Monday, August 22, 2005

 

Swad

I've long been looking forward to reviewing Swad, the vegetarian Indian restaurant on North Lamar. What great food!

Now... a light disclaimer. If you're someone who is really into the service at a restaurant.... well.. let's just say I would focus on the food, above all, at this place (though I guess I have that philosophy in general). Not that the service is bad. It's just, basically, hardly existent. Let's call the servers here, not waiters, but: food distributors. You pour your own water, get your own silverware (if you need it, that is), etc. Don't bother asking them any questions (the experts lurk behind the counter). Personally, that sort of thing is a nonissue for me, as long as *someone* knows what's going on and the food is sufficiently delicious... which is DEFINITELY the case here.

It is my understanding that this is, generally speaking, a Gujarati place, with a large number of South Indian items on the menu, as well. In the past, I've usually ordered the Chole Bhatura, which is simply-speaking a chickpea dish (chole) served with puffy bread (bhatura). It's insanely good. During my most recent visit, I ordered the Thali, which has a sampling of a variety of dishes. Hence, I've got a lot to talk about.

First, the item from the old visits. The Chole Bhatura. It's awesome. Highly tasty puffy flat bread, kind of like a Puri, but thicker and less bubble-like, with a bowl of spicy chickpeas in a tomato-based sauce. OMG this is good. I believe I ordered this 4 straight times from there once.. (that sort of consistency is rare for me). Great first item from there! Lots of food.

Now on to the stuff that came with the Thali. There was a choice of bread between puris and rotis. I chose the rotis.

Dal: Pretty good, but nothing compared to the incredible one at Shalimar, that's for sure. Madras Pavillion also had one that was better.. But this one is still highly edible... WAY better than those at Masala Wok and Rushi.

Spiced milky item: Don't have a name for this one, sorry. I guess it was something used for dipping... very liquidy... but tasty. I ended up mixing it into the white rice later on. Oh by the way, there was white rice.

Roti: Very nice. Pliable.. rollable... not as greasy as a puri or bhatura... Let's say this round bread certainly served well beyond the call of duty. Support the Rotis!

Eggplant item: Sigh... another case of my not knowing the name of a food. I need visit this place with one of my Gujarati friends next time. All right... so this was great, too. Kind of a spicy, dry mixture of eggplant, maybe some potato pieces (including perhaps some blue potato??), and some variety of lentil. A bit salty, but delicious.

Mattar Paneer: !!!!! Yes this was excellent! Like Madras Pavillion's in quality. Tops in Austin, both of them.

Papad: Standard. Not an important part of the meal... so no biggie.

Pakora things (I think): A bit dry inside for my taste.. Not entirely sure what these were. Good. Not great.

Rasmalai: I had a friendly heated argument with my friend at the restaurant, who said this was actually Gulab Jamun. After hitting him repeatedly, he finally conceded. That and I (loudly) asked the woman behind the counter. Anyway, the rasmalai was awesome. It's a dessert made of sweet ball things, soaked with and in a spiced cream of sorts. Were it not so good, I would have been more tempted to throw one of the balls at my friend.

Sweet raita?: I was surprised by this, because I don't expect raita to be sweet. I enjoyed it a lot... but .. was it really raita? Does anybody know? ... Is anybody out there?

Dosa: This wasn't part of the thali; I mooched of my friend's meal a bit. This was probably almost about as good as Madras Pavillion's.. though I've had only a few pieces at Swad, compared to many different varieties at MP. Anyway, that means it was great! So was the sambar that came with. Tomato chutney was pretty decent. Coconut chutney was... eh. Ok. I long for Rushi's.

Not that this should matter, but the pickle (not the American pickle) included with the thali was probably something I'll forget about soon. Just ok. Doesn't really matter.

In case there are any Swad employees reading this, I'd like to request that you put back the really funky tiger painting back on the north wall. It was cool.. and certainly better than nothing at all (which is what's up there now).

That is the scoupe. Swad. All vegetarian. Tiger picture missing. Obviously mouth-watering food. Service-robots. You must go! Any meal will do! You like it already! (I would hope)

Comments:
I might add that the "Mysore Masala Dosa" at Swad is a million times better than the dosa at Madras Pavillion. The "masala" or the stuffing in the dosa is extremely good and the dosa or rice crepe is also very-very good. The only problem is that their Sambhar and chutney are not that good. So, take the dosa from Swad and combine that with the sambhar and chutney from Madras Pavillion and you have one very authentic, super good dosa. I would also go so far as to suggest that probably all their dosa's are better than those at Madras Pavillion.
 
Good info. Again, I tried only leftover pieces of the dosa (sans any of the masala remaining). I need to experience some kind of "Dosa Madness" week where I have dosas at Swad, Madras Pavillion, and Rushi, with all the chutneys and sambars. Then the prefect dosa meal can be realized.
 
You have not truly lived until you have tried the Sev Potato Puri.

Seriously. It is totally like crack. I'm getting all itchy just thinking about it.
 
Wow... I must be in some pre-life state now. This crack at Swad shall be tried, to signify my entrance into the world.
 
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I have a theory about the blue potato. Its actually a type of yam, called kundh. And the dish is undhiya. And you're right. it's badass.
 
I visited Swad last week. They overcharged my credit card by $15. Those of you who pay by credit card at this restaurant be aware and save your receipt.
 
I too visited swad in Aug 2007, and I too had a bad exp. of getting overcharged in my credit card,they overcharged by 5 dollars.

Dont try Paneer dosa at all, since its a worst item over there.
 
Swad makes it very clear that non-indians pay a bigger price. I was overcharged as well and will not visit thier establishment again.
 
ooo... i am an eggplant super fan! sigh. i want the spicy eggplant sooooo badly right now. with rice.

Here I bought a sauce pack so as to skip all the seasonings! and i will try this friday after work.
http://yummiexpress.freetzi.com
 
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