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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bombay Sweets' Vegetarian Delights

Top East Indian cuisine for a low price

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Many people like Bombay Sweets for its simplicity: There is no table service, plates and cutlery are made of plastic, and the offerings are strictly vegetarian. The food is very good—some of the very best East Indian cuisine in the area—and the prices are very low. You can get a full tray of food for $10.

Improvements have been made to the dining area over the years. Formica tabletops are now topped with sequined embroideries and glass, and the light fixtures add a touch of elegance. Glass display counters are filled with Indian snacks and sweets, a bit like an Indian version of Buddy Squirrel. You'll find jumbo cashews seasoned with exotic spice blends and ultra-sweet desserts for about $1 each.

Instead of being on a printed menu, everything is listed on a large wall sign. There are more than 50 items to choose from, including many items that are not found at other local Indian restaurants.

Start with samosa (75 cents each). These big turnovers, filled with gently spiced potatoes and peas, are served warm from the kitchen. Be sure to order one of the breads. Poori is very simple, a slightly puffy wheat bread. Gobhi parotha ($2.50) is a bit more complex, with spiced cauliflower added to the batter. Curries tend to be a bit watery; the flatbreads are useful for sopping up the extra sauce. Dahi poori ($3.50) is an unusual snack that takes a “kitchen sink” approach. This offering features many small poori that are fried until crisp. They are then topped with bits of potato and yogurt, along with sauces of mint and tamarind. The flavors vary widely, including the sweetness of tamarind and mint laced with hot pepper, but somehow it all works—an Indian version of Tex-Mex nachos.

The entrees offer some interesting gluten-free possibilities. Idli sambhar ($3.99) is three patties of ground lentils served with a cup of sambhar and coconut chutney. Sambhar is a spiced vegetable broth. The coconut chutney offers even better, more complex flavor. Raj mah ($4.99) is a watery curry with kidney beans, a delightful liquid sauce of tomato with ginger and undertones of hot chile pepper. The Punjabi potato curry ($4.99) is a nearly identical sauce. The curries are served with a very simple pilaf of long-grained basmati rice.

Diners also will find a few rice dishes. Lemon rice ($3.50) is colored a brilliant lemon yellow. It has numerous peanuts, which are cooked until they are nearly soft, plus a few cashews. It makes a good side item.

The lack of meat makes this place a vegetarian's delight. And the plastic forks and spoons allow the restaurant to retain its low prices. If you enjoy the spices of India and things vegetarian, Bombay Sweets is a must to visit.

Bombay Sweets

3401 S. 13th St.

(414) 383-3553

$

Handicap accessible

bombaysweetsmilwaukee.com

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