We had supper at Himalayan Kitchen (360 South State Street SLC) a couple weeks ago. The food is better than ever and the place is nicer. Surya and Carmen Bstakoti have taken great pains to make sure that HK is not just another one of those featureless ethnic restaurants where what's on the plate is the only recommendation.
What's on the plate is, like I said, excellent, but Himalayan Kitchen reflects its culture in the color of the walls and the art on them (photographs of Nepal taken by Carmen), in the artifacts and dishes, charming copper pots and copper-handled flatware they have brought back from Nepal.
The best restaurants look the way they taste. Restaurant service, food, decor, that overused word ambience (what DID we say before that came into common usage 25 years ago???)–all these things should be aspects of the same vision, should strike each of the senses in a complementary way.
And then, stupid diners go and make that more difficult.
Since Himalayan Kitchen started using this charming copper-handled flatware, dozens of pieces have been stolen. A piece of art was smuggled out of one of the bathrooms. Little copper pots have disappeared.
The same thing has happened over at Bar X (155 E. 200 South) the signature copper mugs used to serve the Moscow Mules are walking out of the place in people's pockets. The vintage pictures have been ripped off the restroom walls.
What is with you people???
What makes anyone think this is okay? Cool? Acceptable?
I know it's always been something of a problem for restaurateurs. I was told that Bambara had a hell of time holding on to their multi-colored wooden salt and pepper grinders. And I remember shopping with Stephan Pyles for one of his Dallas restaurants. Looking at tabletop accessories, he told me, "We want something very cool and distinctive that's too big to fit in a pocket easily and cheap enough to replace often, because people will find other ways to steal them."
Salt Lake City has had a slow ride to culinary goodness. We have been known for bad food until very recently. And it's a bitch making a living in the restaurant business, folks. Margins are slim, employees are undependable, food costs are rising and diners are fickle.
How dare you add your stupid sticky fingers to those problems? And make it even more difficult for our locally, independently owned restaurant scene to grow?