I have grown quite fond of vegetarian Indian cuisine, which I “discovered” a few years ago by exploring that corridor of Route 27 north of Princeton, up to Somerset. Last night I paid a return visit to Udipi Café, which I reviewed over a year ago, and found it just as pleasing as the last time. By the time my friend and I left, the place was nearly full, and the clientele was, except for us, all southeast Asian.
I can see why they pack the place. The food is varied and delicious, especially some of the rice dishes and crepes pictured here. The staff is friendly, and they don’t keep asking you how spicy you like your food. They just bring it, and if they’re altering it for us, are tactful enough to not tell me. Even a plate of vegetable bhajias, deep-fried vegetables, that consisted largely of chilies, was not too hot. They had been dusted with something (you can see it in the photo), I’m not sure what, but wonder if it might be amchur (powdered mango), as it was somewhat tart.
The paper dosa in the other picture was folded around a filling of potato and onion, with a chartreuse hue from its seasonings. The rice dish in front is coconut rice, made with chopped fresh coconut, and crunchy fried gram (lentils) and cashews. Their lemon rice is also killer.
Remember the hilarious Seinfeld episode about the puffy-sleeved shirt? Be sure to try the puffy bread at Udipi Café, too, as I plan to on my next visit. There are large (bhatura) and small (poori) versions, and almost every table ordered one of those or a dosa. With a menu that tops out at $6.99, you can’t go wrong – unless you bring alcohol, which is a no-no in Indian vegetarian restaurants that serve Hindu and Muslim populations.