• Mint Indian Bistro: Vegan buffet steps from the Las Vegas Strip

    December 6th, 2010mr meanerlas vegas, more restaurants (not LA)

    Just hours before our recent trip to Las Vegas, a vegan friend (and Vegas native) recommended Mint Indian Bistro, a vegan-friendly Indian restaurant a couple of blocks off the strip. After we checked out the menu online, and saw that almost all their vegetarian dishes are “vegan friendly” by default, we made up our mind to visit at the earliest opportunity.

    We’d originally planned out our meal from the online menu, but were a little disappointed when we arrived to find that they had taken a reservation for a large party (of 40 people!) and so would be doing a fixed price buffet service rather than a la carte. Of course, it was just our luck that this was the first time ever the restaurant had operated a buffet in the evening and so the regular menu wouldn’t be available.

    We asked if the buffet had any vegan items, and were told “there are lots of vegan options, you won’t go hungry!”. Even with that reassurance, we checked out the buffet tables before we settled in, and any hint of disappointment was swiftly dissipated by what we found…

    This was one of those situations where, frankly, I wanted to ask somebody to pinch me: Other than a couple of meat curries and some yoghurt-based sides, everything was clearly marked as vegan. No joke, there were SIX curries as well as various side dishes and condiments each with a “vegan” sign right next to their description.

    All vegan curries were clearly marked

    Not only were there plenty of vegan offerings, just as promised, but the food LOOKED so good – not your typical dried-up buffet selections, but really attractive dishes that seemed like something you’d get delivered to your table if you ordered from the menu.

    Aloo (Cauliflower) Curry and Vegan Chau Chau (Pan-fried Tibetan noodles with vegetables)

    Chana chole: Chickpeas with fresh ginger and garlic in a tomato and onion sauce

    Okra curry

    Idli, Mixed vegetable pakoda, Peas pulav, Basmati rice

    Dal tadka (yellow split pea curry) and Sambhar (red lentil curry)

    Chana chaat: Cold chickpea salad

    Before we went to the buffet, the server took our order for some vegan beer and organic wine, and magicked up some fresh, steaming roti bread (the usual menu has naan available optionally as vegan, but tonight the only vegan option was roti, which was fine as it’s lighter and soaks up the curry better).

    The Belgian beer selection at Mint is excellent!

    Talking of curry, the sauces were some of the best I’ve eaten outside of the the UK (where curry is our national dish). Many restaurants make up one batch of sauce, and prepare it with whatever additions you want, so you basically end up eating the same dish two or three times, just with different vegetable ingredients. Not at Mint. Oh no, they had taken the time to prepare each dish individually with some darker, richer sauces (the sauce on the okra dish was perhaps my favorite, close to a vindaloo masala that I’m used to: dark, spicy and tomato based), but the sauce on the potato and cauliflower curry was much lighter and smoother, almost like a daal.

    The condiments were to die for – fifteen vegan additions to your meal, including insanely spicy coconut chutney and all the staples like coriander, mango and even a chili-garlic sauce that gave everything just a little extra kick.

    I’m not usually a fan of the fried pakora-style vegetables (I find them a little greasy and filling without much taste), but Mint’s pakora tray had taken this delicacy up a notch or two. Not only was the batter crispy without being unduly greasy, but they had coated and fried lots of different types of vegetables, and even included some french fries in the mix!

    For the first time in my life I actually had two helpings of pakora, and had to be physically restrained from going back for a third. In fact, pakora was very reminiscent of a “fish and chips” style meal: crispy outside, soft inside with a side of french fried potatoes. Oh yum.

    We didn’t have the room to sample from the extensive vegan lassi drinks bar (apparently, they make lassis substituting watery yoghurt with soy milk in many flavors). We also didn’t have an opportunity to try food from the extensive Nepalese or Tibetan menus – one of which has an eight course vegan sampling menu, with intriguing dishes named stuff like “Kwati Soup” and “Kakro Salad”. There’s also a dish called “Vertical Vindaloo” and they can even make a Daal Maharani without cream or butter, which is just awesome. I mean, WTF? That all sounds amazing. I can’t wait to go back and order a bunch of stuff from the menu.

    Mint Indian Bistro should be on every vegan’s “must do” list when they visit Las Vegas. You can walk there from the Strip in about 20 minutes, or it’s a $4 cab ride. The prices are insanely low considering the quality of the food, the staff are extremely polite, helpful and communicative and the interior is quiet with dim lighting and high-end decor, belying its external strip mall locale.

    I’ve been dining in Las Vegas for decades at the hands of practically every celebrity chef in his or her restaurant from The Picasso at Bellagio to Joel Robuchon’s five-star opus at the MGM Grand and I can safely say that this food is some of the best I’ve eaten in the city of sin. For vegans with a healthy appetite and love of good Indian food you simply won’t be disappointed.

    Mint Indian Bistro
    730 E Flamingo Rd
    Ste 10
    Las Vegas, NV 89119
    (702) 894-9334

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14 responses to “Mint Indian Bistro: Vegan buffet steps from the Las Vegas Strip” RSS icon

  • Aw! Glad you enjoyed it! I work right across the street and eat there regularly. I have done most of the Vegas Indian buffets, and this one is definitely the most vegan friendly/accommodating!

  • It’s a strangely common thing for Indian buffets to throw some french fries and/or onion rings in or next to the pakoras.

  • This sounds awesome, lots of things I don’t typically see at an Indian place.

    I wish all Indian restaurants would be better about marking what’s vegan. It seems like there’s no dish that you can always count on to be vegan, it’s a toss-up whether a particular place puts cream or ghee or both into something.

  • These dishes sound and LOOK heavenly! Very informative, beneficial review of an apparently EXCELLENT Indian restaurant!

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    I’m from India (the state of Punjab) and what’s that saying, “homeland represent” or something? I feel like I’m nowhere near cool enough to use that phrase. Hahaha.

    But seriously, looks good!!! 😀

  • this review makes me so happy! i love this place for so many reasons. one of which is that they are amazing people and i would way rather give $ to a small biz than mr wynn. when i go to visit my family that still lives in vegas looking forward to going to mint is the only thing that makes my trip tolerable! i never went to the buffet because, like you, i thought the vegan pickings would be slim. next time i’m going for lunch so i can try EVERYTHING!

  • Well I know where I’m heading next time I’m in Vegas 🙂

    Come by!! I’ll throw an impromptu food party.

  • I love Mint.

    For more vegan Vegas dining, you might want to check out:

  • Hell yeah! I love Indian food! I thought I hit the jackpot when I found The Samosa Factory just a mile away from the strip, but this buffet looks impressive. You should definitely hit up Samosa Factory as well. They have a vegan section on their menu, though most of the dishes are vegan by default.

  • I wish i had known this place was here this summer… haha I love indian food!

  • Wow

    I live in Vegas and I am so much a food Virgin, lol, not only have I NEVER had Indian food, Id never heard of this place till just now but next time I get a cheat day (hehe) Im going to go there!

  • I can only echo the other positive comments here about the Mint. It has become our favorite Indian restaurant, hands down, from dinner service to their amazing buffet! FYI-the buffet regularly changes their vegan options, so you never get tired of them! The owner of the Mint is extremely personable, and his staff is required, very strictly, to know all food diets, i.e. vegan, gluten free, as well as all food allergies. Dude takes it seriously.

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