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841 Ouellette – Final Days

An unremarkable end to a part of Windsor’s history. The large vacant house at 841 Ouellette that was recently painted in a rainbow pattern of colours, burned down the other night in a spectacular fire. Built in 1890 for J.D. Arthur Deziel, the home served as a beauty parlor in the late 1930s and a dance studio in the early 1940s, before becoming a rooming house for a few decades. It was a final reminder of in the late Victorian era that Ouellette was largely a residential district, and that when Hotel Dieu was built down at Erie Street, that was the edge of the city.

In 1973 The Himalaya Indian/French restaurant opened, and would remain in operation for more than two decades. The building became largely vacant following the days as a restaurant.

Here’s a review from February 5, 1976, that appeared in the Windsor Star:

Where East meets West


By PAT WHEALEN

The combination of spicy Indian food and subtle French food seems contradictory, but it’s an honored Indian tradition, according to Bhawanishker Oza, owner and chef of the Himalaya at 841 Ouellette. The French were the colonial masters of India before the British, and in the homes of the wealthy Indians the tradition of French cooking persisted as a gesture of hospitality for European visitors and as a change of pace from Indian cooking. The wealthiest maintained two separate kitchens. Chef Oza learned his profession in the homes of the wealthy and in first-class restaurants and hotels in Bombay. His father, now retired, was a chef, and now his children are learning the business in their own family restaurant. The Himalaya has touches that no other Windsor restaurant can claim. It’s Windsor’s only Indian restaurant we need more. Chef Ora requires eight hours’ notice for some of the more painstaking Indian dishes on the menu. There’s always a log fire blazing in the fireplace of the main room in the big old Ouellette Avenue house which Chef Oza converted into his restaurant in 1973. When he can take time off from the kitchen, the chef himself strolls between the tables to chat with his patrons. The Himalaya’s decor is lushly Indian, complete with Chef Oza’s framed diplomas from a -Bombay college on the wall. The waiters wear authentic costume, which unfortunately don’t improve the casual pace or the slight disorganization of the service. But then, you’re there to dine, and that takes time. If you do that at the Himalaya, you’ll find exactly what you came for — first-class dishes, in an amazing variety of tastes and texture, with little touches of the unexpected to dank your fancy. In several visits to the Himalaya, I’ve concentrated on the Indian dishes. You get three choices in the curries — mild, medium, and hot. The mild is plenty hot enough for the average North American, but familiarity with Indian food will soon ac-custom you pleasantly to the more adventurous and satisfying strengths. Beneath the initial shock. all good Indian dishes have a subtlety of flavor that doesn’t take long to know and appreciate. One meat isn’t like another, even in the hottest sauce. It’s rewarding to savor the flavor within the flavor. From the surprisingly varied menu at the Himalaya you can experiment with curried chicken. beef, lamb, shrimp, lobster, or a number of vegetarian dishes. Discreet dish-sharing. and the great variety of sauces served in little silver bowls, add to the fun. The prices are fairly steep, but not unreasonable for the range and quality. Entrees run from $3.50 (chicken liver curry) to $7, with the majority at $4 or $5. All include rice, salad. and Indian bread, but the rest is a la carte.

Himalaya Dining Room, 841 Ouellette Ave.. 258-2804. Open every day except Christmas. Dinner only, 5 to 11 p.m. weekdays, 5 to 9 p.m. Sundays. Reservations advisable weekends. Master Charge.

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  • JM on 841 Ouellette – Final Days: “Thank you for this timely story. I must say that the 1976 photo displayed characteristics of the better days. Renovations…May 6, 13:53
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