Dosa

Recommended.

Friday night I had dinner at the just-opened Dosa on Valencia and 21st. It was packed, obviously people have been hungry for some South Indian food in the Mission. I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that the menu is primarily vegetarian and that it’s right next door to the resolutely mediocre Herbivore either.

We started out with the complimentary and excellent pappadum, served cut into wide ribbons, and then continued on to onion pakora. Both are served without any sauces or chutney (I asked). The pakora come with plenty of curry leaf in the batter, they were a little soft but very tasty. For main courses we had both dosa and uttapam. The dosa was fantastic, the uttapam good but not as exciting. I’m told that in India uttapam is considered breakfast food and I can see why, it’s like savory pancakes (the griddlecake kind) as opposed to dosa which are more like chewy/crispy crepes. Both came with two chutneys, a coconut/cilantro/chile one and a spicier red chile/other-ingredients-I-forget one, as well as a very good sambal. The chutneys were okay but not great. The uttapam also came with a highly spiced and delicious chaat masala that I couldn’t stop eating even though I was already full. The dosa, sambal and chaat were all definite winners, only the chutneys were disappointing. Next trip I plan to try the paper dosa (a giant thin crispy dosa served rolled like a poster with the filling on the side) and the coriander beer that they were out of on Friday.

Prices are definitely reasonable, dosas are around $7-9 and they have a good selection of beer and wine. It’s nice and cozy inside, in the typical warm-tones modern style. In short, for a few bucks more than some cafeteria-like burrito joint you can have a really nice meal.

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One response to “Dosa

  1. Hi Alicia – Nice review. Thanks! We always appreciate the feedback. The chutneys have vastly improved. It was all part of training a new crew of prep cooks (of course, our Chef and sous Chef are originally South Indian). We are also introducing a new chutney made with a ridge gourd (a difficult-to-find ingredient) which is common in some parts of South India but never heard of here in the U.S. The chutney is tart, tempered with spices (though NOT spicy) and has a hint of sweetness. A couple of points about your comments…we generally don’t server the pakora with chutneys because it’s not common with S Indian food (its more of a N. Indian touch). That said, many non-Indians come to expect it because almost all the SF resturants are primarily N. Indian. We’ll working on putting something together as a nice middle ground. 🙂 Finally, the lentil soup that you had is called Sambar (ends with an “r”), which is different from Sambal (which ends with an “l”). Sambal is a pepper-based condiment found in S. East Asia in countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Indosia. Also very delicious, but different. Hope to see you again. Cheers!

    Oh yes! A few more things…Uttapam is considered breakfast or lunch food, however, like Dim Sum it is eaten (even in India) for dinner. Growing up in Bombay, I often ate Dosas in the evening. Of course, a few traditional S. Indians might disagree with me on this. Finally, in case you’re wondering my wife & I own Dosa! 🙂

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