Thursday, July 17, 2014

Dosa - San Francisco, California

While randomly walking around San Francisco without a real dinner plan we came across a nice looking Indian restaurant that looked like it was about to open. Through the windows we could see that it had a nice atmosphere and the menu in the window looked very appealing. Then as my friend asked what this place was called he stepped back and saw the sign and exclaimed, “This is Dosa, I have heard of this place!”
It was just after 5pm and they opened up at 5:30, so we decided to go across the street and have a cocktail until they opened because we were getting hungry and wanted to eat here.

Apparently Dosa is San Francisco’s first Southern Indian Restaurant, and we were at their second, more modern and spacious location.
We returned promptly at 5:30 and were seated immediately, then greeted by our friendly server (we knew we were in for a fantastic dining experience).

Now as for the food, I am quite familiar with Indian cuisine so I knew exactly what a Dosa was, however their menu describes it pretty well and gives eating instructions for beginners.

Savory rice and lentil crepe, all served with fresh coconut and tomato chutneys and sambar (a flavorful lentil dipping soup made with vegetables and spices)
Portion size of a large plate
Masala is a traditional filling of spiced mashed potatoes
Tip for first-timers… Dip each morsel of your Dosa or Uttapam in the Sambar, then use the chutneys… and yes, feel free to use your fingers

Although they offer several forms of Southern Indian Cuisine, I figured that we should just stick to their name’s sake and order Dosas. I noticed that they had a large variety of different (and interesting sounding) Dosas, as well as Uttapams (a thicker, pancake-style variation of Dosa).

As they brought our drinks they also brought out some Papadums as an appetizer. Many Indian restaurants offer these and they are a great crispy starter, but very light and won’t fill you up.

For our first course we split the Caramelized Onion Uttapam (Caramelized Onion, garnished with cilantro $11)
To me this was an interesting twist on what I know a Dosa to be. It was much thicker, heartier and possibly a little greasier, but full of flavor and we both really enjoyed it. The chutneys that accompanied the Uttapam were also very different and had great flavor.

As for my entrĂ©e I went with the Paneer and Peas Dosa (filled with spiced and shredded farmer’s cheese, fresh English peas and cilantro $13.50)
I have never heard of a Dosa with these ingredients before (and I have had many Dosas) so it sounded intriguing to me. I was very pleased with the portion size as it arrived to the table, and the taste did not disappoint either. The Peas were awesome in the Dosa, and the spices balanced perfectly. I ate every bite!

So I feel like Dosa is a great place to go for many reasons.
The atmosphere is wonderful and it would be a great place for “Date Night”.
The food is really flavorful, and if you are new to Indian cuisine this is a great place to start because of the user-friendly menu.
The prices are very reasonable, especially considering how elegant the place is and how great the service.

Dosa on Urbanspoon

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