In between the boisterous sports bars and dark Irish pubs of Murray Hill sits Vatan; a neighborhood staple known for its bejeweled elephant facade, thatched roof tables and the distinct vegetarian cuisine from the Indian state of Gujarat.

Vatan has only one menu, a $34 Prix Fixe that includes appetizer, entree and dessert all served thali style.  Guests can reorder as much as they would like and the entire vegetation menu is also available vegan, gluten free and nut free. Simply choose your drink of choice, spice level (entree only) then sit back and let the parade of food begin.

Appetizer thali:  Chana Masala~garbanzo beans spiced with onions and coriander,  Khaman~ puffed cream of wheat flour cake, Batatavada~ fried potato balls in chickpea flour batter, Mirchi Bhajia~fried hot pepper with garam masala, Sev Puri~ crispy bread filled with potatoes, garbanzo beans, yogurt & chutney; Ragda Patis~ potato cutlet in white bean sauce, Samosas~ savory pastries filled with spicy potatoes and green pea and Muthia~ steamed flour with spinach.  

The Sev Puri is always a crowd pleaser, with its contrasting textures of crispy and creamy; as are the delicately fried samosas with just a hint of spice.  But take heed when biting into the Mirchi Bhajia, this can pack in some serious heat.

To accompany the appetizers a tray of sauce including a sweet tamarind chutney, roasted garlic and spicy carrots.

Onto Entrée thali: Toor Dal~ boiled lentils in Indian spice, Bhaji~ sautéed spinach & corn, Ful-Cobi~ cauliflower & green pees sautéed in savory sauce, Batakanu Sak~ potatoes cooked in mild red gravy, Chole~ chickpeas cooked with garam masala, Puri~ puffed whole wheat bread, Papadam~ thin lentil wafers, Kheer~ rice pudding with dried fruit and Aam Rus~ mango pulp.

The entrée course is accompanied by Pulao~ boiled white rice with peas, Khichdi~ lentils mixed with rice and vegetables and Kadhi~ soup with yogurt and spiced chickpea flour.  Guests can choose either Puri or Roti to have with their meal, which is then used a vessel for all of these incredible thali's.

For dessert Gulab Jamun~ waffle balls in sugar & rose syrup; homemade Indian ice cream in mango and cardamom all served with hot Masala Chai.  A soothing and delicious way to close out a fantastic meal.

For only $34 this is one of the best dining values in the city and the perfect place to come with a large group of friends, out of town guests or even just a casual date night to be transported from the big city for a little while.

409 3rd Avenue at 29th Street
New York, NY 10016