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Feeding Dallas' Mind, Body and Spirit at Their Premier Vegetarian Restaurant, Kalchandji's

By Allison Wilson

Though Texas is traditionally known for its "everything is bigger" steakhouses, Kalachandji's in Dallas has become a top spot for vegetarian cuisine that lures even meat-lovers with its unique traditional Indian flavors. The fresh, wholesome menu and peaceful ambience have earned the restaurant glowing reviews from local newspapers and magazines, and consistent rankings on "Best of Dallas" lists for more than three decades. Serving an all you can eat buffet that changes daily, Kalachandji's recipes come from the Vedas, Sanskrit texts dating back 5,000 years.

"We practice the Ayurvedic art of cooking for the body, mind and spirit, and our chefs prepare the dishes as offerings of devotion," says Manager Danny Thomas. "Food prepared in this way promotes good health, makes the mind peaceful and elevates one's consciousness. Everything is made from scratch, nothing frozen or pre-prepared, and we go through three pickup truck loads of fresh vegetables a week. We cook small batches as we need them, so everything is hot and fresh. We also bake our bread in house every day."

Photo taken by John Noeding

Kalachandji's offers a different international entree every evening. Among the more popular dishes are the Lasagna, Enchiladas, Spinach Filo, Eggless Quiche and BBQ Tofu. Traditional favorites include Panir Masala, Channa Masala, Aloo Karela, and Mattar Panir. The tamarind lemonade is also a hit.

The restaurant shares its building with a temple and a statue of Kalachandji, the temple's presiding murti or deity form of Krishna. Thomas says the Kalachandji statue "presided at a large temple in India before the Mogul invasions of the Middle Ages," and they found it centuries later at a museum that let them take it with them upon request.

"In our tradition, every village has a temple with a similar deity form of Krishna," Thomas says. "By offering the best of everything to him, one can practice serving God in this world, just as perfected souls serve him in the kingdom of God."

Kalachandji's offers opportunities to learn more about the Indian culture with classes in vegetarian cooking, yoga, meditation and Ayurveda.

"We have a classroom with a full kitchen and overhead mirror for the cooking and Ayurveda classes," Thomas says. "The meditation classes are held in the temple adjacent to the restaurant, and the yoga classes in another hall upstairs."

Kalachandji's is located at 5430 Gurley Avenue and is open for lunch Tuesday through Friday, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and weekends from noon to 3 p.m. Dinner is served Tuesday through Sunday from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Catering is also available.

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Allison Wilson is an award-winning writer and communications professional whose...

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