Thursday, August 17, 2006

Madras Cafe

We recently visited one of our favorite restaurants, Madras Cafe at 79 2nd Avenue in Manhattan. Madras is an Indian restaurant which is totally vegetarian and almost totally vegan.

Masala Dosa
This was delectable. The potatoes were soft and spiced just enough and there were little bits of onion and cashew nestled in there with them. I liked the Dosa here too because it was just crisp enough to hold it’s shape but had almost a layered texture when you bit through. It’s hard to describe but there was a slight crunch to it and then it was very giving once it was in my mouth. The Lentil Sambar was very spicy (not too painful but pretty hot) and the Coconut Chutney worked beautifully with everything else to cool things down and add major creaminess. This dish was perfection and I could probably eat it everyday. O how I love my Dosas. -Ev
They do make a pretty good Dosa at Madras. It’s not the best Dosa I’ve ever had, but it’s good enough that this is a good place to come if you’re in the mood for Dosa. I suggest getting one to go and eating it for breakfast. Masala Dosa for breakfast is a wonderful thing. -Jim

Yogi Thali
Madras Café has only one vegan Thali, the rest are only vegetarian. This meal consisted of rice, Onion Pakora, bread, Mulligatawny Soup, TVP Curry, Saag, and Rice Pudding. The Mulligatawny Soup at Madras is probably my favorite Mulligatawny soup in NYC. Also, the dessert was delicious and I’ve never had anything like it anywhere else. But what made this dish awesome was not the quality of the individual foods in it (though they’re all very good), but the variety of it. I really like variety in my meals, and this dish has soup, appetizer, bread, rice, chunky Curry, saagy Saag (I can’t think of a good adjective to describe Saag) and dessert all mixed into one. It’s a little pricier than other items on the menu, but I think it’s worth it since it is a lot of food. -Jim
The Pakora was sublimely fried and very salty (I recommend dipping it in the soup). The TVP Curry was hearty without being too oily or stew-y and there was a nice balance of textures between the protein and vegs. The dessert was so delicious; the base texture was really soft and then it was great because you’d get nice bits of crunchy cashews and moist raisins. The other dishes were stellar as well but these were the three I picked at the most. -Ev

The Bottom Line
Madras is one of our staple restaurants; we can always count on getting good food there and friendly service. Sometimes the dishes take a while to reach your table, but be patient, the food is worth it. I also recommend you try the homemade Ginger Lemonade. It is chockfull of fresh ginger and very spicy and refreshing. The vegan mango lassi is also incredible but pretty filling so you may want to share with someone to save room for dinner. -Ev
Yeah, everything here is pretty filling, so make sure you’re hungry. I might be able to think of an Indian restaurant or two where the food is slightly better than Madras, but overall this is my favorite Indian restaurant because it’s not only delicious, but it’s almost all vegan (they specify which items are vegan on the menu) and the prices are reasonable and it’s in a fun neighborhood and it’s never too crowded and they have a wide variety of dishes from both Northern Indian and Southern Indian cuisine. Also, Atlas Café (which carries the largest stock of Vegan Treats in NYC) is just a few doors down in case you still have some room left over. -Jim


Anonymous al said...

did you guys share the yogi thali? because i am going to order that next time i'm there and i need to know if it's something that i can eat myself or if it's more of a 2 for type thing.

12:06 AM, August 18, 2006

Blogger veganfriendly said...

I've eaten the thali by myself in the past, but sometimes it makes me unpleasantly full. It's a lot of food. This time we shared everything. -Jim

12:58 AM, August 18, 2006

Anonymous Paula said...

I've never had a dosa. take me here, veganfriendly! (after sept 8th)

1:33 AM, August 18, 2006

Anonymous Jason Das said...

Madras is great! Definitely one of my top favorites. I really enjoy your in-depth reviews and pictures.

I also wanted to say thanks for all your links to SuperVegan! I think it might work for you guys to leave reviews on SuperVegan linking to the reviews on your site. You could use our star ratings form, and maybe say a sentence or a few (whether you liked it or not) and then link to the full review on your site. Go for it if you feel like it.

2:03 AM, August 18, 2006

Anonymous Isa said...

I almost never get the dosa there because there is always someone else who orders it and can't finish it so I just freegan off them. I love the, uh, that curry with all the stuff in it and the soy protein curry. Also the idlis. Yump.

4:56 PM, August 18, 2006

Blogger veganfriendly said...

Thanks, Jason! We really dig the SuperVegan restaurant guide. Definitely the hottest NYC vegan restaurant guide on the web.

And thanks for the invitation to post reviews on your site. We'll certainly do that.

8:19 AM, August 19, 2006

Anonymous terry said...

I really like Madras! I'm a pig so I can inhale a dosa or a thali all by myselfsome.

One don't miss item: the vegan mango lassi, maybe the only one of it's kind in the area. Perfectly sweet, tangy, mango-y and refreshing.

2:10 PM, August 21, 2006

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