KQED Food Blog: Bay Area Bites: Lassi Love at Dosa
Bay Area Bites: culinary rants & raves from bay area foodies and professionals
Previous Posts
BAB nominated for 2005 Food Blog Award!
Grilled Cheese, Please!
Take 5 with Mario Nocifera
The Farmers' Market in Winter
Bonne Année de Paris! A Parisian New Year's Eve
A Christmas FoodFest in Portland
Ring in 2006 with Lemony Snicket
We Wish You a Merry Cheesemas
Take 5 with Jennie Schacht
Adventures with the Zuni Chicken
 
 
BAB Guidelines

'Bay Area Bites' is part of KQED's Blog Authors Collaborative. Blog contributors and commentators are solely responsible for their content. If you're interested in writing or contributing to a blog on kqed.org, email us with your idea.
 
Friday, January 06, 2006
Lassi Love at Dosa
I love mango lassis. Thick and cool with the sweet tropical perfume of pureed mango and the tang of creamy yogurt. Just writing about it makes me want to drop everything and go find one. Or perhaps zip down to Farmer Joe's (my local neighborhood market) and purchase the necessary elements to make one. Hmmmmmmmmm.

My ultimate mango lassi, the one I hold in the highest esteem, the one I crave, the one I compare all others to, is from Vik's Chaat Corner. Lined up on refrigerator shelves in too-small paper cups, I always want to order more than one, but by the time I've plowed through my kathi or puri or samosas or dumplings, I sadly have to walk (or is it roll?) away. But I digress, this is not about Vik's.



This is about another mango lassi I discovered at the newly opened Dosa, located on Valencia in the Mission (yes, for those of you wondering, it is in the former Val 21 space). The ever-so-lovely Davina (our newest BABer!) and I decided to sample Dosa's Southern Indian cuisine one recent evening.

The cozy little orange-walled space was hoppin' (a great sign since it was mid-week and the place has only been open for less than a month). We got lucky and snagged a couple of seats at the bar, but no sooner had we started perusing the drinks menu than we were whisked away to our table.

The drink list was interesting and included not only a selection of Indian beers, and the requisite lassis of course, but a variety of wines and cocktails made with soju, a Korean spirit distilled from rice and barley. In fact, they even have a house-infused lychee soju, which I promise to sample on another visit, if I can make it past the lassi. (Oh, and they also offer a soju-laced mango lassi. Interesting.)

But again, I digress. I know you are dying to hear about my lassi. In a word: divine. Either a very close second to Vik's version or perhaps even a tie, but definitely in the same league. (I might have to do a taste test in the very near future, if I can figure out how to make it all the way over the Bay Bridge without slurping it down.)

Lassis in hand, and with a plate of freshly-fried peppery pappadums (which were delicious but made me wish for some chutney), we were finally able to peruse the menu.



Starters range from some interesting salads, like fried paneer and romaine or a lemony chickpea salad, to small plates (chaat) of sambar-doused dumplings and steamed cakes to fried onion pakoras. We opted for the Dahi Vada, two plump lentil dumplings served chilled with spiced yogurt and tamarind sauce (and a green cilantro? chutney). The overall flavor was pretty good, but we found the dumplings to be a little dry and we wished for more tangy-sweet tamarind sauce to offset the savory flavors.

Entrees, as you might have guessed, weigh heavily on the dosa--crisp rice and lentil flour crepes that are slightly tangy from fermentation which are stuffed with a medley of options--with a couple of forays into uttapam (thick, open-faced dosas) and other Southern Indian specialties, such as lamb curry.



We chose the Spring Dosa, which was described as a masala dosa (masala dosas typically have a filling of spicy Indian potatoes, onions, and cashews) with the addition of fresh vegetables. The dosa we ordered was presented quite differently than any other dosa I've had, in three small cylinders that were stuffed full, rather than the bigger-than-your-dog dosas that have more crepe and less filling (granted, I noticed that they did serve the traditional masala dosa in the traditional way). The crepe itself was crisp and sour, just what you'd expect from a proper dosa. The filling, however, threw me off. I suppose when they listed "fresh vegetables" I might have made the leap to mean raw vegetables. The yummy masala component of the dosa was completely lost in a tangle of shredded raw cabbage, carrots, onions, and blanched peas. Not my favorite, but it was saved by the addictively delicious sambar (a lentil dipping soup with mixed--cooked--vegetables and spices) and superb coconut and spicy tomato chutneys which are served with each dosa entree.



