Bear Vs. Vada Pav – Challenge #1 @ Mithaas
This is the first post in a series where Curry Bear will fight a vadapav (the Indian Burger for all you non-desi folks reading this). And by fight a vadapav, I mean eat a vadapav all across America to see which one tastes the best. And by best, I mean which vadapav in America comes close to the yummy ones you get back in India. Why am I doing this? I’m doing it because like many desis, I constantly get cravings for Indian food. My mouth starts watering when I think of pav bhaji, vadapav, samosa, bhel puri & countless other Indian street snacks. Even now as I’m typing this I’m picturing the yummy taste of a vadapav sandwiched in a bread filled with green chutney and spicy red chutney. The problem is that no matter what restaurant I go to, none of them can satisfy the craving. I take one bite & get disappointed in the taste. My mind still remembers the delicious, savory taste of pav bhaji at Juhu Beach or the vadapav I used it eat at school. I decided it was time to journey across America & find the best vadapav. Why the vadapav? Because it’s fucking delicious, that’s why! Don’t let the picture fool you. Curry Bear doesn’t eat a vadapav with a fork and a knife. He eats it with his bear hands.
I started my vadapav hunt at the little Indian strip in Jersey City, NJ known as Newark Ave. There are plenty of Indian restaurants here so I had quite a few choices. I decided to go with a restaurant called Mithaas. I picked this place because it was right next to where I parked and I didn’t want to cross the street & get hit by a Camry driven recklessly by some Indian aunty.
I walk into Mithaas and notice two things. 1) The place is a bit more spacious than some of the other restaurants in that area. 2) There’s a lady screaming “Oh my god!! It’s a walking, talking bear! Run for your life“. I grab the woman & give her one tight slap. Then I scream into her face, “Don’t be afraid of Curry Bear!!!“. I let the woman go and stand there confused like Rebecca Black because I don’t know which seat to take. I pick a booth and sit there for 5 minutes before realizing that no waiter is coming. I assumed a waiter would come but then a guy tells me that I have to order the food myself.
I go up to the cash register & tell the woman behind the counter, “One vadapav and one ThumsUp! And please, don’t be afraid of bears“. She screams “Oh dear lord, please don’t kill me you talking bear. I’ll get you your vadapav! Somebody get this talking bear a vadapav and a ThumsUp before he kills us all!” I walk back to my table and start checking out the hotties on Facebook through my phone.
After about 5 minutes, my vada pav arrived! The first thing I notice is that they actually used the Indian style bread. They used the “pav” you’re suppose to eat a vadapav in instead of a burger bun or white bread. Yes, there are plenty of places in the New York/New Jersey area that have served me vadapav in burger buns and Wonder bread.
I took a few pictures with my camera phone and the dude in the table next to me started glaring as if I took a voyeur shot of his ugly wife. I wanted to tell him, “Nigga please, your wife ain’t that hot. I wouldn’t fuck your wife if I had Pooh Bear’s dick.”
After further examining my food, I noticed that my vadapav came with the green chutney sauce and the brown sweet sauce on the side for dipping. They had smeared some green chutney on the vada too. They also showered the vadapav with cilantro. I’ve never seen cilantro on vadapav in India so I wasn’t too fond of it here. The vada itself was slightly off color. When I picture the ideal vada, I picture a nice yellowish color. This vada fell more on the orange-brownish side of the color spectrum. It looked like the secret love child of a batata vada and a samosa.
I took my first bite into the vadapav and right away I tasted disappointment. I even looked at the vadapav and said, “oh vadapav, you’ve disappointed me.” If Obi Wan Kenobi was having lunch with me, he would have said “These aren’t the vadas you’re looking for.” The vada was too dry. It didn’t have that soft mushy taste that I associate with vadapav. The bread was a bit hard also, but at that point I was just glad they didn’t give it to me in a burger bun. The cilantro did nothing for the flavor. If anything, I got that stuff stuck in my teeth. I guess it’s a good thing they add a toothpick to the vadapav when they serve it to you. I dipped the vadapav in the green chutney until it was all used up. I didn’t bother much with the brown sweet chutney. I know some people like the sweet chutney, but I am not one of them. I don’t think a vadapav is meant to be eaten that way. Give me a vadapav with “laal mirchi” powder that will make my forehead sweat and my eyes water.
What is Curry Bear’s verdict on vadapav at Mithaas? Well, it doesn’t live up to Curry Bear’s expectations. I’ll give them points for using the right pav, but that is all. The presentation was nice too, but I don’t give a fuck. One of the best vadapavs I’ve eaten was served to me folded in a newspaper at a Mumbai school canteen with laal mirchi powder on the side. The cilantro was just plain annoying. All it really did was get stuck in my teeth. The vada was the most disappointing part of the whole thing. It was dry and made me feel like it was made out of expired potatoes. The other thing is that the texture of the vada just didn’t seem right. I like my vada how I like my Chinese friends: yellow. The price I paid for 2 vadapavs was $5.50. This to me seemed a bit higher than what I normally pay. Typically I pay around $4 at other places for 2 vadapavs. For this, I deducted the imaginary points I have been accumulating for this vadapav. This vadapav here is like an ideal one. I would kill a hobo for a vadapav like that. The one at Mithaas clearly didn’t meet my expectations.
Curry Bear gives Mithaas 2 out of 5 paws for their vadapav.
Do you have any suggestions for places Curry Bear should review? Mention them in the comments or email suggestions at CurryBear@CurryBear.com. Please only suggest restaurants or other public vendors. I don’t want to come to your mom’s house to taste her vadas.