TravelNoise: Vatan, New York City
If you’re looking for good Indian in the city, you’ll find nothing short of incredible restaurants on nearly every block. But I think we can all agree that it can get pricey, especially if you want to try multiple dishes. I’m gonna let you in on a huge secret: I know a place where you can try everything your Indian food-craving heart desires for just $34. That place is called Vatan, and at this restaurant, the only choice you have to make is what you’re drinking.
Located in the heart of Kips Bay, Vatan is a gem amongst a lot of noise. When my guest and I entered the establishment, we were transported to another world — elaborate colorful murals washed over the walls and a large, sweeping tree stood its ground in the middle of the seating area. The booths were somewhat enclosed with accompanying individual roofs, which makes every patron feel like a VIP. We noticed some guests left their shoes outside the booths while others kept their shoes on.
So here’s the deal: Vatan offers a $34 prix fixe vegetarian menu focusing on Gujarati-style cuisine in a Thali-style way of serving (meaning lots of little dishes), so instead of choosing an appetizer, entree and dessert, you’re brought the entire menu to try (yup, dozens of dishes). It’s the perfect place to go for those new to Indian cuisine and those who aren’t satisfied with just one dish.
Cocktails are available for an additional price, but they are worth it. My guest enjoyed the Mango Mirch ($10) while I went for the Guavatini ($10). Both drinks were way less sweet than we expected, expertly crafted and way too easy to drink. While we sipped, our lovely hostess brought us roti, which we plowed through without a problem.
Then, the appetizers came, and honestly, it was a true flavor parade. Probably our favorite part of the entire night was hearing our hostess explain the dishes and, sometimes, what order we should be eating. Between the classic chana masala, samosas (which were steaming hot and the perfect size for popping one after another in your mouth) and the half dozen other appetizers, we were in heaven. We also were definitely worried about not being able to try everything because guys, there’s so much food. Did we mention you get your own of everything?
Moving onto the entrees, we were again able to try small portions of every wonderfully spiced dish. Our favorites were the toor dal, which was rich and hearty, and the ful-cobi (cauliflower and peas sauteed in a savory sauce). Interestingly, Vatan included kheer (rice pudding with dried fruits) and aam rus (mango pulp) with the entree platter to offset the savory dishes, and they worked together perfectly.
To be honest, we really didn’t have room for dessert, but we did our best when our hostess brought out homemade ice cream and a steaming cup of Masala chai. The ice creams were beyond luscious, rich and buttery while the chai was fragrant and bloomed in our mouths. The pair were the perfect way to end the meal.
A night at Vatan will show you that everything has a purpose. The meal is an ecosystem of dishes working flawlessly on their own but even better together, and as cheesy as it sounds, I felt like I was a part of something special during my time in the restaurant. Vatan offers everything you seek and more — incredible Indian food, overwhelmingly gorgeous aesthetic and an experience that I can only describe as exquisite.
Address: 409 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016
Telephone Number: (212) 689-5666