HARRISON, N.Y. -- You won't have to climb Mount Everest to taste Himalayan food when Jewel of Himalaya opens soon in the shopping center on Halstead Avenue in Harrison.
The family-owned restaurant's menu features cuisine from Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and India. Dishes include dumplings, curry, nan bread and stir fry and feature a lot of vegetables.
The restaurant's owner Nuru Sherpa was born in Nepal and raised in the capital city of Khatmandu. He studied the culinary arts in his home country and has more than 20 years experience in the restaurant business. About 15 years ago he moved to the United States. He opened a few restaurants throughout New York and last year opened his first Himalayan restaurant in Yorktown.
One of the most important aspects of the menu is the use of fresh ingredients, Sherpa said. Many people living in the isolated Himalayan region get their food from their own gardens. His restaurants recreate that by only buying organic ingredients and making everything on location. He said the food is very low in fat, oils and dairy, and is very healthy.
"Our produce supplier comes six times a week. We don't buy in bulk, we don't buy pre-cooked food," he said. "The spices we use, we buy raw and roast and ground ourselves. The texture and flavor is totally different than pre-packaged spices."
"You have to treat the customers the way they deserve. You can't just try to sell them food, you have to understand their needs, their interests, their health," he said. His wife, brother and nephew all work with him in the Yorktown restaurant, and supervise operations every day to make sure that customers feel welcome and everything goes smoothly.
While the restaurant's website gives visitors the option to order online, the ambiance of the restaurant is an important part of the experience. Large screens show documentaries and photos of the lifestyle, landscape and culture of the Himalayan region, while Himalayan music plays over the loudspeaker.
"People who come here can educate themselves on our culture and experience a different part of the world," he said. "Customers don't just come to fill their stomach. They sit, relax, listen to wonderful music. Some people come and spend eight hours in the restaurant."
The restaurant is ready to open, and will be hosting its grand opening in the next couple of weeks once it receives its liquor license from the state.