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Vegging Out

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Sukhadia's Bombay pav vada.  

American salad bars have come a long way since the days of iceberg lettuce and blue-cheese dressing, but we’ve still got nothing on the Chat Corner. That’s the name of one of the stations at Sukhadia’s, a midtown buffet-style vegetarian Indian restaurant and sweetshop, and the newest branch of a mini-chain with locations in Chicago and New Jersey. Chat are Indian snacks, and at Sukhadia’s, they take the savory multitextured form of fried turnovers stuffed with seasoned potatoes or legumes, smooshed and lavished with sweet-and-sour tamarind and cilantro sauces, yogurt, chickpeas, and chopped vegetables, or, in the case of the Bombay pav vada, just nestled on a bun with spicy chutney to make a splendid $2.99 lunch. One is perfectly filling and monstrously flavorful, but it’s only part of Sukhadia’s gift to midtown vegetarians. An $8.99 all-you-can-eat buffet ($4.99 a pound to go) changes daily but always offers an assortment of vegetable curries of varying degrees of spiciness—whatever’s not hot enough can be rendered diabolical with a smidgen of mango-chili pickle. To neutralize the potent seasonings (which will seep into your clothes like barbecue smoke), load up your Styrofoam container with rice, chapati, and dhokla, a spongy yellow bread made from chickpea flour, and finish on a supersweet note with gulab jamun, fried dough balls in a sticky rosewater-scented syrup, washed down with unlimited paper cups of milky masala chai.

Sukhadia’s
17 W. 45th St., nr. Fifth Ave.; 212-395-7300


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