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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Another visit to Kusum Foods

kusumpeas

Blackeyed pea curry

Over the weekend I had a meal from the tired Indian buffet at Bay Leaves restaurant on Lawrenceville Highway in Decatur. It was…depressing. I chewed on my rubbery tandoori chicken wings, pulled limp cucumbers from the salad and ate what I needed to fill my stomach. Some rice, chickpeas, chicken tikka masala, pappadums and chutney…enough.

There’s something about sad Indian food that is the saddest food of all. It is the food equivalent of a bad recording of an old Leadbelly ballad played on a scratchy 1970’s school phonograph for a roomful of children who aren’t listening. It sings a fiery song that has been tamed through apathy and neglect.

And so I needed good Indian food to take the flavor out of my mind. The other day I was picking up my car from the shop in Decatur’s Indian restaurant row when I drove by Kusum Foods and remembered enjoying it soon after it opened in October. I ordered a quick meal to go and was really happy with the Styrofoam smorgasbord that I unwrapped at home. The restaurant serves a daily-changing roster of vegetarian Gujarati food that stands apart from the mostly South Indian fare in Decatur. A mere $4.99 bought two curries, rice, tangy dal (lentil soup) and three of the nicest imaginable roti flatbreads — tender, flaky, brushed with sweet butter.

yogurt curry with gram flour dumplings

yogurt curry with gram flour dumplings

I really loved both curries. The blackeyed pea version (above) had a spicy gravy shot through with nigella — a black seed that has the musky flavor of cumin. The yogurt curry (right) was served warm and held tender dumplings made from gram (chickpea) flour. It was like a subcontinental matzoh ball soup.

True, this is one of those vegetarian Indian meals that consists of starch, starch and — look! more starch! But it was absolutely satisfying and so different from the South Indian or Indo-Pak menus around town.

I’m not sure this modest spot — with its laminated plastic booths and baby blue walls the color of a disreputable daycare center — would be worth a crosstown drive. But if you’re in the area and can deal with an all-veg menu, I’d definitely check it out.  It sure got me over my tandoori wing blues.

Kusum Foods: 2899 C North Decatur Road (but facing DeKalb Industrial Boulevard, in the Kroger-anchored strip shopping center), 404-296-3338. Closed Mondays.

11 comments Add your comment

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Vegetarian News and Vegan Dream, Cathy Brickman. Cathy Brickman said: Another visit to Kusum: Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) The restaurant serves a daily-changing roster of veget… http://bit.ly/7RKgi4 [...]

Mister Teacher Man

January 21st, 2010
8:35 am

John

January 21st, 2010
9:37 am

Mr. Teacher Man = fail.

[...] Go here to read the rest: Another visit to Kusum Foods | Food and More with John Kessler [...]

AMB

January 21st, 2010
2:03 pm

Just ate a takeaway lunch from Kusum. Yummy, tangy, spicy. Very reasonably priced.

The Cynthia

January 22nd, 2010
8:33 am

Typo, third paragraph, third sentence. ‘order’

John Kessler

January 22nd, 2010
11:36 am

Thanks, Cynthia. Appreciate it

Smiling Joe is always Smiling

January 22nd, 2010
1:56 pm

this town so desperately needs a great northern indian restaurant

Louis Prima

January 23rd, 2010
11:44 am

If you’re out Stone Mountain way…and take the first exit past the mountain, (on hwy. 78 heading east, but I can’t remember street’s name…look for a pretty big Wall Mart center to the north nearby) there’s a really really good (vegetarian) Indian buffet called MGR.

Louis Prima

January 23rd, 2010
5:18 pm

MGR (just east of Stn. Mtn.in a Wall Mart shopping center) has a very good quality vegetarian buffet.

[...] had another really satisfying vegetarian Gujurati lunch at Kusum Foods today. Order the daily Thali ($7.49, tax inclusive) and they serve you whatever they have prepared [...]