We also ordered the "South Indian Moons" uttapam, five small uttapam "pancakes" of the chef's choosing (um, whatever was available in the kitchen?), also served with the yummy sambar and chutneys along with spicy channa (garbanzos), one of my all-time favorite Indian dishes. I've never actually eaten uttapam, so I really didn't have anything to compare them to, but I wasn't in love. The seemed more like thick pancakes with unimpressive fillings, again, saved by the fantastic embellishments.

Stuffed full, we couldn't make it to dessert (really what I wanted was another mango lassi, but I couldn't find room for it!). But I will definitely return to sample the masala dosa, in all it's traditional and simplistic flair, and of course, for more creamy mango lassis.

Dosa
995 Valencia @ 21st Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
415.642.3672

Open for dinner only
Closed Monday
 
 

3 Comments:

Blogger Sam said...

i think the consensus is - it is a good place to go drinking, not eating.

I reviewed it on SFist the other day and came to that conclusion. I'll republish my review on my own blog sometimes next week, i expect.

1/06/2006 4:27 PM

 
Anonymous Devi Gangadharan said...

Hi Kim - Having grown up eating dosas (my parents are from Tamil Nadu, which is in Southern India), I thought DOSA on Valencia was the real deal and I absolutely loved it. I just wanted to respond to your comment about “embellishments". Dosas and uttapams are not meant to be eaten on their own, so it's a bit unfair to evaluate them WITHOUT their embellishments. It's a bit like serving a hamburger without the patty, a mac without the cheese, a pasta without a sauce...you get my point, the accompaniments are an essential part of the dish. I always top each bite of my dosa with a little chatni and then dip it in the Sambar. Their sambar...oh sweet dancing Shiva!!!...was about the best I've ever had and their chatnis were unbelievable, though a little different from the one's I'm used to. Also, we had a bottle of the Gerwurtzminer, which complimented the food perfectly. Happy feasting! Devi.

1/08/2006 10:36 PM

 
Blogger Kim Goodfriend said...

Thanks for your comment Devi. Actually, I did not evaluate the dosas or uttapams on their own. As I said in my post, "it was saved by the addictively delicious sambar (a lentil dipping soup with mixed--cooked--vegetables and spices) and superb coconut and spicy tomato chutneys which are served with each dosa entree." I agree that their sambar was very delicious, and that it's an essential part of eating the dosa or uttapam. Glad you enjoyed your meal there.

1/13/2006 5:21 PM

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Locate CP Restaurants:
Check, Please! Google Map
 
KQED Food Sites
Check, Please! Bay Area
Jacques Pépin Celebrates!
Jacques Pépin:
Fast Food My Way
Jacques Pépin:
The Apprentice
Jacques Pépin:
The Complete Pépin
KQED Wine Club
KQED.org Cooking
Weir Cooking in the City
 
Tasty Food Sites
CHOW
Chowhound SF
Crushpad
CUESA
CulinaryCorps
Eat Local Challenge
Edible San Francisco
Epicurious
eGullet.org
Food Network
Food Talk
Group Recipes
Hungry Magazine
KTEH Food
Leite's Culinaria
Locavores
Mighty Foods
NPR: Food
Om Organics
Serious Eats
SFGate: Food
SFGate: Wine
SF Station: Restaurants
Slow Food SF
Top Chef
Wikimedia Commons: Food & Drink
Yahoo! Food
Yelp: Reviews
 
Tangy Food Blogs
101 Cookbooks
A Full Belly
Accidental Hedonist
agoodfoodblog
An Obsession with Food
Anna's Cool Finds
Becks & Posh
Between Meals
Blogsoop
Bunny Foot
Butter Pig
Cellar Rat
Chez Pim
Chocolate & Zucchini
Confessions of a
Restaurant Whore
Cooking For Engineers
Cooking with Amy
Cucina Testa Rossa
Culinary Muse
Denise's Kitchen
Digesty-SF
Eater SF
Eggbeater
Extramsg.com
Feed & Supply
Food Blog S'cool
Food Musings
Food Porn Watch
Gastronomie
Hedonia
I'm Mad and I Eat
In Praise of Sardines
Jatbar
Knife's Edge
Life Begins at 30
Love and Cooking
MeatHenge
Mental Masala
Moveable Feast
Nosheteria
Organic Day
Passionate Eater
San Francisco Gourmet
SF City Eats
Simply Recipes
Spicetart
The Amateur Gourmet
Tablehopper
The Ethicurean
The Food Section
The Grub Report
The Petite Pig
The Wine Makers Wife
Vin Divine
Vinography
VirgoBlue
Wandering Spoon
Well Fed Network
Word Eater
World on a Plate
Yummy Chow
 
 
   
Search BAB

Eye Candy: Food Photos
BAB on flickr.com
Join Flickr for free and share your photos with the Bay Area Bites and Beyond group pool.
 
