Thali Too is a romantic, somewhat upscale bar-restaurant. This is a good place to take a date or a group of friends and it has an unusual brunch on the weekends. It's in a minority of Indian restaurants that labels its vegan dishes. It's located BEHIND the Yale Bookstore/Barnes and Noble, so it's not visible from the street.
I got stuck sitting at a platform that gave me a direct view of the kitchen, with a piece of plexiglass between me and the action. The view was not very interesting, though it should have tipped me off that this restaurant, with an entirely male and Indian kitchen staff is probably only its element when making Indian food (i.e. one should avoid any dish that is Indian-fusion or uses non-Indian ingredients).
To start I got an onion bhajia appetizer (think Indian tempura) ($5.50) which was too salty and the portion size was tiny for the price.
For my main course I had the tofu jalfrezie ($10) which is a dish I shouldn't have ordered. As I wrote earlier, the cooks here are all Indian and, I hate to say it, they don't know how to cook tofu. The dish consisted of lightly-sauteed silken tofu with carrots, some bell peppers and peas. It was extremely simple and basic; while it was spicy, it lacked any real savory flavor---it was all green chili but not enough (or any) garam masala, garlic, onions and curry leaves. And, of course, Thali Too does not offer brown rice, so I had to shove down the dish with insipid white rice.
However, Thali Too redeemed itself somewhat with its aloo paratha ($3.50), which was thin, flaky and delicious. It's not often that you see vegan paratha. This also suggested to me that I should order a straight-up Indian curry or dosa the next time I'm at Thali Too.
Thali also offers an all-you-can-eat brunch on the weekends for $15. It's not a buffet; you place your orders with a waiter who keeps coming back when you want more dishes; beware that there's a long lag time, on the order of 15-20 minutes, between placing an order and getting food. You get an unlimited supply of small plates, so it's a great way to share dishes and sample with friends. I'm not impressed with most of the food they offer, though the mirchi bhajia isn't bad, and the masala dosas and poori bhaji are decent. For $15, though, it's an expensive meal and doesn't yield any leftovers. They also give out lassis (which are made with yogurt) with the brunch, but they don't offer a vegan option, and they're unwilling to make even a simple substitute (I asked for black tea and was denied).
Another major oversight at this restaurant: there are no vegan desserts. Indian desserts are generally crappy, especially if you're used to Western-style cakes and cookies, but it's even more frustrating that vegan Indian desserts are almost unheard of. A place like Thali Too needs to take the lead and start learning how to veganize a few standard Indian offerings, using soy milk and Earth Balance instead of the dairy stuff.
The service is consistently mediocre and sometimes curt; I was not only seated in a crappy location, but a server didn't come to take my order for quite a while, until I finally flagged someone down. As the night wore on, the service improved, though, and someone would come around to refill my water.
On a whole, Thali Too shows some signs of competence and skill, but definitely has room for improvement.