Please note that the event was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!
Serving an all-you-can-eat vegetarian menu inspired from Gujarati cuisine, Vatan is the kind of restaurants that a non-vegetarian person like me would rave about: the food that they serve there is so good and full of flavor that you will forget you are having a vegetarian dinner. I love the concept: for $34 you get a full meal: an appetizer thali (slightly spicy), an entree thali (you can choose between mild, medium and hot) with its sides and desserts. As it is all you can eat, they ask you if you'd like more but trust me: it is so filling that you will not order as much as you think!
Vatan is quite big with its two rooms (the main dining room and the mezzanine) that have no windows but with a decor that gives you the impression you stepped into a place in India, with its paintings on the wall, its 20 foot tall banyan tree, thatched roofs and big lord Ganesha in the center of the main dining room.
Know that drinks are not included in the prix-fixe. They have a nice selection of alcohol from India, from beers to whisky, as well as sodas (Jodi got their lime soda that was nice) and the must-have mango lassi that is very good and perfect to soothe your mouth if you have eaten something spicy.
They then served us some snacks as we were waiting for our dishes. Crunchy, they were made with rice flour.
Next was the appetizer thali. As I mentioned before, you cannot change the level of spiciness. But, at the exception of the Mirchi Bhajia, that is a fried hot pepper with chaat masala, it was not that spicy.
Here is what the thali was composed of:
Chana Masala - Garbanzo beans with onions and coriander:
Muthia - steamed flour with spinach
Batatavada - fried potato balls in chickpea flour batter:
Khaman - wheat flour cake:
Samosa - filled with spicy potatoes and onions.
Mirchi Bhajia, that is a fried hot pepper with chaat masala
I admit that I do not remember this one: it was like yellow dal but had potato in it.
Sev Puri - garbanzo beans, yogurt and chutney (my favorite):
The appetizers came with some sauces like the mango chutney that was my favorite, adding a nice sweetness to the dishes. Needless to say that I asked for more sev puri and batatavada that I really liked.
Then was the entree thali that we both asked mild.
It was composed of:
Puri - fried puffy bread:
Toor dal - lentils cooked in spices
Chole - chickpeas cooked in garam masala:
Bhaji - sautéed spinach and corn:
Roti with butter:
Kheer - rice pudding
Ful-Cobi - sautéed cauliflower and peas:
Batakanu sak - potatoes in a mild red gravy:
There was also a papadam that I forgot to take a photo of that was a bit spicy...
The entrees came with some sides: raita (perfect when eating spicy food as it is made with yogurt and soothe a mouth on fire), rice as well as a twice cooked rice that was phenomenal with the raita!
Last was dessert. I admit that we did not ask for more of the entrees as we started to be really full, and were looking forward for the desserts. It was a Malai ice cream that was very good (it had cardamon in it), gulab jamun, one of my favorite Indian desserts, and a masala chai.
We had great time at Vatan: the food was very good and the service on point, courteous and ensuring that we had everything we needed. When we went last year, I had the exact same experience but thought that going there often might not be necessary as they do not change their menu: I was wrong! I would in fact go back there often and, if you think that these are small quantities, trust me: you will need a walk after eating there!
Enjoy (I did)!
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Vatan - 409 3rd Avenue, New York, NY10016