Where’s the beef? Not at Pabla Veggie Cuisine

December 4, 2008

By Tim Pfarr

I’m not a vegetarian. In fact, I love meat. Chicken, pork, beef, turkey, fish – I’ll take it all. But dining at Pabla Veggie Cuisine, I began to question my priorities. If any one place can prove that animals don’t have to die to make food delicious, it’s this all-vegetarian Indian restaurant.

On a quiet evening, a vegetarian friend and I were greeted by a polite and friendly server, and shown a table near a window. The art on the walls, lavender table cloths and small bouquets of flowers on each table made for a pleasant atmosphere.

For one unfamiliar with Indian food, the extensive menu may be daunting at first – with 67 different food items to choose from, you may not know where to begin. Fortunately, each item contains a description detailing its elements. Single dishes are $12.99 or less with Pabla Thali specials (for those who dine in only) costing $15.99 or $16.99. Many dishes can also be made without the use of dairy products on request. Every dish can be made mild, medium or hot on the spicy scale.

We opted to split two dishes cooked mild: kofta dilbahar (No. 43 on the menu for $10.99), which features potato balls stuffed with dried fruits, and mattar paneer (No. 45 on the menu for $9.99), which features homemade fried cheese cubes, green peas and Indian spices. We also ordered garlic nan (delicious bread for $2.99) on the side and two lassis (milkshake-like drinks containing yogurt, $3.99 each). Before long, our food was brought to us with the large lassis, and we began our veggie-tastic voyage.

It quickly became apparent that this was no ordinary vegetarian food – both dishes came submersed in tasty orange sauce alongside a dish of basmati rice. We began our meal by laying a foundation of rice and adding bits of our dishes as toppings.

From the first bite, I feared I would never eat meat again – the chewy potato balls hit the spot and the cheesy cubes complemented them nicely. My friend actually described the potato balls as “stuffed with deliciousness.” Perhaps her language was questionable, but her thoughts were in the right place. After our meals were complete, we washed it all down with our delectable, smooth lassis.

However, one should use caution when selecting whether a dish be cooked mild, medium or hot. As a spicy lightweight, I opted for the mild, fearing a more ambitious decision would result in my tongue disintegrating or spontaneously catching fire. This decision turned out to be beneficial as only hints of spiciness were apparent in the dishes.

Throughout the course of the evening, the waiter was very attentive, always returning to fill our water glasses on a moment’s notice. This coupled with the extraordinary cuisine was almost enough to make one want to move in across the street. But if you’re not ready to do that, you can always settle for takeout and catering.

If you go

Pabla Veggie Cuisine

1420 N.W. Gilman Blvd., No. N3
Lunch buffet – 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily; dinner 5-10 p.m. daily
Lunch buffet: $9.99; dinner entrees/breads/sides/specials/desserts range from $1.99 to $16.99

    Reach intern Tim Pfarr at 392-6434 or isspress@isspress.com.

    Restaurant reviews are a regular feature of The Issaquah Press. Reviewers visit restaurants unannounced and pay in full for their meals.

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