Want Bang for Your Buck? Try the Buffet at Govinda's Kitchen

Want Bang for Your Buck? Try the Buffet at Govinda’s Kitchen

In the Hindu tradition Vishnu (Sanskrit: विष्णु) is the Vedic Supreme God. He is deemed preserver and protector of the universe and is also known to have rescued the Earth on many an occasion. He is a busy guy who has the gift of reincarnation and has revisited the world multiple times, always in a different form: as a fish, as a turtle, as Krishna, as Buddha.

He’s a guy who gets around.

Vishnu also goes by several other names (1,000 to be precise) with monikers like Hari, Sridhara, and Govinda. All of which undoubtedly speak to one aspect of, what must be, a rather complex personality. Govinda is the 187th name of Vishnu and under this alias he’s known as the protector of the land and leader of the cows. In current day speak: he’s a fantastic farmer and forager who doesn’t eat meat.

All for $7. Yes, seven dollars.

All for $7. Yes, seven dollars.

Located in the basement of the Govinda Mandir Hare Krishna Temple in Brooklyn, is a cafeteria style eatery that honors Govinda’s cow-loving legacy by serving up a vegetarian/vegan buffet lunch every weekday from 12:00 – 15:00. Govinda’s Kitchen isn’t swank or Michelin starred. It’s not Zagat rated (though it should be) and it’s decor isn’t meant to ‘wow’ you and your friends. Govinda’s Kitchen is about Indian-inspired food that’s affordable and nourishing. Food that fills without making you feel like you’re ready to burst at the seams. Food that makes you go: that’s the best $5 I think I’ve spent today.

The decor isn't anything to write home about, but since you're here to eat, enjoy and move on...the clashing colours don't really matter.

The decor isn’t anything to write home about, but since you’re here to eat and move on…the clashing colours shouldn’t really matter.

At the front of the room is the generous spread, and depending on the day there’s anywhere between 8 – 12 items on offer. Options include homemade soup and salads, bread and samosas, along with delicious looking desserts if you think you can make room for one by the end of your meal. Depending on your hunger level there are different price points: two items for $5, three for $7 and for a whopping $10 you get three items plus a samosa and/or some bread to boot (rosemary or kalmata olive anyone?). The staff behind the counter are friendly and patient, and if you need to know what ingredients are in a dish they’ll go back to the kitchen to feedback from the chef.

My friend went to town on this samosa. A photo before the damage was really done.

My friend went to town on this samosa. This photo was before the damage was really done.

A great place if you’re vegetarian or vegan, Govinda’s Kitchen is equally good if you struggle with certain food allergies or are just having a “no-meat” kind of day. It isn’t fancy – let me reiterate – and it’s not the kind of place that cares if it impresses in terms of aesthetics. What Govinda’s does is ensure that a health-conscious and affordable lunch is available to all those who step through the temple doors. Clearly, something’s being done right as clientele keep coming back for more of the simple, yet flavourful, rotating menu that includes sweet and sour plantain vegetables, channa masala, baked tofu, beet/carrot salad, sautéed kale and eggplant parm, just to name a few. In all, it’s clean, there’s plenty of to choose from and it’s probably the best value in downtown Brooklyn.

It’s food fit for a Hindu deity. Just as it should be.

Govinda’s Kitchen
305 Schermerhorn Street
Brooklyn, New York
Tel: +1 (718) 855-6714