3.5 stars for Indian eats at Woodlands in Lauderhill

PURE VEGETARIAN: Paper-thin dosai, foreground, and chana bhatura, top.MARSHA HALPER/MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Our craving for the vibrant vegetarian cuisine of South India takes us back to Woodlands in Lauderhill, one of Broward’s few destinations for authentic dosais (paper-thin crepes), uthappams (Indian-style pancakes) and idlis (steamed lentil-flour and rice cakes).

Nikhil Seth and Bharat Malhotra, who bought the restaurant since our last visit, have added several menu items including Indian-style stir-fries, and the food is just as delicious. The focus is on “pure vegetarian” (no meat, alcohol or BYOB) served with intensely flavored sauces, fragrant rice and India’s famed breads. The menu is extensive, with 15 dosais alone, so we were grateful that servers were patient with our many questions, showing a sense of pride in what they were serving.

The place is packed for the lunchtime buffet, which includes nine entrees, eight sides, two appetizers and two desserts. Our Saturday afternoon visit was a pleasant surprise, with everything we sampled at the right temperature and clearly labeled. As you dish up on selections like paneer tikka masala (with house-made cheese), samosas, vegetable-fried rice and the dessert gulab jamun (fried dough balls in a rosewater-scented syrup) , a mini dosai is brought to your table.

Ambience: Breathe in the exotic aromas of cardamom, cumin and coriander mingled with a hint of incense as you step into the bright, simply decorated room and you’ll forget you’re in a shopping plaza. Painted in rosy hues, it has plenty of booths, most filled with Indian guests sharing puffy breads used for dipping in sauces scooping up stews.

What Worked

  • A refreshing mango lassi
  • The salty lassi
  • The assorted appetizer platter overflowing with vada (crunchy lentil doughnuts), potato bonda (a battered dumpling), vegetable pakora and samosa, idlis & a fried chile
  • Masala dosai — a huge, delicate cone wrapped around a mashed potato and onion mixture flecked with mustard seeds then served with coconut chutney, tomato chutney and sambhar (a spicy, lentil-based soup)
  • Bhel puri – crisp puffed rice mixed with potatoes, chickpeas, onions & tomatoes in a tamarind-mint sauce
  • Stir-fry of hakka noodles mixed with carrots, cabbage, bell peppers & onions in a delicate sauce
  • Thali – a traditional meal with white rice, pooriyal (lightly stir-fried cabbage, eggplant, okra & coconut powder), sour and spicy soup rasam, fluffy poori bread, pappadam (lentil wafers) & a milky dessert payasam served all at once

More Information

  • Woodlands
    4816 N. University Dr, Lauderhill

  • Hours: Lunch 11:30am-3pm (buffet and a la carte), dinner 5-10pm Tuesday-Sunday
    Prices: Buffet $7.95-$9.95; appetizers $5-$9.95; curries $8.95-$10.95; breads $2.50-$3.45; desserts $3.45-$4.95

  • FYI: No alcohol. DS, MC, VS