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Curried Cuisine

veggie food
Christopher Gardner

Temperate Zone: Swagat specializes in aromatic but not fiery fare.

Swagat explores both southern
and northern India

By Judi Blackwell

LOCATED, as are so many fine but unassuming ethnic eateries, in an unobtrusive shopping center, Swagat specializes in southern and northern Indian cuisine, with a traditional and extensive menu long on herbivorous dishes, ranging from a simple curried potato and cauliflower entree to Madras specialties such as andra dosa, a crepe made of moong bean flour, onions and chiles.

On our most recent visit to the popular Indian restaurant chain, unable to decide on appetizers, we opted for the assorted vegetable pakora platter ($3) and were quite pleased with the results. Deep-fried in a mildly spiced batter, the intensely rich vegetables were terrific--tender and not too greasy.

There was no question my dinner companion would order the malia kofta ($7.95), his favorite option at Indian restaurants. The spicy vegetable balls made of julienned carrots, fresh basil, peas and potatoes arrived in a delicately blended cream sauce, well-cooked and generously seasoned. He opted for dinner, instead of a la carte, so the entree came with enough side dishes to easily satisfy two: the vegetable curry of the day, dal, sambar (lentil soup), raita (homemade yogurt with onion, tomatoes and cucumber), basmati rice, nan (bread made in a tandoori oven) and papadam.

Another meal of eggplant curry ($7.95) offered tender, well-seasoned eggplant, onions and tomatoes cooked in a mild spices, hinting at a strong dose of asafetida. Meanwhile, the sambar, a creamy lentil soup delicately flavored with vegetables and lots of cilantro, met with approval, though not wild applause.

Having dined at several of Swagat's other restaurants (Mountain View, Santa Cruz, Concord), I continue to marvel at how the kitchen's temperate use of spices and aromatic vegetarian specialties uphold the unmistakable company signature.

Swagat is located at 68 S. Abel St., Milpitas. Open daily 11am­10pm; buffet lunch daily, 11:30am­2:30pm.

Send tips to Vegging Out at 550 S. First St., San Jose, 95113, or email to [email protected]

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From the January 9-15, 1997 issue of Metro

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