Archives for posts with tag: Indian

If this week has taught us anything, it has taught us that Forrest Gump had it right when he said, “you never know what you’re gonna get.” We eat at recommended, trendy restaurants that are not as good as the hole in the wall, family run places we tend to frequent. Yet, while in Denton, a friend recommended Rasoi, the Indian Kitchen, for a quick dinner before a meeting, then drove to a gas station and got out of the car.

A gas station! Needless to say, skepticism ran high. We noticed the cars at the pump area were actually parked and not filling up their tanks, so that helped. As we walked in to what appeared to be a convenience store, we saw bags of dahl in various colors, a cigarette rack and a small buffet. A friendly woman came from the back and asked what we wanted. Nothing was labeled, so we asked for whatever was vegetarian. While the woman loaded our plates with rice and what seemed like everything from the buffet (which was not, in fact, serve yourself), we noticed a menu with specials of the day that included one main dish and rice for $4.99.

Vegetarian plate at Rosai, the Indian KitchenCheap food at any place can be scary. Cheap food out of what still registered as a gas station in our minds prompted a strong fear response, but we soldiered through. It was a good thing we did, too, because this place proved to be a great find! We are pretty sure there was a saag and potatoes dish, and maybe chana and some dahl on the plate, but honestly we didn’t ask and she didn’t tell. She plopped one scoop of everything vegetarian atop the rice, asked if we wanted salad, which she centered on top of the pile, and we went around the corner. The space where the merchandise shelves once stood now houses maybe a dozen tables. The reach-in coolers stay stocked with drinks, but there is also a soda fountain if that’s more your speed.

We sat down and dug in to find nothing was overly spicy, and everything tasted great. The potatoes seemed like new potatoes rather than the large Idaho variety and all of the vegetables stood out on their own merit. The “everything vegetarian” option was only about $7, so definitely not expensive and we left so stuffed we almost opted out of the meeting for which we were in Denton in the first place. And we couldn’t even finish! Two vegetarians could split this plate and have plenty of nutrition to keep them going from lunch to dinner.

From the time we pulled up to the time we drove away, we went from skeptical, to curious, to a little fearful, and finally landed on genuinely pleased. Overall, this place is a great find. Bollywood movies on a large screen television and comfy couches between the dining area and convenience store add to Rasoi’s atmosphere that you really just have to experience to understand.

Until next we meet, enjoy great food and keep a happy heart.

Come back next Sunday for another ride through cattle country.

For about three years a little Indian restaurant has stayed tucked in a shopping center off Belt Line and Central Expressway in Richardson. But Udipi Cafe is not just another Indian buffet. Everything served at this restaurant is vegetarian. Not just vegetarian friendly, but 100% meat- and broth-free vegetarian food. How have we missed this for so long?

Whatever kept us away before, we’re definitely going back now. The wait staff is a mix of people from friendly and helpful to curmudgeonly yet somehow easy to like. The food, however, is absolutely wonderful. On our first visit, we were so overwhelmed by options that we had to ask for a recommendation. Yes, it was strange and wonderful to have an entire menu from which to choose; so strange that we couldn’t make a choice.

Udipi Cafe Soup AppetizerDuring dinner, an appetizer of soup came to the table. If this is a standard item, be aware that we dubbed it “Death Pepper and Cauliflower Soup.” We felt it in our tear ducts, yet we it was extremely flavorful and we kept putting our spoons back in the bowls. Definitely try it if you can take the heat.

Per our request, our waiter gave us a few options. He first recommended a dosa, which one of us ordered, then said the mutter panner or butter paneer masala would be good. We went for the second option and were delighted with the dish.

Udipi Cafe Huge Butter Masala DosaUdipi Cafe Butter Masala Dosa FillingWhen the food arrived we discovered that Udipi Cafe is very generous with portions. The Dosa was huge, possibly the biggest one we’ve had so far. The beautifully crispy crepe is monstrous, but the filling is centered over a plate so we were pleased to find that this is actually manageable. We still had enough to take home, though. The spicy yellow potato filling definitely builds the heat, but it takes a while. The sauces are not going to cool anything down, either. This is delicious, but bring tissues if you aren’t used to spicy foods.

Udipi Cafe Butter Paneer MasalaOnce we tasted the butter paneer masala we had to ask and discovered that the paneer is made in house. It is firm, yet doesn’t crumble, and has a nice flavor on its own. The sauce is not spicy at first, but give it a minute to build and you’ll fall in love as fast as we did. Creamy and tomato based, this had a slight anise seed flavor that made the thick sauce stand out.

Udipi Cafe Buffet PlateIf you are in the mood for a buffet, come in for lunch. At about the size of any other buffet, this one holds only vegetarian dishes, so you get twice the normal variety. Try all of your favorites, of course, but be aware that they will bring you a fresh, yet slightly smaller, dosa, so save some room.

The only negative we encountered was the dessert cart not holding gulab jamun. That’s not actually a negative so much as our being spoiled by most other buffets we encounter offering it. We were honestly too stuffed for much dessert, so it’s probably a good thing it wasn’t there.

Overall, we were delighted to find an Indian buffet where we didn’t have to deal with goat meat while reaching for the spinach and we were even more pleased when we discovered the food is delicious. We will definitely add Udipi Cafe to our must frequent list. Maybe we’ll see you there on our next visit.

Until next we meet, enjoy great food and keep a happy heart.

Come back next Sunday for another ride through cattle country.

