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Udupi a vegetarian delight.

Byline: Christine Thompson

COLUMN: DINING REVIEW

In an incongruous setting, a storefront in a strip mall strip mall
n.
A shopping complex containing a row of various stores, businesses, and restaurants that usually open onto a common parking lot.

Noun 1.
, you will find Udupi, a restaurant serving strictly vegetarian cuisine from southwest India. The interior is brightly lit, almost austere in its simplicity, with a few Indian pictures and artifacts artifacts

see specimen artifacts.
 near the entrance. The linen-covered tables with glass tops are spaciously placed.

The host greeted us as we came in and seated us immediately. The waiter brought menus and gave us a short time to look them over before he took the order. He was helpful and very good at describing dishes as we asked questions about the menu. He explained that Udupi is a town in southern India known for its temples and vegetarian cuisine.

Wanting to sample as many dishes as possible, my friend and I ordered two of the combination plates offered as house specialties. Hers was the Udupi special ($13.50), mine was the Mysore royal thali Thali (Hindi: थाली meaning plate) is an Indian meal with contents varying from one regional cuisine to another. A thali is a selection of different dishes, usually served in small bowls on a round tray.  ($15; Mysore, another city in the Karnataka region, was the former capital of a kingdom). A thali is a large platter that holds several small bowls or containers of the many foods that comprise the meal.

Not realizing how much food would come with the thali, we ordered soup ($2.75) and garlic naan ($3) to start. The tomato soup was one of my favorite dishes of the evening. A thick puree pu·rée or pu·ree  
tr.v. pu·réed or pu·reed, pu·rée·ing or pu·ree·ing, pu·rées or pu·rees
To rub through a strainer or process (food) in a blender.

n.
, it had a silky texture and a complex, slightly smoky flavor. This dish is worth another trip to Udupi. The rasam This article is about the South Indian soup.

(Tamil: ரச‌ம்,Rasam)(Kannada: Saaru; Telugu: Chaaru; is a South Indian soup. It is prepared mainly with the juices of tamarind or tomato with pepper and other spices.
 soup was also very good. It had a thin, spicy, tomato-based broth with vegetables. The naan was very crisp, thinner than the naan I've had previously; I missed the soft, more chewy chew·y  
adj. chew·i·er, chew·i·est
Needing much chewing: chewy candy.



chewi·ness n.
 texture I've come to associate with this kind of bread.

Two appetizers were included with the thali, a cutlet made of minced vegetables, shaped into a patty and fried, and a vegetable samosa sa·mo·sa  
n.
A small fried turnover of Indian origin that is filled with seasoned vegetables or meat.



[Hindi samos
. We both liked the flavor of the cutlet. The filling in the samosa, a mix of potatoes and peas, was delicious, but the dough was too thick, even hard on the bottom. Two sauces were presented with my appetizers: a sweet-sour tamarind tamarind (tăm`ərĭnd), tropical ornamental evergreen tree (Tamarindus indica) of the family Leguminosae (pulse family), native to Africa and probably to Asia, but now widely grown in the tropics.  sauce and a sweet and slightly hot mint-chile pesto which had a cooling effect. Each one added another layer of flavor to these dishes.

The appetizers with the Udupi special were mehdu vada, a fried lentil lentil, leguminous Old World annual plant (Lens culinaris) with whitish or pale blue flowers. Its pods contain two greenish-brown or dark-colored seeds, also called lentils, which when fully ripe are ground into meal or used in soups and stews.  doughnut, and iddly, a steamed rice and lentil patty. Both of these were very bland in flavor. They came with two other accompaniments: a light green, tart yogurt sauce and sambar, a stew with potatoes, tomatoes, squash, eggplant and a few other vegetables. The seasoning of the sambar was complex: coriander coriander (kōr'ēăn`dər), strong-smelling Old World annual herb (Coriandrum sativum) of the family Umbelliferae (parsley family), cultivated for its fruits. , cumin cumin or cummin (both: kŭm`ĭn), low annual herb (Cuminum cyminum) of the family Umbelliferae (parsley family), long cultivated in the Old World for the aromatic seedlike fruits.  and chilies, to name a few.

In addition to the iddly and vada, the Udupi special included vegetable uthappam, rice and lentil pancakes with a vegetable filling made from tomatoes, peas and carrots. It was served with chutney chut·ney  
n.
A pungent relish made of fruits, spices, and herbs.



[Hindi can
 and a small dish of sambar. Both of us liked this dish.

I was surprised at how much food came on the thali. In the center there was a large bowl of steamed white rice and next to it a large, soft roti to dip in food along with papad, a round, paper thin, crisp cracker that added a contrast in texture to the other dishes. Several small dishes were arrayed around the edge. The special rice was cooked very smooth with coconut and vegetables. Some of the others were kootu, a vegetable and yellow lentil dish, sambar, chana and avial, two curry dishes: one made of chickpeas, the other primarily vegetables. In addition, there was a small dish of rasam, the soup we had already tried, a delicious plain yogurt, tart and cooling, and a pickled chile condiment that was blazing hot.

Also included on the thali was a warm dessert that we both loved, vermicelli vermicelli: see pasta.  cooked in milk with raisins and cashews. Think about the comfort of rice pudding.

Tea was included with the price of the meals. Alcohol is not served, but diners can bring their own.

The total cost of our meal was $34.65. I consider it a great value. I would definitely recommend this restaurant to friends.

Udupi

378 Maple Ave., Shrewsbury

* * *

(508) 459-5099

www.udupi.us

Hours: Monday and Wednesday-Friday, lunch 11:30 to 3 p.m., dinner 5 to 9:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; closed on Tuesday

Reservations: Not required

Parking: Large lot at the strip mall

Credit Cards: Visa, MasterCard

Prices: Low to moderate, $5 to 15

Pluses: Very good service, excellent tomato soup and vermicelli dessert

Minuses: Naan not as good as at other Indian restaurants

About the Stars

Perfection: * * * *

Very Good: * * *

Good: * *

Below Par: *

Serious Flaws: No stars

Restaurant reviews are the opinions of reviewers based upon at least one visit to the restaurant. The reviewer is accompanied by at least one companion. Recommendations from readers about restaurants they would like to have reviewed are welcome.
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Article Type:Restaurant review
Date:Apr 30, 2009
Words:831
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