Rocky Mountain (Prasadam) High: Govinda's Buffet
BY: JULIE L. FARQUHAR
Nov 18, DENVER, COLORADO, USA (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS) $25 FOR TWO: Govinda's Buffet
1400 Cherry St., 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m Monday- Friday, 5 to 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 303-333- 5461; KrishnaDenver.com.
Attached to the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Govinda's serves pure vegetarian food - no meat, fish or eggs - with an Indian influence. Their mantra is "clean food" - both spiritually and literally. The kitchen is cleaned twice a day, and the food is prepared fastidiously. The menu changes daily and is printed out on a monthly calendar, so patrons can take one home to stick on the fridge. Tuesdays and Thursdays are primarily vegan - no cheese, either.
How cheap is it? Very. At $8.95 (suggested donation) for an all-you-can-eat dinner buffet, you'd be hard-pressed to leave hungry. Even the die-hard "meat and potatoes" types won't be disappointed.
The theme on Saturdays is Mexican, and we showed up on taco night. Besides the featured dish of the day, there's always a variety of goodies to choose from and a generous salad bar with homemade dressings and fresh bread or pappadam crackers. Our feast included basmati rice with veggies; baked tofu in barbecue sauce; lentil soup (daal); spicy vegetable stew (subgi); spaghetti with marinara and olives; and, for dessert, a very chocolatey looking carob cake.
Drinks here are limited, and there aren't any alcoholic beverages (remember, this is spiritual food), but there's a variety of herbal teas (included) and a small assortment of fruit juices and bottled water on sale. We sampled a little of everything and enjoyed hot peppermint tea with our meal.
So how's it taste? I've been here several times and have never been disappointed - until the make-your-own tacos. With bland beans and basic toppings, Taco Bell would have been a better option.
Everything else, however, was delightful. The subgi (vegetable stew) included a spicy gravy, heaped with potatoes, green peppers and cabbage. I could have filled up on this alone. A pile of basmati rice topped with lentil soup also was worthwhile, and the baked tofu smothered in barbecue sauce, though basic, had a firm texture and could be a main entree by itself. The carob cake was spongy, moist and just sweet enough. There's something meatless for everyone here, even if you aren't seeking a higher consciousness.
How's the place? As casual and as unpretentious as the food. Just grab a tray and serve yourself on paper plates in school-lunch fashion. The dining room is small but warm and inviting, as is the mostly volunteer staff. Soft, ethereal music and Hindu paintings combined with heavenly smells from the kitchen made for a happy vibe. All will feel welcomed here, and you need not worry about being pulled into a conga line of Krishna chanting on your way out. When we left, I definitely had a spring in my step.
Who eats here? It's a melting pot, for sure. There seemed to be a lot of neighborhood regulars including families and young singles, plus a few worshippers from the temple next door.
Deal we wish we had tried: Maybe next time I'll try fasting until dinner. I just wasn't hungry enough to take full advantage of the bounty.
Final damage: $17.90