There are few things I'll drive out east for. I'm a Midtowner with a fair amount of Midtown pretentiousness. If you're not from around here, that just means I live in a hip, kinda edgy neighborhood in the city core, and I avoid the suburbs like the plague. If it involves the interstate, it's probably not worth it. But sadly, the best Indian food in Memphis is way, way out in the 'burbs. Midtown has a few Indian restaurants, but they're all North Indian places. And I'm into the fried dosa goodness of South Indian cuisine.
So I'll drive 20 minutes or more to get decent South Indian food. And last week, I discovered perhaps the most authentic, most delicious South Indian restaurant in town. It's called Curry Bowl, and they offer a large number of vegetarian dishes on their dinner menu and a veg-heavy lunch buffet. I met my friend Leslie there on Friday for lunch, and we both polished off two plates from the buffet.
Here's my first plate - Masala Dosa (seasoned potatoes inside a crepe-like dosa), Mirchi Pakora (fried jalapeno), onion pakora (fried onions), Duros (crunchy pinwheels), Sambar (veggie soup), Lemon Pickle, and Mint and Ginger Chutneys.
And here's my second - Gobi Manchurian (cauliflower fritters), Lentil Dal, Basmati Rice, Vegetable Biryani (veggie rice), Eggplant Masala Curry, Tamarind Chutney, and Coconut Chutney. Also, I think those fried balls were Vada Doughnut Holes, but I could be wrong. And I also had one of those hamburger bun/chickpea half-sandwiches commonly eaten as chaat (street food snacks), but I don't know what that's called.
A note on my dining philosophy: I don't ask lots of questions when I eat out, especially in places where there's already a language barrier. So I use my eyes to try and determine what's vegan and what isn't. Sometimes, I'm wrong. I'm not sure if ghee (clarified butter) was used in any of the dishes I ate on Friday. I hope not, but you never can tell. Anyway, just putting that out there as a disclaimer. Should you choose to dine at Curry Bowl, keep that in mind.
By the way, I'm hosting a class at Vida Vegan Con 2015 in Austin on the ethics of vegan dining and drinking. And we'll be delving into these very issues!
Curry Bowl is located at 4141 Hacks Cross. Call 901-207-6051.