Eric Asimov is the god of the more traditional $25 and
under places (while Jim takes the award for the more
eclectic type places). But the Vatan is far from a
traditional Indian place. I won't go into all the
details since Mr. Asimov described this place to a tee.
However, here's the executive summary..
** The food is from a western region of India and
totally unlike the usual drab Indian fare served
** You remove your shoes and sit in a very comfortable
booth equipped with pillows.
** Once you step inside, you feel like you're not in
Kansas anymore. There are bright and colorful murals
and flowers and plant life everywhere.
** Although there's a menu, you get no choices. For
one price you get a complete meal consisting of several
appetizers and entrees, over a dozen in all. The
dishes are small, but I left totally satisfied.
I do have a couple of questions. I can see going back
there 2 or maybe 3 times, but after that point I'm sure
I'll be tired of the menu. How often is it changed.
And a very general question.. this is the first
restaurant I came across that had a service charge
added in (15%) for everyone regardless of the size of
the party. The service was well above average. I
normally would tip 20-25% for such service, which is
what I ended up doing. (I left an additional 10% over
the check amount). The waitress seemed surprised. Did
I do something wrong? Did she expect the "normal" 18%
or so on top of the service charge, or do you think she
was just pleased?
A BIG vote for Vatan... this is a fantastic restaurant.
Definitely be prepared to sit for a while and eat a lot,
but the food is marvelous. It's from Gujarat and is
cooked by vegetarian adherents to the Jain religion -- a
completely different cuisine from the southern Indian
vegetarian food you get at places like Madras Mahal and
Many unusual little dishes, containing chickpeas,
potatoes, yogurt and the usual culprits, but combined in
startling ways. The little dishes of pickled chilis in
the center of the table are irresistible and TRULY hot.