Indian - Ajanta and Jen Kalb
Jen Kalb wrote ---- ( last March)
ahh, udupi bhavan... what a haven here in
Massachusetts. they serve south Indian vegetarian food. their dosas are simply excellent. all their breads are good too. the potato bhaji used in all of the dosas is a little tired (could be spiced better, I think), but the dosas more than make up for it. I like to order their dal sometimes myself-it's not on the menu, but dal and rice is in my opinion one of the best Indian dishes ever. I don't know the address, unfortunately, but I'll attempt directions. it's located in Ashland, ma, which is south of Framingham. if you can get yourself to the intersection of routes 135 and 126, where the Framingham train station is located, then from there you want to go south on 126 for about 5 minutes. you'll see a market basket shopping center on your right, and udupi is at the far end of the shopping center, near a subway. the place is heaven. don't go Friday or Saturday nights unless you want to wait in line for at least an hour with the entire Indian American population of the 128 suburbs (and they don't take reservations). weeknights are a good time to go.
Also, I just heard a rumor that the udupi people have opened a branch here in Cambridge, near Kendall somewhere, but I haven't heard about how it compares or what.
------- Reply ----------
Jen - you are generous with your food consciousness. I called the Udupi Bhavan and asked them about their offspring restaurant in Cambridge - it is called the "Ajanta" and the address is 145 First Street. Apparently it is near the Afghan "Helmand" and a bunch of other new places close to the Lechmere T stop. .
So -this is the place that the Udupi created in Cambridge. I guess we need to try the regular cuisine and forget the lunch buffet.
Despite warnings from fellow chowhounds, I decided to revisit the Ajanta buffet, in the hopes that my last meal there was just a fluke. While I am not as easily placated by an Indian buffet as Denise Taylor, I thoroughly enjoy even mediocre Indian buffets. Unfortunately, my meal there today did not even approach mediocrity. It was bad...flat out bad.
Where to begin? It is difficult to express oneself after such a gastronal violation. Had I more time, I'd like to tell you how this buffet, bite by bite, beat upon my palate with blunt blows of acrid flavors and awkward textures. But nay, I shall only tell you of the one bite that caused me to cry out in painful abandon. While slurping down some particularly unimaginative curry, my tooth cracked against an object foriegn to most curry recipes around the world. At first, I thought it to be a fractured bit of chicken bone, but as my tooth began to beat with pain, I knew that no bit o' bone could crack my tooth in such a way. My suspicions were confirmed when I pulled a small stone, abut the size of a ball-bearing, from my mouth.
As for the rest, the salad was like soup, the soup like water, the tandoori chicken was overcooked to the consistancy of naan and the naan was barely passable and was better used as gauze for my tooth.
Despite my hopes, Ajanta did more than disappoint, it offended. I will not return for the buffet and will likely steer myself towards central sq for Indian in the future. I'd recomend that other chowhounds do the same.
Read the rave review on the Framingham Udupi Bhavan and it is thoroughly deserved. We have been schlepping it there all the way from Cape Cod for a long time now, bypassing the Cambridge branch. The sambhar is the best, v. aromatic and spicy. The Cambridge branch (called Ajanta?) across from Cambridge Side galleria is overpriced, unless you can hit the lunch buffet on Sundays. The food is spread all over the Indian spectrum and the South Indian dishes are not comparable with Udupi Bhavan.