Sunday, April 20, 2008

Woodlands Indian Vegetarian Cuisine

Nashville Restaurants and Food
Woodlands Indian Vegetarian Cuisine
3415 West End Ave.
Nashville
615-463-3005

It’s amazing to see a buffet where every item is carefully crafted and tasty. There are only a couple in Nashville that manage to take the buffet to a higher level. Woodlands Indian Vegetarian Cuisine is certainly one of them. The restaurant is tucked away on the bottom floor of an apartment building that sits perched at West End and 440.

The interior is a fairly pedestrian space. It manages a casual and homey feel. The staff was sampling the food before the lunch rush when we arrived. When that rush did come it was family after family and every one appeared Indian. That’s always a good sign at an ethnic restaurant. We’ve been to Woodlands a few times now and each time the food seems to get even better.
There’s a delicate touch to each dish. Masala Dosa bread comes out like a crisp crepe rolled up and filled with potato and onion. Spinach Pakora is light and crispy just like the fried lentil Medhu Vada donuts. The soups are simple and well balanced. The tomato is a light broth with just a hint of tomato and a real afterburner from whole chili peppers. The lentil veggie is savory and simple. The entrees move to heartier fare, like the Malai Kofta: veggie balls in a rich tomato based curry; or the Chana Palak made of chick peas and spices. Kadai Bendi Masala blends okra into a stew of mellow flavors. Pongal is like a rice casserole with lentils.

Veggie Eater: It is a wonderful day when I go out to eat someplace where I can have every single thing on the menu without a thought. No quiz show antics with the wait staff prior to ordering. It is a fabulous day when I get to eat at Woodlands. Once again, not very near us (what is near Joelton, anyways?). I literally sampled every single item from the buffet, minus the Americanized lettuce side salad. And I’ve got to tell you, the only item I didn’t like was some odd chutney thing (some sort of pickled something and lemon; sounded good in theory; wasn’t). There were no fewer than 8 chutneys and sauces available. Raita is smooth, calming. The mint chutney had a bit of fire. Tamarind to add a little sweetness and tang. A peach/mango combo. Well, you get the idea. 2 different fried apps to use all those chutneys and dips on. They brought us freshly prepared masala dosa; a delicate crepe surrounding a potato filling. Eric and I both like the Malai Kofta best; the veggie balls are in a silky red sauce. Multiple rice choices. At least 2 types of breads. The dessert balls in rose water were sublime. And then there was some sort of a yogurty, pudding like dessert thing which was also great. Even after all of that sampling, you don’t feel awful afterwards. I have to stop now so the meat eater is left something to report on.

Meat Eater: Apparently we’ve decided to stop using common conventions of the English language. Sums it up for me. Winner all around. Buffet only at lunch. Big menu to choose. Paid $29 with tax,tip.
Woodlands on Urbanspoon

8 comments:

Heather W. said...

We love this place...and the friendly staff is always a plus.

Lesley said...

Most of my omnivorous friends haven't missedt the meat at all. It's nice to have a southern Indian restaurant amidst all the tikka masala and tandoori joints. The dosas are so, so very good. As well as a bunch of other items you won't find on your standard Indian restaurant menu.

Eric and Katie said...

heather..the staff is really cool. I like the fact that they seem to enjoy the food they are getting ready to serve. lesley...I couldn't agree more...I really don't miss eating meat at this place. Quite frankly they do a better job with lentils then some places in town do with beef and chicken.

Lannae said...

Ditto! We love this place too! Coincidentally, I left a comment with Nicoleruns.blogspot.com (Powered by Veggies) about going to Woodlands. Nicole is a veggie eater who just moved to town. Maybe I should steer her to your blog post.

Eric and Katie said...

Lannae: The best part is that they seem to be getting some good business so hopefully they will be around for a while...

BP said...

One of my favorite restaurants in town...I am slowly but surely working my way through the very extensive menu...

Kozan Bob said...

I also appreciate the opening of a good vegetarian, authentic Indian restaurant; I've never quite been able to understand the chicken-only attitude toward meat in the other lunch buffets. I do have a question: My best previous experience with South Indian cuisine, from a religious Hindu vegetarian cook, was that it was very, very spicey. Woodlands is not; is this an authentic variatino; or is the food just really turned down for us consumers of grease and salt?

Eric and Katie said...

Kozan Bob: We don't know much about Indian cuisine, so your question prompted an internet search. Sounds like Southern Indian can go a number of different ways...Andhra is often vegetarian and more delicate...cuisine from Hyderabad and Tamil Nadu tend towards more spicy. Be interesting to see what the Woodlands folks most identify with. Here is a good website that breaks it down: http://www.indianfoodsco.com/Classes/SouthIndian.htm