No search for meatless meals would be complete without Indian cuisine, and that’s exactly what we want to discuss this week. Indian restaurants offer so many vegetarian options it can be difficult to make a choice. But then again, that’s a good problem to have in this part of the world. After a quick “best Indian food around Dallas – GO!” request, we found a few good places we can recommend around the greater Dallas area to find this vegetarian friendly food.

In Garland, India Garden offers a lunch buffet and flavorful traditional dishes for dinner. The paneer tikka masala ($9.95) is hot pink to red, a surprising color for a lovely dish that can be ordered from no spice to hot. At a medium, this was much too spicy for the wimpy palettes of our reviewers, but when ordered mild, this dish is a long-time favorite around the VICC crowd. Another of our favorites here is the garlic naan ($3.95), which we still consider the best garlic naan in the area because of its high concentration of garlic spread evenly across each piece.

Richardson offers many restaurants, but on the advice of some friends, we tried Mumtaz. In addition to the lunch buffet, Mumtaz offers a Monday night dinner buffet. And this dinner buffet is a deal at $6.99 a person. The dal makhani and lentil soup made the favorites list, with paneer saag coming in closely behind. And what is dinner without a little halwa to top it off? Rich, beautiful and almost too sweet to finish, Mumtaz has some amazing halwa.

In North Dallas, India Chaat Café offers what may be the best plain naan ($1.50) around. It is very fluffy, to the point of feeling like two pieces combined. Thick and doughy, the chew factor gives you the gratification of an extremely fresh piece of bread. The “naancakes,” as we nicknamed them, are easily split to sop up most or all of the creamy sweet malai kofta curry ($7.99/$10.99). The vegetable balls are spicy, but with the texture of a firm hush puppy, the spicy morsels compliment the sauce perfectly. We tried a paneer wrap ($5.99), which is wrapped in that scrumptious naan. The Paneer and veggie balls (the same type as those found in the malai kofta) join lettuce, tomatoes, onions and spices to make a multi-texture wrap. Unfortunately, this is too hot for wimpy taste buds to bear and the few bites tasted were not enough to develop an opinion. But were this wrap a bit milder it has the makings of a great meal.

The Saffron House Masala DosaWhen we went to Addison we found The Saffron House, and we are in love. Papads on the table provide a sign that you are in for a treat, but a giant masala dosa ($9.50) offers the highlight of our visit. The exterior crepe is thin, just crispy, yet soft enough to use in picking up the filling, and tastes exactly like dosas from private kitchens in India. A potato and onion filling is soft and yellow with mustard seed goodness. This is the dish that can most remind taste buds of a summer abroad. The accompanying chutney is thicker than expected, but the dosa is so good it makes condiments unnecessary.

For our Dallas restaurants we tried Roti Grill, Taj Mahal and India Palace. As we walked in, Roti Grill struck us as very American and we tossed around “the Pei Wei of Indian food” in our discussion about the decoration. The food is also different, but good. Vegetable korma ($8.99/12.50) reminds us of a potpie, only with Indian spices. Creamy gravy and mixed vegetables are unlike the other kormas, but this is good in its own right. We also tried paneer saag ($8.99/$12.50). The paneer is nearly as firm as a soft mozzarella cheese and ordered mild, this is still a bit spicy. The spinach is creamy with decent sized leaves for texture. This is the first place where we’ve seen mango lassi ($1.75) with spices on top. A bit tart, the flavor is more like a mango smoothie, only thinner.

Taj Mahal Paneer Makhani, Mixed Vegetarian Curry and Aloo GobiAt Taj Mahal we are enamored with the paneer makhani ($8.95). “That’s the shiznit, there” and “yeah, wow” are how we first expressed our feelings toward this little dish of tomato heaven. Sweet and creamy tomato sauce (we ordered it mild), with Paneer as firm as a stiff mozzarella cheese, this is a new favorite that puts Taj Mahal onto the must frequent list. Aloo gobi ($8.50) is another reason to come here. Between mushy and crispy, this cauliflower and potato combination can join the comfort foods list. A thin tomato coating gives this an exciting and unexpected tang. And speaking of excitement, try not to stare at the neon in the corner. The strobing pink and purple seizure magnet detracts from the experience a bit, but the staff is friendly and the food is amazing so we’ll just do our best not to look directly at the light.

India Palace DosaFinally, we find the buffet at India Palace to exceed expectations. We found a dosa cut in half awaiting our return from the first trip through the buffet. More crispy crepe than normal, this dosa is quite flavorful. From the buffet, vegetable kofta has creamy nutty sauce with minimal spice. The vegetable and cheese balls are round and look like meatballs, but don’t be discouraged – they are delicious. Paneer here is soft and crumbles in your mouth. Tried with saag, the paneer’s homemade feel and taste is a nice compliment to the slight spice of the saag. The spice level was tolerable even for a wimpy palette. The moIndia Palace Jalebist pleasant surprise of this trip: Jalebi! This deep fried sugary goodness is like a little insulin dipped in syrup. It is so wonderful, but a little bit will do. The only way this could be better would be to have it warm. This desert is not always offered, but the $12.95 weekend buffet is worth stopping by to see if you get lucky.

This is far from a comprehensive list of Indian restaurants, but we hope it’s enough to get you started. As always, if you have a favorite restaurant or someplace you want us to check out for you, let us know and we’ll give it a shot.

Until next we meet, enjoy great food and keep a happy heart.

Come back next Sunday for: Veggie Garden, Richardson, Texas.

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