Saturday, January 31, 2009

Restaurant Review: House Of Dosas

You know me, dear readers. I don't ask for much. Just absolute obedience. Haha, I'm kidding I'm kidding .. or am I?! Don't dwell on the disturbed recesses of my mind for too long, or you'll just get sucked in.

What I have for you today folks, is a very pleasant proposition. Here's what I want you to do. I want you to find the nearest South Indian restaurant in your area. Search for it on Google! And go. Maybe not tonight, but hopefully for lunch tomorrow. If you are already a fan of your local dosa (South Indian crepe) joint, then you don't need any encouragement from me - you were probably on your way there anyway! But if you've never been, my oh my, are you in for a culinary treat.

I'm only thinking about your own good, dear readers. In these tough economic times, you'll find South Indian restaurants to be very reasonably priced, but filling and satisfying to the extreme. And healthy! All vegetarian! But so good, that it's one of DH's all-time favorite cuisines, and that's saying something, because as I've mentioned several times before, that boy loves his meat. It'll take a little getting used to if you've never been - the smells will seem a bit strange and overwhelming (food and incense), the menu a little daunting (never fear, just ask your friendly waiter for help), and they usually don't serve alcohol. But who would want a beer when you can have some sweet lassi?

Check out the frothy, yogurty goodness of this sweet lassi!

Let me take you inside my favorite South Indian restaurant and walk you through a typical lunch/dinner for us. The place is called House of Dosas and it's located in Hicksville, NY. They are open every single day, even holidays, and DH and I go there at least once or twice a month (if not more). The service is great and pretty zippy. Meals for us there have been completely satisfying every time, without fail. Now that's a rare find, huh?

We typically start off with our two favorite appetizers: the mini-idly with sambar and the paneer pakoras. Idlis are these little steamed rice balls that you dip in the hot, flavorful, spicy soup-like thing called sambar. They come with little coconut chutneys that you can also dip them into. Paneer pakoras are small slabs of indian cheese, dipped in chickpea batter and fried, sprinkled with chaat masala accompanied by a sweet tamarind dip and the ubiquitous coconut chutneys. These are so damn good that I could eat 50 of them, but then it wouldn't be a very healthy meal, would it?

Paneer pakoras - so addictive!

You have oodles of choice for your main course; vegetarian curries with freshly-made rotis or fluffy puris; different types of rice dishes; or a variety of uthappam (savory pancakes). But this is after all, the House of Dosas, so do yourself a favor and order a dosa already! DH always orders the Cheese Mysore Masala Dosa - a crepe made from rice flour, lined with a spicy masala and melted cheese, and stuffed with a potato mixture. My current favorite is the Onion Rava Masala Dosa - a semolina crepe, extra crispy, dotted with caramelized onions and filled with the same potato mixture. Break into the middle of the crepe and work your way outwards, scooping up the potato mixture with the crepe, and dip it in the accompanying sambar and chutneys. Behold!

Cheese Mysore Masala Dosa - not for the faint-hearted because it's pretty spicy!

My Onion Rava Masala Dosa - less spicy but I love the extra crispy texture!

If that is all you eat at this restaurant and walk out, you will be a happy camper. But I highly recommend that you don't leave without the proverbial icing on the cake - the dessert. A dimunitive portion of their warm home-made badam (almond) halwa, made with ghee and speckled with saffron, topped off with a small scoop of vanilla ice-cream - pure genius! If that doesn't rock your boat, then at least try a sip of their masala tea or masala coffee. You may never feel the same way about your regular morning caffeine fix.

Warm badam halwa with vanilla ice-cream - the one thing DH and I never share!

So will you find your nearest South Indian dosa place and go now? The next time you're in Long Island, definitely try out this one. I recommend it without hesitation. It's not only popular amongst the local desi community (always a good sign), but also greatly frequented by regulars from all communities and walks of life (an even better sign).


Doppelganger said...

I have to be honest, I've never been to a Dosa place in all my life because I've been afraid. *hangs head shamefully* But both dosas look and sound exceedingly delicious! Perhaps, it is just the unknown which scares me. The appetizer is making my mouth water, especially with those chutneys! wow! I miss eating spicy food out here! And I'd never even heard of badam halwa! You're opening new doors for me, you benevolent goddess of all things delectable! :)

I think I'll follow your advice, look for a dosa place nearby, and take my friends out to lunch!

Nazarina A said...

My favorite dosa place is Masalas here in Denver. The ones here in your picture also had my tummy screaming for one. So my girlfriend, and I who is a vegetarian, shall be visiting Masalas today after reading your post ha! ha!

NKP said...

I love dosa - I haven't had any since I moved away from Toronto.
They are on my want-to-learn-how-to-make-one-day list!

Muneeba said...

Spread the word - dosas are great for bringing together all kinds of people! And they're fun to eat!

Sapuche said...

After reading this, and seeing the mouthwatering photos you posted, I’m pining for more – some – any! – South Indian restaurants in Honolulu. Actually, I believe there are two here. I will definitely check them out soon, especially if I find that they serve dosas like you described. The idea of all those dipping sauces has my tongue spinning inside my head. I’ll let you know what I find here in case you ever find yourself in Hawaii and get a craving! Oh, and thanks for allowing me to get sucked into the "disturbed recesses" of your mind. It looks delicious there!

null said...

I have been to the House of Dosa a bunch of times. I work in Melville and an Indian friend took us there for lunch. It is really as good as this article says. They just put a new dosa on the menu. Unfortunately I can't remember the name but I can honestly say it was one of the best meals of my life.

I have a vendor lunch tomorrow, guess where I am going!