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Indian Pre-Fixe Vegetarian
Ayurveda (which is a Sanskrit word meaning "knowledge of life") is a 5,000-year old ancient Indian system of health and healing that's become very popular recently through the popular writings of, among others, Deepak Chopra and Vasant Lad. The science stipulates a vegetarian diet with no eggs (dairy and honey is allowed and are, vegans beware, used liberally) and has to incorporate six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, astringent, bitter and pungent. The aim is to achieve balance for your body type—whether that's tall and skinny, short and fat, medium build and fiery, or an elaborate combination of the three.
One of the pleasures of Ayuveda Cafe is its simplicity. The lunch and dinner menus are both set for the day (they are different from each other). (For vegans, all entrées are cooked with vegetable oils, one need only steer clear of the raita.) There are two entrées (which can be okra- or lentil-based), a salad, chutneys, and rice (brown or basmati), raita (a yogurt), and nan bread. This is usually more than enough to eat, but if you need something more (and sweet) the desserts—including payasam and a sweet melon concoction—are delicious. You can also drink Indian spiced tea ($1.95), mango lassi ($2.50), and/or regular and decaffeinated coffee ($1.50).
on Sep 27 06
(last updated Feb 15 10)
Mark this place closed (permanently).
Most Recent Reviews
Big, tasty, vegan lunch for $10? Why, I don't mind if I do! I stopped in for lunch last week and was very surprised to see how much food came on the lunch platter. There was rice and bread (of course!), plus salad, lentils, cauliflower, a chickpea/potato dish, and a fried goodie. I think they gave me two salads since I told them I'm vegan and the dish usually comes with a yogurt option. I can't say that the salad was interesting enough to eat twice, but I was very glad they were knowledgeable of which items were and were not vegan.
The meal was supposed to come with dessert but it wasn't vegan (it really should be! :) ), but I was too stuffed to eat dessert anyway.
The service was prompt and friendly, and I love that they serve brown rice and make small, healthy changes that you don't typically find in Indian food.
Ayurveda delivers on its claim -- a balanced dining experience. The environment is calming, with meditative decor. I always feel pleasant after a meal at Ayurveda. Even though you can ask for as much more food as you want (all-you-can-eat), I find that I am satisfied with the main thali (platter). I never leave feeling too stuffed, as I have often done with some Indian buffets.
The food is well-prepared and enjoyable. It is not the most amazing Indian food I have had. In Manhattan, places like Chennai Garden, Brick Lane Curry House, Vatan, or Pongal stand out for food quality. But Ayurveda is a unique experience, and the food is prepared with a care that you can taste.
I highly recommend Ayurveda.
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Upper West Side
$ - inexpensive