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Friday, April 20, 2012

Dining with the Deities. Gokul's on Page. Vegan Indian Eats in St. Louis.

Ganesh overlooks the buffet.
Gokul's on Page is our favorite Indian joint in town.  And both locations have "Vegan Night" every single Monday Now!!!!  Guess the "every other Monday" was so popular that they expanded it! Vegans Rule!! Gokul's Website.

6101 Delmar Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63112

Page Avenue (this post is about the PAGE location!)

10633/B Page Avenue

St. Louis, MO 63132


They have buffet all the time.......which is a major turn-off to some, but heaven to others.  Since they generally have a lot of vegan choices any day of the week, we always choose buffet.  But there are lots that go & order off the menu because Gokul's offers up some mean "chaat" (savory Indian Snacks) items & other great Indian eats.  


On Vegan night, everything is vegan.  Meaning all the "milk" dishes are made with either coconut or soymilk.  The Korma is wonderful & love it when there are huge pieces of sweet potato.  This is part of the "Snacky Snack" bar, which I don't frequent.  Lots of Papadums (my fave, but usually has some wheat & not free from a fair amount of oil), fruit salad (which can be hit or miss depending on if the fruit is ripe), onions (which I have learned to adore raw, on almost any Indian dish), Rice Puddings, and more.  Lots of "Crunchy Crunch" stuff.  Fried flour.  Delicious I am sure, but think, Indian Potato Chips or Indian Chex Mix, kind of.  I think it's addictive because it seems like a fair amount of people spend more time at the "Snacky Chaat" bar than the actual "Bean" bar.  

Chutneys (mint & tamarind) and more snacky snacks-fried flour!

Potato Palace.  My hubby loves all things potatoes and Indian Cuisine does it right.  And Cauliflower (Gobi).  

This night they had a "Veg Manchurian".  Sometimes they infuse a bit of Indo-China in their food.  And the dishes vary.  They usually have a Sambar, potato dish, Chana Masala,  two types of "dals", the naan, etc...but often the 2 dishes on the left (mains) will change.  Sometimes all zucchini based, or sweet potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, basically whatever was in season or on sale. Oh, and often Saturdays have Dosas.  The most delightful Rice & Lentil Crepe, nice and thin, with a spicy potato filling.  I fight for these.  If the Dosa spot is empty, we simply have to wait until a few more arrive, and then it's a mad rush between the true Dosa Lovers, and this Dosa Dame usually gets at least part of her fix.......Anupy's New "Vegan Indian" book had better include a few dosas, because I truly go through withdrawl.  They are "my chaat". Also Love the eggplant dishes, but eggplant kind of absorbs the oil bigtime and I personally am just not that big of a fan of oil.

I am a big fan of the deities however.

This is where my hubby and dad are just bad.  They get those pakoras (breaded & fried veggies that are amazingly spiced) and then they go and get more pakoras.  And Fried Rice instead no rice or just the plain rice.  Very bad.......

More fried yumminess.  I never know what is inside any of the fried stuff, plus that varies as well.  Hubby usually has some of all of it.  Since we never have fried or breaded anything, he just can't resist any crispy type of Indian spiced type of anything. I think the legume in the front is a pigeon pea, but not sure. It's another "staple". 

Love how they have "Farina".  And Naan.  Usually Naan at Indian joints is NOT vegan.  And same with this one.  Unless you go on "Vegan Night", their Naan is only vegetarian.  However, no matter when you go, they will offer you (if they know you are vegan) some Vegan Naan.  Just let them know!

Their Channa Masala tends to be pretty good.  Always different, but generally quite yummy.  Sometimes very rich in ginger, other times high in the chili department.  A big fan.  Channa Masala is kind the of the "steak & potatoes" of an Indian place to me.  It's the standard thing they have (in addition to dal) in pretty  much every Indian restaurant in the States.  Rajma on the other hand, not so much.  I adore Rajma.  Rajma is "kidney bean".  And the dish Rajma is an incredible, and for lack of a better way to describe it, "Indian Chili".  I guess "Chili" because American Chili uses Kidney beans and can be heavily spiced.  Anupy's book (The Indian Slow Cooker) has 2 great Rajma recipes and my fave of all time is "Dad's Rajma".  Gokul Rajma is plenty good too.  And also not always the typical buffet dish everywhere.  Gokul's also frequently has Dal Makhani-the black lentil dish, which is divine.

Unlike the Delmar location, this place doesn't get too insanely busy.  We went several times to their Loop location, but it just wasn't as low key as the Page location.  And the servers are just lovely!

Real Plates & Silverware.  A decade ago they were all about styrofoam, when they were more "chaat" and less "dinner".  I loathed the styrofoam!  But that era is over and Gokul's has real everything-simple, but it is real!  You can also usually get fresh coconut or vegan mano lassi (just tell them to make it with soy).

This location is also just "more Indian".  Decked out with deities, they have Indian music playing, Indian circulars & they celebrate Indian Holidays.  The Loop location is wonderful, but the last time we went it had CNN & no deities and no Indian music.  Maybe this has changed.  It was also packed (the Loop location), so packed that the buffet was running out of food.  The Page location is so much lower key, and even if it's packed, the vibe is just more relaxed.  They both have great food........the Page location is just much more relaxing, at least to us.  And it's next to SEEMA, an Indian Grocery, which you will need to go to as soon as you have Anupy Singla's book.

The outside doesn't do it justice!!  But the inside gives a different "vibe" than the outside suggests.  This place is so easy to "pass", even if you are looking for it!! It is next to one of those "check cashing" or something like this-places and there are no "big" signs right at the road.  So pay attention when driving!

Gokul 100% Vegetarian on Urbanspoon

And on the front:

Every rescue is different, but this is kind of standard.  They often involve Pj on her belly, crawling under something.  Often the homes are not actually occupied and standing and GPG was lucky enough that the owner of the house was so kind to allow GPG on the property and he even helped with Daiya's rescue.  All rescues are in East St. Louis (or Washington Park, Illinois).  Pj had just heard about Daiya cheeze because she was talking about foods her mum could eat.  Her mum is dealing with some heart issues so was letting her know that lots of peeps like Daiya and that it is cholesterol & dairy free.  She wanted me to spell it so she could look for it.  And a few days later, it was the first thing that popped into her head when Daiya had to have a name upon arrival to the vet!  So a dog named after vegan cheeze.  Daiya is a sweetheart and is still recovering, but will be available for adoption in a couple of months.

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