for her meal. The owner claimed that she was insulting the waiter by her decision to tip only 15% rather than a 20% tip then demanded by the owner. The owner continued to angrily insist on a 20% tip per person in spite of there being only four individuals in our small party. According to the printed menu, only parties of 6 or more pay a mandatory 20% gratuity.

The woman attempted to calmly explain to the owner that her order was not correct, that she never received her complimentary naan bread after several requests, and several other small issues that contributed to her decision to tip (in my opinion based on the poor service a generous) 15%. The owner continued to shout angrily at the woman, preventing her from expressing her concerns. The owner directed so much abuse at the poor female patron in the open dining area that I was forced to intervene on behalf of our guest.

We discovered the next day that the owner had also surreptitiously added an extra $1 to our already 20% tip without disclosing his actions to us. He added the extra amount when processing our credit card at the counter. We discovered the discrepancy when we compared our receipt with the listed charge for our meal on our credit card statement.

Due to the extremely ugly abuse directed at our female guest by the owner (and our party in general) and the outright dishonesty pertaining to the bill, tip and credit card charge we will never return and recommend that others with any self-esteem consider dining elsewhere as well.

Better Indian food at reasonable prices accompanied by a more genial ambience can be found at too many other Indian establishments making it unnecessary to tolerate the abuse and dishonesty of the owner of this particular establishment. Give this restaurant a wide berth.

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