Monday, November 08, 2004

Vatan Indian Restaurant

409 3RD Ave @ 29th Street, 212-689-5666


Cost per person: $30
"YGWYPF" factor: 8/10 (you get what you pay for)

Who knew vegetarian food could taste so good? This corner place at 29th and 3rd is wonderful to sit down, relax, and enjoy a long, and heavy, dinner. Really comfortable 'takias', acting as lumber supports, and loose, comfortable clothing will see to it that nothing prevents you from having as much food as you desire.

I love the menu - it's straight from "My Cousin Vinny" - "Dinner" is fixed at $22.95 (currently). The Gujrati style is to serve lots of varieties, in sweet little containers, and lay them all on a large plate, as seen from the pictures above. Appetizers are a plenty - khaman (dhokla), mirchi and other pakodas (vegetable fritters), cocktail samosas, dahi puri (which went soggy, unfortunately - they should make it fresh). Since it's an all you can eat, you are allowed to jump sequences and order more appetizers after you've had your dessert.And yes, you can have as much dessert (homemade mango icecreams!!) as you like.

The main course - pictured - was awesome. Each dish was made just right, nothing was too oily, spice level was at a healthy medium all through. Even the puris were nice and light, not drenched in oil. At the center of the table, they served rice, something like khichhdi, and kardhi - I was too full to try these, but my friends said they were just as awesome.

The decor, consisting mostly of thatched huts on top of the tables and a wall full of utensil art (interesting), is nice and comfortable. We happened to have a very sweet waitress from Nepal, who engaged in some pleasing conversation.

In terms of completely vegetarian foods from India, I think this restaurant takes the cake. I would definitely recommend this to all but the hard core meat eater.


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