Masala. Paneer. Dal. These words are all music to my ears. The earthy, pungent flavors of Indian food are comforting and tantazling all at the same time. Earthen Jar in Ann Arbor has all of these familiar dishes and more. Even better, every single thing on their buffet is 100% gluten-free. Added bonus? Everything is also nut-free and vegetarian. That's a trifecta of tastiness!
Earthen Jar has been gladly serving the Ann Arbor area for more than a decade. When Gucharan and Pushpinder Sethi opened in 1997, fans instantly fell in love with their fare. In their first year, patrons voted them the best new restaurant in the area. Ever since then, the family has worked together to bring a delicious meal to their fans. Two years ago they converted their menu to being completely gluten-free when their loyal customers discussed the topic of cross-contact. While they do offer samosas and naan, they are only available by request and are made in a separate location.
Earthen Jar has almost two dozen dishes available each day, all with varying degrees of heat. Items on the hot bar are noted if they pack a spicy punch, as well as if they contain dairy. My husband savored spicy deep-fried potato dumplings and mattar paneer. Meanwhile, I indulged in shahi korma sabzi, a creamy dish of mushrooms and broccoli. I enjoyed a traditional Indian dessert, ladoo, which is made with lentils, sugar and white cardamom. The texture reminded me of a no-bake cookie, but tasted of a sweetness I can't quite describe except delicious.
Earthen Jar's Simple Pleasures
The main reason the Sethi's moved Earthen Jar to Ann Arbor was to move closer to family. During this time, their daughter Jasmine enrolled at Univeristy of Michigan to become a mechanical engineer. Even while she worked for over a decade in that career, she still offered her help to her family's business. One day, her brother asked if she could make gluten-free desserts for the restaurant. She did some research and started designing gluten-free goodies. Her baking side job became so successful that Simple Pleasures has become it's own full-time business.
While Jasmine still makes "regular" baked goods, all of her gluten-free baked goods are made with dedicated mixers, utensils and bowls, and are made on separate days as gluten containing items. These mint chocolate cupcakes were not only gorgeous, but delicious. We were so full from our meal that we held off on eating these beauties until later. As we explored the rest of Ann Arbor that afternoon, every one we ran into kept asking us where we found these amazing cupcakes. I proudly explained that they came from Earthen Jar!
Aside from the complex flavor of their dishes, Earthen Jar keeps things simple. The buffet is self-serve, and is charged $6.99 per pound. The dining area only seats 30 people. Many locals order a plate to go. Dine-in table service is paper plates and plastic silverware and you dispose of your own trash. While there is no immediate parking out front, there are many parking structures surrounding the restaurant. If you can't get to their location, they also serve at the U of M Hospital and the U of M Fireside Cafe. You can also pick up pre-packaged meals at Arbor Farms, the People's Food Coop, Mott Children's Hospital Cafe and other places in Ann Arbor. You can also order online via Grub Hub. So what are you waiting for? Go grab some of the best Indian food you've ever tasted!
311 S 5th Avenue
Ann Arbor MI 48104
Sunday thru Tuesday 12 pm - 4 pm, Wednesday thru Saturday 11 am- 8 pm
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