11. Lunch Buffet at Vishnu
Photo by The Mexican
We're reaching the end of 100 Favorite Dishes countdown! Every day until the publication of our fantabulous Best Of Issue, we'll list our favorite meals this year in descending order. Enjoy, pass it on, and tune in daily!
Gustavo note:I originally wrote this last year, when I deemed Vishnu's lunch buffet the best dish in OC. I still stand by everything below haha--enjoy!
Almost every week this year, managing editor Nick Schou and I have visited Vishnu during lunch. Almost every week, owner Ram Kadiyala is there to greet us. Almost every week, I think of ordering a massive dosa--and every week, I refuse, since I still cannot get enough of Vishnu's amazing South Indian lunch buffet.
Vishnu has been open a little bit more than a year now, and it remains perfect: open only during the week, only from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and concentrating on that buffet, which changes daily--even hourly. It's Kadiyala's playground to test out dishes that he then incorporates into his catering service, a way to judge whether his desi clients might want something more Indian beyond chicken tikka masala, whether they want beet curry or goat stews, or fried peanut something-or-other from Gujarat, Andra Pradesh, Goa--all the areas of India that just don't get enough culinary love 'round here.
I can't even name you the dishes that I get from Vishnu. I'm too much stuck in routine: grab a tray with a cardboard dish, fill up all six slots, overload on the raita and mint chutney, and go for seconds. Then thirds. Then end with kheer. Repeat. Have you? Do. Aaaaand...scene. GO GO GO!!!
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