Last week my eating club went to Govinda's on Lindell. It is a vegetarian cafeteria run by the Hare Krishna. Cost per person was $6 for dinner. On Sunday you can eat for free, but they subject you to an evening of Hare Krishna learning, whatever that is.
Govinda's has plenty of street parking in the evening. I would think it would be more difficult for lunch. There are two doors inside the main foyer. One is for the cafeteria, the other is for the meditation room. The atmosphere of the cafeteria is like a good cosy old folks home. Tile floor, formica tables with green vinyl-coated chairs, and friendly eaters. Cleanliness is apparently part of the creed. The lighting is peaceful, the temperature was comfortable and no music emitted from the ghetto blaster in the corner. There are various Indian/Kama Sutra (clean version)-type prints on the walls.
We approached the counter, where a gaunt, bald man kindly asked if we had been there before. He explained what was being dished up and then proceeded to fill trays for us. We got our own salads from the salad bowl. Filtered water and herbal tea were also available. When all of our trays were done, he called us over and we took them to the table.
Basmati rice (small, short-grained) was served plain but warm. Salbi, a vegetable curry, was not too overpowering and contained peas, potatos and broccoli. Lukewarm pasta salad was overcooked rotini with a bland tomato sauce. A chewy brown roll was average. The dal soup, served in a styrofoam coffee cup, was watery but had more flavor than the other foods. The salad was very good - greens, celery, carrots with a nice olive oil/vinegar dressing. The most interesting thing served was the dessert, called Halava. It appeared to be made with couscous or some similar grain, and tasted like brown sugar and butter. No one at the table finished it. Only one eater returned for seconds and declared himself pleased enough with the meal to return. This, I think, is due to the fact that he is a nice man and already a practicing vegetarian. The rest of the eaters, including yours truly, politely enjoyed the different food. The only REAL disappointment to me was that no one tried to talk to us about Hare Krishnas. One gaunt lady with gray hair stopped by the table and asked us if everything was allright. And a guy who looked like a cross between the Karate kid and fat man in a bathrobe came through. But nothing really weird, as had been anticipated. Perhaps I should return on a Sunday. . .