I finally tried out Sukhadia's "Indian Vegetarian Gourmet" for lunch today. Not sure what is gourmet about Bombay street food and a Gujju buffet but the experience was worth it nonetheless.
As you walk into Sukhadia's, you are greeted by a Chaat Corner on your right hand side from which you can order bhel poori, sev poori, samosa chat, kachori chat, dahi batata poori, aloo papdi chat, pani poori and chutney sandwiches. When Kim and I walked in, we didn't see anyone ready to serve us so we made our way to the back of the restaurant to the dining area through a long corridor of sorts. We passed by the sweets section and the buffet on the right and chivda on the left. I have to say that I was unbelievably tempted by the kaju katlis, balushahis, burfees and other assorted Indian sweets so innocently staring at me. They were so ready to be taken.
The dining area with the marble top tables, plastic flowers and mirrors everywhere is a bit garish and not tasteful at all but it's at least better than Dimple's less-than-hygienic atmosphere. Our Mexican waiter was very sweet and his excellent service more than made up for the ambience.
The menu is a dream for vegetarians who love Indian food. Chaat is only one option. An entire section of the menu is devoted to platters - dhokla, samosa, batata vada, lilva kachori, patra, mixed pakoda, chili pakoda, thepla, gathia jalebi and dahi vada! Isn't your mouth watering already? If it weren't just the two of us, we might have ordered one of these.
The hot entries selection was the most enticing to me. I was having a hard time choosing from pav bhaji, chole bhatura, aloo paratha, ragada pattice, vada pav (I loved the fact that a restaurant is serving this!), vegetable burger, channa tikki, usal pav and even vegetable biryani.
If these selections are not enough to make it difficult to decide what to eat, Sukadia's also has a daily special on weekdays serving items like undhiu, bajari rotis, methi paratha with hyderabadi baingan etc.
In the end, Kim and I shared a few chaat dishes - samosa chaat, bhel and pani poori. The bhel was very good - crunchy, tangy and with the right amount of tamarid chutney. Kim liked the samosa chaat as well but I prefer the one at Madras Mahal. The pani poori was a huge let down though, especially the paani. It was not tasty at all.
17 West 45th Street
New York City, NY
(between 5th and 6th Avenue)