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« 10 Questions w/ Prasad Chirnomula of Thali Restaurant | Main | CT Food Bank Launches "Hunger Action" Month »

Thali in Westport Goes Vegetarian (via The Feast)

Well here's an interesting turn of events. Peyton Dougherty @ resports that Thali's chef/owner Prasad Chirnomula is removing all non-vegetarian items from the menu of Thali's Westport location

"Farewell, pepper-crusted breast of lamb smoked in a Tandoori-Cabernet sauce.

Chef Prasad Chirnomula will remove all non-vegetarian items from his Westport Indian restaurant, Thali, and will make the menu identical to Chirnomula's meatless New Haven outpost,Thali Too.

The new fare debuted last night and it's a complete overhaul, with a rice bar, rolled house breads cooked on a griddle, lassi, Bombay and Dehli street vendor-style snacks, a tiffin menu and veggie entrees like potato and paneer cheese balls, spicy veggie stir fry, cabbage cauliflower and carrot fritters, and spicy chick peas. The sweeping change is surprising, but it makes sense given the market." -Peyton Dougherty

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Reader Comments (8)

I'm curious how this would "make sense, given the market." Has Coromandel carved that much out of Thali's business? Only about 7% of the population is vegetarian.

This got me thinking about how a restaurant can train it's customers. We were loyal fans of Thali New Canaan (which, for a time, I thought was one of the three best restaurants in this part of the county). When Thali Westport opened we were thrilled - a little less formal but still great food and no need to take the drive. We haven't been to the New Canaan outpost since Westport opened. (We like Coromandel - but not as much as Thali. And even Bombay has upped their game with all of the competition.) Now, with the limited menu, I can see us sticking to Coromandel and not even returning to New Canaan (even though we've always liked the food), because Thali trained us to eat Indian locally.

There has always been an abundance of vegetarian choices at Thali (and that always seemed like a clear selling point). The only upside is gaining customers who will only eat at a vegetarian restaurant, right? Go figure?

August 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris Grimm

Wow...kind of a bummer! Will definitely miss those little lamb croquettes. And the crab with coconut. And the tandoori shrimp. Too bad they couldn't find a way to have both options. Also not sure what the "given the market" comment means. I would think you'd appeal to more people with both options.

August 31, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkbfood

no more spicy lamb chops????? say it ain't so!!!!!!!!!
tragic mistake, i think :(

September 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Green

We went to Thali a few nights ago and it was a huge disappointment. The menu is not identical to their other Thali Too menu -- it has fewer items. I would have walked out, but we had a Groupon that we needed to use so we decided to stay. The malai kofta was the worst I've ever had, very bland, no nuts, raisins, and tasteless sauce. We also had the eggplant in peanut sauce. The sauce was almost identical to the kofta sauce. The dosa was okay, and the fried paneer was good but what we ate was not enough to make me come back again. Ironically the vegetarian items they offer are pretty much run of the mill and nothing special or interesting. I actually saw several patrons walk out after the host told them of the menu change. Another couple sat down, looked at the menu and then got up to leave. I think it was a huge mistake to change the menu. There were plenty of vegetarian items on the old menu. I think this will be the end of Thali in Westport. My business will be going to Coromandel who has delicious and interesting vegetarian dishes in addition to meat dishes.

September 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeather M

When I called for take out I was informed that the entire menu had been changed to vegetarian... won't be going back, and certainly won't make the drive to NC any longer... will go to Coromandel instead.. what a dissapointment Thali....I got takeout at least twice a week from there, and you have lost a long time customer..

September 6, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertbirdandjakers

Kudos to Chef Prasad!!! thank you for supporting and being part of a greener community...another notch up since your food was always fresh, cleaner and your kitchen did not use all the stuff that most restaurants use to apparently claim as Indian food...

As for the people who cant do without!!! I really expected better for the century we're living in...and where we're living...

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMitsy

Ate at Thali in Westport last night. I was shocked, confused and disappointed that it is now 100% vegetarian. Based on my great experiences at the Ridgefield location (and the need to use a groupon), we gave it a try anyway. We will NOT be back.
There was no host. We were told to seat ourselves "anywhere we see fit". I had to get up to ask for menus after 15 minutes of waiting. We waited another 15 minutes for drinks. We placed an order that consisted of 4 of their appetizers. After 20 minuted only 1 arrived!! I had to get up and go to the bar to request a second drink as we've now been seated for over an hour. We then had to request the balance of our order to which the waiter clearly had not placed as he asked us what we'd ordered.... He left the table and only them placed the order with the kitchen! We had planned on ordering entrees... but 4 apps took almost 2.5 hours to get!! C'mon!!! It's vegetables!! We witnessed 4 tables get up and walk out. There was no manager to speak to, the restaurant was not busy by any stretch, and I can safely say (after more than 15 years in the restaurant industry) it was one of the worst service experiences I've ever encountered.
I only hope this lack of quality and service doesn't spead to their other locations.

September 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJeff L.

This is a quick note regarding my dinner last night at Thali New Canaan.

I ordered Chicken Tikka Masala, and I think we're all pretty familiar with that dish.

NOT SO FAST...The on I had at Thali had Chipotle in it. Chipotle. And actually there were some other things in there that made my dish taste a lot like on of Chefs Indo-Mex hybrid dishes and nothing at all like Tikka Masala.

Isn't it funny how the moment you walk into a place you know EXACTLY how good/bad it's going to be?
Avoid: Places with plenty of reservation slots available, places where there are lots of children, and places with gianourmous fish tanks. Thali New canaan has all three.

April 14, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterrealguy

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