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Subcontinental Consciousness

vegetarian food
Christopher Gardner

Beautiful Dal: Sue's offers many choices for the vegetarian palate.

The vegetarian cuisine
of India shines at Sue's

By Judi Blackwell

CONSIDERING INDIA is a country where the majority practices vegetarianism religiously and where delicious vegetarian dishes are to be found under every proverbial bush, it's no surprise that Indian restaurants tend to be an herbivore's first choice when exploring ethnic cuisine. Unfortunately, quite a few of the Indian restaurants in the Bay Area tend to cater to the carnivorous American diet, specializing in dozens of meat dishes and very few with only vegetables and grain. Not so at Sue's Indian Cuisine, where the vegetarian entrees outnumber the chicken and lamb dinners, with satisfying results.

Housed in a cramped space with outdoor seating, Sue's is simply adorned with black tables and white linens, startling pink walls and ample Indian accents. Soothing sitar music continuously plays in the background, while waiters bustle about refilling water glasses needed to calm scorched palates.

The dozen vegetarian entrees range from spicy vegetable curries and malai kofta to creamy paneers and masala. Full dinners are served with pilau rice, nan bread, dal and raita. The dal--the Indian version of yellow split peas, though somewhat smaller in size--complements the sweet pilau rice extremely well when mixed together.

Among the dinners, the malai kofta ($10.95) scores the highest points, although the portions are extremely small. The spicy vegetable balls, made of julienned carrots, fresh basil, peas and potatoes, arrive in a delicately blended sauce, topped with almond slivers. While the mattar paneer ($9.95), a creamy concoction of fresh peas and tender homemade cottage cheese cubes, proved to be moderately spiced and delightfully hearty, the palak paneer ($9.95), a blend of spinach and the same homemade cottage cheese cubes, proved underwhelming and unchallenging. A delightful blend of potato and cauliflower, the allo gobi ($9.95) was so perfect with nan bread and pilau rice that the meal could have begun and ended at this point.

Sue's Indian Cuisine is located at 895 Willow St., San Jose (408/993-8730) and 216 Castro St., Mountain View (415/969-1122).

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

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From the October 24-30, 1996 issue of Metro

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