It’s hard to imagine colors more saturated than those at Pavitra. We re-visited it while on an expedition to check out the Surinamese restaurants of Richmond Hill. We’d been once and couldn’t wait to go back. The place is a branch of an Indian chain, and the menu is entirely vegetarian–consisting of chaats, sweets, wheat flatbreads, and Mughal vegetable curries (and particularly good ones), The cook does wonders with potatoes and chick peas, and most snacks and chaats are in the $2 to $4 range.
Pictured above is one of the wildly colorful shoppers’ snacks called chaats, engagingly explicated by Sarah DiGregorio. Looking like Jackson Pollock on acid instead of booze, this one is called chaat papri and features crunchy wheat crackers absorbing dribbled tart yogurt and multiple sweet chutneys, along with onions, chick peas, and potatoes.
Pictured below, soan papri issues from the sweets cabinet at Pavitra, though it might be mistaken for a desert landscape (instead of a dessert landscape). “It’s like the inside of a Butterfinger,” one friend noted enthusiastically.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 8, 2009