Vassar Student Association

Exploring the Hudson Valley: Kismat


For those of you who, like me, would find it nearly impossible to attend a college that did not have an Indian restaurant nearby, I assure you that Kismat will fulfill your Indian food needs. With carry-out available, it is refreshing to enjoy fine Indian cuisine on nights that are simply too busy for an hour-long sit-down meal.

Like most Indian restaurants, Kismat offers a buffet, both for lunch and dinner. However, the buffet is not available every day and as they seem to change their buffet schedule frequently, I recommend calling before you go specifically for the buffet. For those who choose to dine in, Kismat can easily accommodate small groups of six to eight people. The restaurant even has a delivery option, though it is not an especially reliable one; delivery is often unavailable due to lack of transportation or absence of their delivery man.

If you are new to Indian food, or even if you already love the cuisine, I must warn you that dining at Kismat may not be the best idea if you still have hours of studying ahead of you. I have eaten at many other Indian restaurants before, but have never felt more stuffed or tired after dining at these places than I have at Kismat. Admittedly, my eyes are often bigger than my stomach and I order far more than I can possibly eat in one sitting, but even on nights when I restrain myself to eating half of an entrée along with some naan bread, I still find myself practically incapacitated for the rest of the night. My recommendation is to try out Kismat on a weekend when essays are not looming so you can determine whether you experience the same post-Kismat lethargy that I do.

By now, you may have gathered that the portion at Kismat are large. Unless you are a ravenous male with a high metabolism and a bottomless stomach, you will probably find that you need to bring home some of your food. This can present a problem if you are a dorm resident without a refrigerator or proper kitchen equipment. So although I usually recommend trying as many items as possible at a new restaurant, my advice is the opposite for Kismat: start small.

As for recommendations, I must start with what not to order. Do not, I repeat, do not order the Hot Pickle (listed under Soups and Sides) unless you are absolutely positive that you know what you are getting yourself into. Just trust me on this one. As for the items that are worth ordering, the Banana Fritters (listed under Appetizers and basically constituted of fried bananas) are very sweet and delicious, although I would hate to know how horrendously unhealthy they are. The Mango Lachchi (usually spelled “Lassi” and listed under Desserts) is an excellent yogurt-based drink whose sweetness is often a welcome taste during a hot Indian meal. All of the soups are worth trying (and all are vegetarian) and the Nimma Rasam is excellent for those who are in the mood for something spicy. The plain naan bread is a perfect complement to any meal and the Khandahari Kulcha Naan is an excellent version filled with nuts, raisins and cheese.

For the main course, you have a wide array of options. These include lamb, seafood (usually shrimp dishes), chicken, beef and vegetarian. For vegetarians, my personal recommendations are the Malai Kofta (vegetable and cheese dumplings), Navaratan Korma (vegetables in a creamy cashew and almond sauce) or the Chana Masala (chickpeas and potatoes in a spicy red sauce). Many terms used on the menu may be unfamiliar, but Kismat is very good at providing descriptions of most of the dishes on the menu. Price start at around $15.

In summary, Kismat has large portions, a buffet, carry-out, delivery, room to dine with friends, and excellent Indian food. What more can you ask for?




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