Om Tibet is no more. 9/08
I think I must be desensitized to little nuisances, which is hard to believe since I’m irked on at least an hourly basis. But Om Tibet seemed to push the limits of visiting family. I don’t think they were keen on trying Tibetan food in the first place. To be honest, I wasn’t sure that I was either. I imagined it would be bland and dull. And it really wasn’t.
I became a little nervous when a craggy customer who looked like a Korean war vet came over to take our order because the waitress had gone out and he wasn’t sure when she’d get back. I’m still not sure what his connection to the restaurant was, but he was sitting with some Asian men who seemed to be staff.
Thenthuk, a simple beef noodle soup with daikon and spinach caused a mild stir because it came in one bowl. I didn’t expect it to be served individually and assumed it was meant for one, but whatever. I was the only one who touched it and ended up bringing most of it home for later. I did appreciate the hand pulled noodles, but it didn’t quell my fears about bland food.
Shamdae doesn’t look like much but the chicken curry spiced similarly to Indian food was a hit.
The “shapta special beef chilly” was the stand out dish for me. The strips of beef were coated in a fiery, dry cumin spiked sauce and stir fried with onions, tomatoes and jalapenos. It felt more Chinese than Indian and wasn’t really either. Maybe that’s Tibetan?
Minor Trouble also erupted when we were told they didn’t have coffee. Because I’m opinionated and judgmental about things that don’t matter, I’ve come to believe that drinking coffee with dinner is the province of alcoholics and/or Denny’s patrons. Maybe I’m sensitive to this practice because I was called on it many years ago by a smart assy boss.
But they did have bocha, a tea rendered salty and creamy by yak butter. Ok, gross. I was the only taker, and it really wasn’t as unappealing as it sounds. I seemed like less of a beverage and more of a fortifying broth.
I don’t see what’s wrong with taking parents to hole-in-the-walls. The only uh-oh moment came when a roach ran over the bill as I opened holder. Strangely, vermin bothers me less when it’s not in my house. James warned against going, but when he brings his mom to a typically upscale yet cramped Manhattan restaurant she’ll just embarrass him anyway by barking at the host, “I’m from Virginia; I’m used to space.”
It sounds like I’m being negative, which wasn’t the overall impression at all. I thought Om Tibet was likeable and it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re on the Jackson Heights/Elmhurst border (to confuse further, the zipcode is Woodside) and don’t feel like Thai, Indian or Latin American food. Burmese Café, a block from Om Tibet, used to fill this niche but they seem to have closed for good.
Om Tibet * 40-05 73rd St., Woodside, NY