Contrary to popular belief, people do exist north of 635. Surprising to some, there are vegans in that far away land. In an effort to reach out to our Northern comrades, I have ventured out of Dallas proper in an effort to expand the vegan experience for everyone.
The Shops at Legacy is about as far as I’m willing to venture, unless we’re talking road trip. There is an abundance of food options in this little village, including some interesting vegan fare. On this trip, we dined at Vijay Sadhu’s Sutra.
Starter options were a bit limited; the Bombay Samosa Chaat Garbanzo is the only vegan appetizer. I like samosas, but they are often bland and filled with just potatoes and peas (at home I make spicy red lentil samosas that ruin me for most restaurant versions). Happily, Sutra has updated the traditional dish to add cashews and pomegranate. This gave a more interesting and unique flavor, without straying so far away as to make it unrecognizable. I think it’s a good option for adventurers and purists alike. Sadly, the Cauliflower Kathmandu is not vegan. It’s made with dairy that cannot be substituted. The table next to me had ordered this and it looked yummy. I suggest a vegan option be devised for my return trip (this is a not so subtle hint).
There are plenty of vegetarian options available, as one would expect at an Indian restaurant, but only two dedicated vegan dishes. Mostly, the issue is paneer that is an integral part of the dish and not able to be eliminated. Always safe options are: Mixed Vegetable Kari and Potato and Cauliflower. Dal (Lentils) of the Day is a maybe option depending on the daily preparation, you’ll have to ask when you go in if it is vegan. Baby Eggplant is an alterable option; you must ask them to omit the cream.
I tried the Mixed Vegetable Kari and the Baby Eggplant. If you’re wondering… no, I have not worked up to Texas sized portion. I brought a friend so that I could try more things in one visit. Also, there was no suitable dessert option (insert pouty face here) so there was room for a few extra bites of entrée.
The Mixed Vegetable Kari was hearty and spicy (at my request) with the cardamom and fenugreek gathering together and emitting an amazing fragrance. Unlike other curry dishes, I didn’t need a lot of rice to thicken the sauce to an edible consistency. There were plenty of vegetables, as well, making this a two meal plate in my opinion. This was my favorite of the night. I was excited about the Baby Eggplant when ordering, but less so when it arrived. There were only 3 baby eggplants swimming in a pool of thin sauce. My impression was heightened by the flavor of the coconut and tamarind (mmmmmm) sauce, but this is clearly something to order when you are barely hungry or plan on filling up with rice. I didn’t see anyone order the Potato and Cauliflower, but I do love cauliflower and masala so it will be on my “to do” list when I make another Northern trek.
Bottom line: Sutra is good Indian food that walks the line between traditional and culinary experimentation. It is definitely a good pick for lunch, in my opinion.