Thali Too Earns Its Degree

| September 19, 2012

The marvelous aromas engulfing the air around Thali Too bring unsuspecting wanderers to their doorstep with the skill of a snake charmer.  Located in the heart of the Yale campus, in New Haven, Connecticut, Thali Too offers innovative cuisine to scores of college students, professors and locals alike. The brainchild of celebrated Chef Prasad Chirnomula, Thali Too will have you re-thinking vegetarian food. Chef Prasad, honored by the New York Times, the James Beard Foundation and endless publications, takes an extremely innovative approach to crafting unique vegetarian dishes that will have even the staunchest meat eaters reconsidering their carnivorous ways.

Offering delicious cuisine from virtually all regions of India, Thali Too is delivering an experience that has developed a tremendously loyal following. Fun, high-energy and full of Indian culture, the ambiance that has been created is welcoming and sets the stage for a great experience. With a hip, upscale feel, it is a pleasant surprise to find a very reasonably priced menu that reflects the budget constraints of college students. Without a single dish to be found exceeding $10, it is affordable by almost any measure. But don’t let that fool you; this is extremely high quality, gourmet vegetarian and vegan cuisine, that is appropriate for almost any occasion.

Featuring a Lassi Bar which boasts a delicious array of the ever popular yogurt drinks (ten flavors), as well as an inspired cocktail list, Chef Prasad innovates at every turn. The flavors and spices used in the dishes offered are combined in mesmerizingly exotic perfection without being overpowering. Take the Pagoda (grilled eggplant, tofu and spinach with a garlic tomato sauce) as an example. Presented with the expertise of a 4-star restaurant, this dish was an exquisite array of flavors, with each component cooked to perfection. Execution, an A+! The ever popular Dosa is available in a wide array of varieties and is prepared with a master’s hand. In this case… size does matter. The Dean’s Dosa, a savory, crispy rice-and-lentil tube, served with turmeric seasoned potatoes, coconut chutney and other dipping sauces, was unforgettable. Somewhere between four and five feet long, this monstrosity, listed as an appetizer, is a snack that needs a zip code.  If that’s not enough to get your mouth watering, take a look at the Rice Bar and build your own bowl. This is another unique innovation from Chef Prasad that allows you to pick rice, or noodles and add toppings like shitake mushrooms, snow peas, roasted eggplant, cauliflower, paneer, or almonds, just to name a few. Top it off with the Manchurian, Chili Garlic, Hot Black Bean, or any of the other sauces that inspire you and head to the races. This is a menu that is designed to deliver exactly what you want and satisfy. Try indulging in one of their famous ‘street vendor-style snacks’ like the Paneer Sashlik (grilled paneer cheese and toasted garlic hummus) or the Onion Bhajia (crisp red onion and split pea dusted fritters). Want something a bit saucier? Check out the classic and expertly prepared Saag Paneer (garlic spinach and cottage cheese cubes with fenugreek), or the Baigan Bhurtha (charcoal smoked eggplant, smashed and cooked with tomatoes and green peas) and mop it up with one of the made-to-order breads like the Masala Onion Cheddar Paratha (whole wheat paratha with spiced onions and cheddar cheese) or the Dehati Roti (chopped onion, whole wheat and flour chapathi). It is next to impossible to go wrong on this menu. The dishes are exquisitely prepared and the well trained wait staff will make you feel like a king.

If you are new to eating Indian food, Thali Too is a great place to go and experience new dishes.  It is a fun to go with a large group of people because you will want to try everything on the menu and the beauty of it is that it is affordable enough to do just that. Be it a date, dinner with a friend, or even by yourself, you are sure to be satisfied. Perfectly cooked, perfectly seasoned – welcome to the new frontier.