BWW Review: VATAN in NYC is a True Gem of a Restaurant Offering Fine Indian Vegetarian Cuisine
Bring your love of good food and an appetite. Vatan, in the Gramercy neighborhood of Manhattan, is a restaurant like no other, a true adventure into the flavors of India that so many people find irresistible. We visited early on a Saturday evening. From the moment you step inside the restaurant, you realize it is a very special place. The décor is strikingly beautiful and very authentic to India. And the gracious service makes you feel like a special guest. Vatan is open seven days a week for dinner service and they also cater groups and parties.
A little background. Vatan, which means 'motherland,' has been long-standing pioneer of traditional Indian food in Manhattan's Gramercy neighborhood, offering a prix-fixe thali style menu of beautifully presented platters of small dishes. The food features vegetarian cuisine from the Northwestern Indian state, Gujarat. Owner Prashant Shah, a veteran entrepreneur took over Vatan in 2014, maintaining the restaurant's authentic cuisine and quality service, while adding a Kosher certification, expanding wine and liquor selection, and adding options to complement the set menu. Since opening over 20 years ago, Vatan is considered one of the top destinations in New York City for the finest Gujarati cuisine.
The only menu option is a $34 prix fixe. It includes an appetizer, entrée with accompaniments, dessert, and chai. The food is served thali style, with a nice variety of small dishes that you can reorder anytime at no extra charge. Tasty items are entirely vegetarian, and are available to order vegan and gluten free. Recent additions to the fare includes the Jain menu with all dishes being made without potato, onion or garlic and the Swaminarayan/Vaishnav menu that has selections made without onion or garlic. The only add-ons to the prix fixe menu are their special breads, Roti and Paani Puri.
Some of our favorites on the appetizer menu included the tasty Samosas filled with spicy potatoes and peas and the perfectly seasoned Chana Masala. We also enjoyed the Khaman, a light flavorful puffed cream of wheat flour cake. The portion sizes were perfect and we liked the options to get another serving of the dishes we especially enjoyed.
The entrée thali invites guests to enjoy another group of small servings with the opportunity to order more if you wish. You'll love the Khichdi, lentils slow cooked to perfection mixed with rice and assorted vegetables. The Bhaji with sautéed spinach & corn is wonderfully seasoned and the Kadhi, soup with yogurt and spiced chickpea flour is the best we've ever had. You can order your entrée mild, medium or hot, depending on personal tastes.
The beverage program has choices that you can easily pair with your food. They have a wine list that reflects vintages from around the world, a fine spirits menu, beer, and Indian-inspired cocktails. Additionally, guests can enjoy non-alcoholic drinks like their Lassi or Fresh Lime Soda.
Be sure to save room for Vatan's desserts. Indulge in some luscious homemade Indian ice cream and Gulab Jamun, delicate waffle balls in sugar and rose syrup. You'll also top off your dinner with a cup of and Masala Chai.
Don't miss the exceptional opportunity to dine at Vatan. It's a gem of a restaurant that we are sure will please our readers who enjoy the finest Indian cuisine.
Vatan is located at 409 3rd Avenue (between 28th & 29th Streets), New York, NY. In addition to their fine dining, they can accommodate parties up to 140 persons. Visit them at http://vatanny.com or call 212.689.5666. Follow them on instagram @vatannyc. Vatan is open Sunday to Thursday 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm and Friday to Saturday 5:00 pm to 9:30 pm. Reservations are suggested.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Vatan