Neehee's specializes in vibrant vegetarian dishes that highlight the rich gastronomy of the Indian subcontinent.
Visiting Neehee’s Indian Vegetarian Street Food in Dublin may cause one’s senses to go into overdrive. Colorful digital menus on touchscreens greet guests as they queue in the restaurant’s giant, modern dining room. Music lingers in the background, while a flurry of staff shuffle behind a counter. Respectable portions swiftly leave the kitchen to satisfy rumbling bellies.
Neehee’s massive menu, which may overwhelm at first, offers a range of options that highlight the informal and diverse food of India’s street carts and market stalls. The fourth in a chain of restaurants that started in Michigan, Neehee’s on Sawmill Road is the first for Ohio and was opened last spring by franchise owners Rajiv Shah, Shagar Patel and Dinesh Panak.
The stars of the menu are Neehee’s chaats, savory offerings traditionally served across the Indian subcontinent as roadside snacks or party appetizers.Like what you’re reading? Subscribe to our weekly newsletters.
Neehee’s papdi chaat ($5.99) features crunchy fried crackers called papdi, mixed with chickpeas, diced potatoes and red onion. Atop are yogurt, sweet tamarind chutney, mint-cilantro chutney, fresh cilantro and various spices, along with crunchy, seasoned noodles called sev.
Like most chaats, the papdi chaat is chaotic yet harmonious. The crunch from the fried bits melds with the smoothness of the yogurt. The initial hit of sweet tamarind yields to the dish’s heat. With each bite, diners are transported to the mayhem of a New Delhi street, where a chaat’s intricacies mimic the beautiful, coordinated commotion of a metro area of more than 28 million people.
Another variety of chaat, the raj kachori ($6.99), is a showstopper with hues of red, white, brown and green atop a tall, fried kachori shell bursting from the components layered inside. Like the papdi chaat, vegetables, yogurt and chutney are the stars of the dish. However, a soupy chana dal (split chickpeas) and boondi (small balls of fried chickpea flour) help elevate the snack.
Neehee’s also offers sandwiches and Roadside Burgers that feature a vada, or potato fritter, between two unsweetened buns. The Bombay Veggie Grill sandwich ($6.99) is gargantuan with vegetables like cucumber, beet and tomato stuffed between three pieces of toasted bread. Hints of green chutney and an Indian-inspired ketchup complete the colorful handheld option.
Rounding out the mammoth menu are traditional and modern takes on dosas (thin and crispy filled crepes), Indo-Chinese dishes such as Gobi 65, dishes featuring idlys (steamed, savory rice cakes) and Indian meal platters known as thalis.
Beverages include lassis, yogurt drinks served salty or sweet; Indian chai with a spiced milk base; and sugar-cane juice offered with lime and ginger. Finally, an ice cream case situated near the counter showcases unique flavors like anjeer (made with dried figs) and kesar pista (combining pistachios and saffron).