After four months in business, most people know by now where to get the best falafel, but many may not be aware that Satyamuna now offers an array of exciting and delectable dishes for dinner.
Since opening its doors on October 15, the vegetarian restaurant, located on the second floor of The Marketplace, has been one of the most popular lunch eateries in town.
Proprietors, chefs and newlyweds Giuliana Cassataro and Ofer Elyakim have since expanded their operation and now, in addition to breakfast and lunch seven days a week, the duo serve dinner Wednesday through Friday from 6 to 9 p.m.
The popularity of the falafel actually surprised the Israeli-born Elyakim.
“In Israel falafel is like McDonald’s — it’s all over,” Elyakim said. “So when we were opening I wanted to do falafel of course, but I thought we should do other stuff too. I never expected the falafel to be so popular, but everyone loves it.”
Thankfully Elyakim continues to serve up the popular vegetarian dish, but he isn’t resting on his laurels by a long shot.
“I love to try different things and experiment in the kitchen,” said Elyakim. “Exploring different dishes and flavors is very interesting.”
Sicilian-native Cassataro brings her own specialties to the restaurant, and is the creator of the popular caponata found on many sandwiches and salad platters.
Spiritual and Physical Health
With such different backgrounds, the two — who married in May, 2006, and honeymooned in Love City in June — share a common interest in nutritional and spiritual health.
The name of their restaurant is even a combination of the couple’s spiritual names, which they received at a Californian ashram. Saty is a shortened version of Elyakim’s spirit name meaning truth in Sanskrit, and Yamuna — Cassataro’s spirit name — is the name of a holy river in India.
While enjoying their mid-day popularity, the couple are hoping to tap into the night-time scene by offering a creative and eclectic menu.
With several linen-covered tables beside a trellis backdrop, diners can forget they are in a shopping complex and concentrate instead on the incredible assortment of vegetarian fare available.
Menu items range from classic Mediterranean options like a Greek salad complete with kalamata olives, feta cheese and home-made tzaziki dressing to East Indian favorites like pakora, spiced shredded vegetables fried and served with fruit chutney.
Other appetizers include the not-to-be-missed Satyamuna salad platter which includes baba-ganoush, caponata, tabouli and hummus and is served up with crispy pita chips; stuffed mushrooms with buttery lemon basil filling; home-made eggplant pate and vegetarian carpaccio made from marinated tofu and vegetables and served on a bed of fresh greens.
Starters and Salads
On a recent evening, the Tradewinds staff enjoyed the perfectly-prepared stuffed mushrooms and the signature Satyamuna salad platter for starters. The Mediterranean salad, served with fresh greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, walnuts and crispy friend halumi cheese, was the perfect second course.
Don’t forget to ask about the soup of the day, when Tradewinds was there Cassataro had prepared a silky smooth fennel soup.
With bellies nearing full, we picked two entrees from the numerous temptations available — eggplant and mushroom schnitzel and the beautifully-presented pineapple “chicken” curry.
Picture Perfect Pineapple
The breaded eggplant and portobello mushroom slices were perfectly crisped and served with a tangy lemon caper sauce. The pineapple curry dish is a show-stopper with cubed tofu bursting with flavor, diced pineapple and rice served up in a hollowed out pineapple shell.
Entree options cover several different culinary palettes. Americana dishes are available like the veggie burger served with tri-color french fries made from beets and both sweet and white potatoes, served with salad; or the tofu steak served with mustard cream sauce, baked vegetables and creamed potatoes.
East Indian delicacies such as vegetable kurma, channa saag — spiced chickpeas and spinach served with vegetable rice — tofu tikka and tandoori chickpeas are also options.
There are even some stick-to-your-ribs offerings like the eggplant and portobello schnitzel; tofu stroganoff served with rice; and portobello mushroom lasagna served with sauteed spinach and garlic.
Top off the meal with a rejuvenating iced tea made with hibiscus, ginger, cloves and cinnamon or a lemon mint iced tea. A selection of beers and wines are also available.
Belgian Waffle for Two
Save room for desert and choose from raw banana sorbet, apple strudel served with vanilla ice cream, a sinfully delicious chocolate mousse pudding or share a Belgian waffle topped with Nutella and toasted walnuts, made for two.
An assortment of coffee and teas are available, and an authentic Turkish coffee is a must-try.
Anyone who hasn’t enjoyed dinner at Satyamuna yet can use the upcoming lover’s holiday as an excuse.
Elyakim and Cassataro will be serving a complimentary raspberry and chocolate desert for Valentine’s Day.
Satyamuna is open seven days a week with breakfast available Monday through Friday from 8 to 10 a.m.. Lunch is served from 10 to 3 p.m. weekdays and dinner is available Wednesday through Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. Brunch is on the menu on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m..
Share the Love
While any course at Satyamuna will leave you satisfied, dinner should not be missed. Diners always leave with full stomachs and smiles on their faces — just like the chefs.
“I’m very happy,” said Elyakim. “This is what I love to do. I enjoy every minute of cooking.”
Call 774-3663 for reservations.
Recipe: Satyamuna Hummus
1 cup dry chick peas or garbanzo beans
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 small clove of garlic
4 tbs tahini base
4 tbs lemon juice
1/2 cup water
Soak chick peas overnight in water.
Drain water and cook peas for about one hour or until tender.
Drain water and mix chickpeas with the rest of the ingredients in a food processor.
The consistency should be creamy but chunky.
If too chunky, add more water — if too creamy, add more chick peas.
Makes about four servings
Try one of the following to add some zip to the hummus:
Swap the clove of garlic with two or three roasted garlic cloves.
Add roasted peppers to the food processor.
Add a small bunch of fresh cilantro.
Use your imagination and add whatever flavors you enjoy most!