Last month, my mother saw an ad for the new A Taste of Himalaya restaurant in the Amador Ledger-Dispatch. This restaurant is in the Mother Lode Plaza shopping center on South Highway 49 where José’s Mexican Restaurant operated for many years. Once José’s owner retired, the restaurant became Taj, an Indian restaurant that didn’t survive the initial public health restrictions in spring 2020.

I haven’t had Indian food in years, and I don’t think my mother had ever eaten Indian food before. So, my mother and I decided to try A Taste of Himalaya for lunch on December 2 since they offer lunch specials every day. What’s more, they offer 10 percent off your first order. So, I ordered the Veggie Tikka Masala Lunch, and my mother ordered the Chana Masala Lunch. Both lunch specials include rice, naan flatbread, and salad.

A Taste of Himalaya has online ordering, so I ordered and only had one small hiccup that was remedied by submitting the completed form a second time. I gave them special instructions that we wanted our meals to have mild spices, I would be there around 1:30 p.m., and we didn’t need cutlery.

When I got to the front lobby, there were no other customers there and I noticed the lobby looked about the same as it did when José’s was in business. The cheerful employee at the front had our meals in plastic boxes in a plastic bag on the counter, so it took me less than 30 seconds to exit the building.

When we took everything out of the bag and opened our boxes, we found there were cups of soup instead of salad. The boxes of food didn’t include salad, either. A Taste of Himalaya offers two soups: chicken mushroom and Multani soup. Judging from the look and taste of the soup, it seemed to be Multani, which has chicken broth with creamed lentils and peas.

A Taste of Himalaya Multani soup

My Meal

I started with the soup that came in its own lidded container. The soup had the right amount of chicken flavor and though it wasn’t full of vegetables, it was tasty.

The plastic container with the Veggie Tikka Masala lunch had three compartments. The largest had chunks of vegetables in a tomato cream sauce atop a bed of white rice. One of the small compartments had more vegetables in the tomato cream sauce, and the other had even more mixed vegetables in a lighter sauce. The vegetables looked to be zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, and peas.

The tomato sauce with the vegetables and rice was quite good and mildly spiced. When I got to the compartment with vegetables in the lighter sauce, I couldn’t make out what the sauce was because the tomato sauce was dominant in my mouth.

Mom’s Meal

The Chana Marsala has garbanzo beans in an onion sauce over a bed of white rice within the plastic container’s main compartment. More garbanzo beans with onion sauce were in one small compartment, and mixed vegetables in a light sauce were in the other.

My mother’s meal had spices that were upfront starting with her first bite. She has a lower tolerance for spicy food, so even though she found her meal tasty, she could only eat about half of her lunch before she had to stop. Fortunately, the plastic container’s lid was sturdy, so she was able to secure the lid on top easily and enjoy the meal for lunch the next day.

A Taste of Himalaya Chana Masala Lunch

The Verdict

Our meals looked a lot alike and weren’t marked, and the sauces on both dishes were similar, so it took a little time for us to figure out which meal was which. My mother nearly had to go back to look at the menu, but we finally determined that the large round things on top of the bed of rice were garbanzo beans.

We both found the soup to be a good start to our lunch. The vegetables, sauces, and rice were hearty but didn’t weigh us down.

A few minutes after I started eating the vegetables with tomato sauce, I got a lot of spices in the aftertaste. The spices almost overwhelmed everything else as I continued to eat, but I did finish my lunch and I had no problem staying awake the rest of the day.

We had no issues finding the naan bread, and we got plenty: six large triangular slices, to be exact. My mother and I had two slices with our lunch, and we had the last two with dinner the next day. The naan seemed to have been freshly made because the slices were toasted on the bottom, had a flour taste, and were chewy. The naan stayed warm in the aluminum foil covering, and the slices were just as good the next day.

A Taste of Himalaya naan bread

The cost of our lunches was about $18.00. It’s a good deal for all the food you get.

In all, we give A Taste of Himalaya a green light, but with a caveat: If you don’t like spicy food, then you won’t find many options on the menu that you can handle.

Want to Try Them?

A Taste of Himalaya is located at 609 South Highway 49 in Jackson. They’re open from Wednesdays through Mondays from 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for lunch, and then from 3:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. for dinner.

If you want to pick up your food, you can do so from 10:45 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. A Taste of Himalaya also delivers, but with some restrictions: There is a $25.00 minimum, they charge a $5.00 delivery fee, they only deliver within 5 miles of the restaurant, and you can only order delivery between 3:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

You can order pickup and delivery from A Taste of Himalaya’s website, or you can call ahead at 209-223-3886.

Amador Business Ticker food reviews are adventures in local dining with Editor Eric Butow and his mom.