The word "khana" in Indian Khana Made Easy means food. So come on, let's explore and cook some easy Indian food together including gluten-free and vegan dishes.


March 20, 2010

The Lazy Man's Buffet

Everyone knows what to expect when you go for a Lunch or Dinner Buffet at any restaurant. Whether you go with your friends or family, it's always the same procedure and same setting in a restaurant. What I mean is that once you enter a restaurant, you are taken to your seats and then your drink order is taken. Then just like in school, you form a line in front of the buffet tables. One by one, you take a plate, utensils and the different food you want to eat. That's how it's been like in all the places I've gone to...except at one place.
Last week on March 13th my family and I decided to go for dinner before we went to the Zakir Hussain: Masters of Percussion concert in New York City. My mom has been telling me about this place called Vatan in the city for days. We just never had the opportunity to go. I thought, what's all the hungama about? Why have my mom's colleagues raving about it? I gave in and we decided, we'll go.

The word Vatan means Homeland or Motherland. So I'm guessing when you pick it for a restaurant name, you are saying food from the Motherland. In this case, the food offered is from Gujarat, which is N.W India. As we entered the restaurant, there was a place to keep your umbrellas and what not. The waiters and waitresses greeted us wearing gagra cholis and shalwar Kameez (Indian clothes). The ambiance of the restaurant was something different. I didn't feel like I was in a sit down place. I felt like I was back in India, visiting local dhabas or village eateries. There were 6 or so places where we could have been seated. Each had it's own identity and decor. You see in the pictures and links (

We decided to sit by this big Banyan tree with monkeys on its branches (don't worry, the monkeys are fake). And we had the option of letting our feet dangle under the table or sitting in meditation position. We were given menus just to show us the items included in the buffet (this place currently serves only Dinner Buffet). I was eagerly waiting for our waitress to show us the buffet table but there was no table. She began speaking "Please take a moment to take a look at our buffet menu. Once you are finished, I will come back to take them and bring you the appetizers." Now this is what I call style eating. I can eat as much as I want without ever leaving the table and all for $25 per person. Ok, you are thinking, that's pricey but I'm telling you, it's not in the grand scheme of things.

Each plate had the following appetizers: Chana Masala (seasoned chickpeas), Muthia, Khaman, Mirchi Bhajia, Sev Puri, Samosas, Batata Vada, and Ragda Patis. We all agreed, appetizers themselves could have been a meal. Next up, main course...

Main course includes: Toor Daal, Gobi Curry, Batakanu Sak, Chole, Bhaji, Puri, Papdam, and Kheer. Wait just a minute. I am not done. With all these items, you get Pulao, Khichdi and Kadhi. So each of us received a plate that included the main course items and we shared the three items listed above. Now, I'm getting full just from looking and reading this blog, can you imagine how I felt eating it all. When I saw the kheer in my entree plate, I thought that was the dessert. However, I was wrong.

After we all were done, the plates were taken away and along came our desserts: mango ice cream and masala chai (tea). All in all, I would definitely eat here time around I will come with empty stomach, big appetite and loose pants (jk).

Oh did I mention, all their tabletops are like masterpieces of art...don't take my word for it, take a look below:

I wanted to take ours home and hang it on my wall.