The sound you hear as you walk in the door is Dr.Atkins, screaming as he rolls over in his grave! Lots of people have written about Udupi Bhavan, the vegetarian Indian restaurant in Framingham, so I'll just add a few impressions from a totally untutored Indian palate...
I love a vegetarian restaurant as much as the next hound, but you've really gottah order carefully here, to actually get to the vegetables...We are really talking what kinds of grains are gonnah fill you up if you're not eating meat...
Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of stuff right about this place, and I'll definitely go back, Because they are totally unafraid of INTENSE spicing; the rasam, Indian sour and spicy soup, was so hot, my co-hound handed me the whole thing. The warm, tamarind(?) sourness, the hot peppers that brought a cough to the back of my throat; heaven! The service? Hell! Okay, perhaps I exaggerate, but it did feed into the stereotype of resentful service at Indian restaurants..;)
We started by asking for a corkscrew for our wine, they are BYOB...But get this. Only BYOB Tuesday through Friday, because they don't want you to linger over your wine on Saturday or Sunday, because you may delay the turnover of tables during rush times...Uh, yeah..You can imagine how happy that made me on Saturday night..
Still, the place is full of Indian families out for a meal, a high percentage of beautifully sari'd women jockeying their children in their laps...And for a family restaurant, these children were very well behaved-- perhaps because they *were* ensconced on said parents laps?
Anyway, I'm not an Indian food expert, but I am a vegetarian, so it was nice to get the Thali platter, and know I could eat anything ;) And I had to go on trust here,because the waiter was totally non-forthcoming on any explanation of anything on the platter, even though I asked sincere question, and flashed the galleygirl "I love food!" charm on him. I was a little annoyed that the he didn't bother to tell me the soup I ordered was already *on* the Thali platter, and I was a little disappointed that about 25% of the items were sauces...Three were vegetable curries, but they totally scrimped on the platter; they were mostly sauce, with a few token veggies thrown in...On the upside, the curries were very well spiced, so they'd be worthwhile to try next time. The vegetable cutlet was a truly guilt-inducing fried pancake of veggies and grains, breaded and deep-fried...But for sheer veggieness, there were only 3 or 4 dishes that would balance the extreme starchiness of the offerings; a few paneers, a baigan bartha, an okra curry..
Vegetables here seemed to be used as an accent for starch, like meat is used as seasoning for vegetables in much Chinese cuisine...We had a Uthappam, (rice and lentil pancake, the size of a plate) with onion and peas...And it was a tasty, filling treat...But the crisp, moist pancake was mostly rice, with a few peas for color, and a little lentil for texture...The chutney was okay, the minty sambar was better, with a little bite of onion....
We saw beautiful dossas being served, two feet across, and so crisp, that they held their shape when rolled to the diameter of a football, but still a vehicle for sauce...This place is all about breads, breads, breads, and by golly, I love bread in all its permutations, but by the end of the meal, I really wanted anything green!
So, my take is, go, order a few breads, order a few veggie intensive things to dip them into..Order the veggie cutlet for an app...Realize that anything you eat will grow to shocking proportions in your stomach, and go during the week, so you can swill a few beers, or drink wine with this spicy comfort food...When you're craving carbs, head for Framingham!
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