Plant Worship

2007.Jul.07 Saturday · 1 comment

in Restaurants

“Tulasi is most beloved of Lord Krishna and thus her leaves and flowers are also most dear to Him.”

– Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura

Tulasi - katchouri, samosa, and lassiBuenos Aires – One is taking a big chancewith the powers that be when naming their restaurant after one of the most holy icons of Hinduism. The Ocimum tenuiflorum, better known as holy basil, or, in this case, Tulasi, Av. Marcelo T. de Alvear 628 Local 28, in the Gallería del Este, Retiro, 4313-4026. Of course, if you hide yourself away, at the level of difficulty that this place was to find, perhaps your risk is minimized. We actually stopped in at the “food court” in the same galleria and inquired, and no one had ever heard of the place. It turned out to be on the floor above the food court, in virtually the same spot. The galeria itself can be entered off of the little plaza at the foot of the Calle Florida pedestrian mall, or from the side on Maípu. It’s a small spot, looking more like a takeout counter with a few tables… well, actually, that’s what it is. They also offer delivery and catering. [Closed in 2009.]

Tulasi - koftas in tomato curry with riceAnd, what do they offer in the name of the holy basil plant? Indian vegetarian food, prepared by Ariel Blanco, who has spent the last twenty years studying the art and putting together this restaurant which is clearly a labor of love. Not only vegetarian, but organic as well, open for lunch Monday through Saturday, and on into the early evening on weekdays. The menu offers a nice range of dishes, with just over a dozen Indian specialties, and half a dozen more generic vegetarian dishes – seitan sandwiches, vegetable tarts, salads. Of course, I was there to check out his Indian offerings…

Tulasi - raitaI started off with a duo of a delicious vegetable stuffed samosa along with a bean and lentil filled katchouri spiked with ginger. A nice glass of freshly made lassi, a yogurt drink laced with a touch of rosewater, made a good pairing to the tasty little snacks. A dish of a sweet and sour sauce for dipping accompanied – a bit more on the sweet side than I tend to like, but not bad. Followed that up with a plate of koftas, deep fried vegetable balls in a tomato curry sauce with turmeric rice that was really quite good, and a salad of raita, that wasn’t what I was thinking it would be – I guess I’m used to more of the side dish of cucumbers in yogurt and mint – apparently there’s a more general use of the term that essentially means salad… or so it was explained to me. Either way, this was a delicious salad of shredded cabbage and other fresh vegetables in a sesame yogurt dressing – and it’s big enough to be a main course on its own, and one which I’d be inclined to recommend exactly for that on a day when you’re in the mood for a lighter meal.

Overall, high points for good food, passion for cooking, truly inexpensive prices, a bit of eye candy behind the counter… well, we’ll leave that for another story.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

ksternberg July 8, 2007 at 12:09

Wow! I want it I want it I want it I want it! This food looks delicious enough to create a religious experience. That shot of rice on one side and red something on the other seems very tasty. I could live on Indian food.

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