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Tamil food on Curry Hill

February 7, 2010

Whenever I’d visit my grandmother in Chennai, Saravana Bhavan was one of the few places she’d deign to eat at, outside of home. Just seeing its badly designed, boringly coloured signboard on Lexington and 26th brought on a wave of nostalgia.

But I didn’t let sentiment cloud my judgement. I was on the lookout for any food that was below the standards of their flagship restaurant in Chennai. The Dosas (pictured above) were worthy in every way of their counterparts back home. There is no concession to the American palate here: you would try the Millagaipodi Dosa only if you were very bravehearted. It comes coated on the inside with a spice mixture that I lovingly call Gunpowder. My very European friends tried the milder Masala Dosa, and loved it.

The rice dishes were fine too. I highly recommend the Mini Meal: four varieties of rice, each as authentic as the productions of my own Desi kitchen. If you finish that, and would like dessert, be sure to ask for Chakkarai Pongal. Saravana Bhavan is especially adept at concocting this divine mixture of rice, lentils, jaggery and ghee.

The ambience is nothing to write home about. Even so, my considered opinion is that if my grandmother were to visit New York, I wouldn’t be ashamed of bringing her here. And that’s saying something.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 20, 2010 5:51 pm

    I had the yummiest Onion Masala Chicken Dosa with Chicken Curry in Tooting Bec in London’s deep south a couple of weekends ago! And the Pepper Rasam made me want to call you right away….you would’ve been so proud of that rasam!

    And don’t get me started on Saravana Bhavan in Dubai….best place for dosa in all of the UAE I think. tiptop firsht class dosa, rasam and fresh filter coffee 🙂

    oh the food!

  2. February 22, 2010 8:57 am

    My grandmother’s the same. My grandfather’s more experimental though.

    Although, one day at Domino’s, he did ask for chutney and sambar to go along with his pizza.

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