The wonderful thing about eating in a town as wildly diverse as LA, is that certain foods have the ability to go from utterly unknown to indispensable in the blink of an eye. One minute, you would never have given a dish the time of day; the next, you’re daydreaming about oxtail poutine at Animal, or the carmelized kimchi at Chego, or the chicharrone burrito dished out at an Arco station taco shop on 24th and Hoover. But while we’re on it, feel free to add yak chili at Tara’s Himalayan to the list.
Tara’s, a cozy little hideaway on Venice blvd just east of Overland, serves up bottles of lethally strong Yeti beer (named for the kind of body mass you’d need to have in order to drink one of these solo and then drive home); thin-skinned, lightly fried momos, Nepalese dumplings that are like a silkier, more subtle version of Japanese gyoza; a potent-as-all-get-out vindaloo, with chunks of potato that erupt steam when stabbed with a fork. There’s also a not-half-bad chicken tikka masala.
But enough foreplay. Order the yak chili and prepare to be ridden hard and put away wet. (Did that just put an image in your head of you getting sexually assaulted by a yak? My apologies. Unless that’s your thing. In which case, rock on!) ANYWAY, this chili is different from any you’ve ever had in your life; don’t think “vat-stirred mass of spiced ground meat and tomatoes” Think Mongolian bbq turned up to 11 -- thin, rectangular strips of velvety-tender pan-charred yak, with a mild gaminess that gives it infinitely more character than your average flank steak; sitr-fried green peppers, yellow onion and cilantro; and a coating of thick, dark sauce with a garlic/serrano chili/cumin kick that opens your sinuses like the DEA to a crackhouse door. Your eyes will water, your lips will tingle, and you. Will Not. Be Able. To Stop Eating It.
(NOTE: Don’t try making it yourself. It is impossible to buy yak meat in this city. There is not a single butcher shop that sells it and you are not about to get yourself involved in some kind of black-market yak deal.)
- WHAT: Rockin' Nepalese cuisine at Tara's Himalayan
- WHERE: 10855 Venice Blvd LA CA 90034
- WHEN: Mon-Thurs 12-10 PM, Sat-Sun 12-11 PM
- $$$: About $8 a plate