Food Books
 
The Moosewood Cookbook
by Mollie Katzen
 
Baking: From My Home to Yours
by Dorie Greenspan
 
Grand Livre de Cuisine: Alain Ducasse's Desserts and Pastries
by Alain Ducasse, Frederic Robertmison
 
The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking and Entertaining
by Cheryl Alters Jamison, Bill Jamison
 
Tasty: Get Great Food on the Table Every Day
by Roy Finamore
 
Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way
by Lorna Sass
 
The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa
by Marcus Samuelsson
 
Michael Mina: The Cookbook
by Michael Mina, Photographer: Karl Petzktle
 
What to Eat
by Marion Nestle
 
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
by Michael Pollan
 
Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate
by John Scharffenberger, Robert Steinberg
 
Romancing the Vine: Life, Love, and Transformation in the Vineyards of Barolo
by Alan Tardi
 
What to Drink with What You Eat: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea -- Even Water -- Based on Expert Advice from America's Best Sommeliers
by Andrew Dornenburg, Karen Page, Michael Sofronski
 
The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-be Southerners
by Matt Lee, Ted Lee
 
Bread Matters: The State of Modern Bread and a Definitive Guide to Baking Your Own
by Andrew Whitley
 
Coloring the Seasons: A Cook's Guide
by Allegra McEvedy
 
All-new Complete Cooking Light Cookbook
by Anne C. Cain
 
Modern Garde Manger
by Robert B. Garlough
 
The Spice and Herb Bible
by Ian Hemphill, Kate Hemphill
 
The Improvisational Cook
by Sally Schneider
 
Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children
by Ann Cooper, Lisa M. Holmes
 
Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia
by James Oseland
 
My Life in France
by Julia Child, Alex Prud'Homme
 
A Passion for Ice Cream: 95 Recipes for Fabulous Desserts
by Emily Luchett, Sheri Giblin (photographer)
 
Au Pied De Cochon -- The Album
by Martin Picard
 
Memories of Philippine Kitchens
by Amy Besa, Romy Dorotan
 
Simple Chinese Cooking
by Kylie Kwong
 
 
An Invitation to Indian Cooking
by Madhur Jaffrey
 
Hungry Planet
by Peter Menzel, Faith D'Aluisio
 
Sunday Suppers at Lucques : Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table
by Suzanne Goin, Teri Gelber
 
Simple Soirees: Seasonal Menus for Sensational Dinner Parties
by Peggy Knickerbocker, Christopher Hirsheimer (Photographer)
 
The Cook's Book
by Jill Norman
 
Molto Italiano : 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home
by Mario Batali
 
Nobu Now
by Nobuyuki Matsuhisa
 
Cheese : A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best
by Max Mccalman, David Gibbons
 
Bones : Recipes, History, and Lore
by Jennifer McLagan
 
Whiskey : The Definitive World Guide
by Michael Jackson
 
The New American Cooking
by Joan Nathan
 
ChocolateChocolate
by Lisa Yockelson
 
Easy Entertaining: Everything You Need to Know About Having Parties at Home
by Darina Allen
 
Cooking at De Gustibus: Celebrating 25 Years of Culinary Innovation
by Arlene Feltman Sailhac
 
Dough: Simple Contemporary Breads
by Richard Bertinet
 
Chocolate Obsession: Confections and Treats to Create and Savor
by Michael Recchiuti, Fran Gage, Maren Caruso
 
The Food Substitutions Bible: More Than 5,000 Substitutions for Ingredients, Equipment And Techniques
by David Joachim
 
Recipes: A Collection for the Modern Cook
by Susan Spungen
 
Spices of Life: Simple and Delicious Recipes for Great Health
by Nina Simonds
 
Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent
by Jeffrey Alford, Naomi Duguid
 
Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light
by Mort Rosenblum
 
Vegetable Love: A Book for Cooks
by Barbara Kafka, Christopher Styler
 
A History of Wine in America: From Prohibition to the Present
by Thomas Pinney
 
Fonda San Miguel: Thirty Years Of Food And Art
by Tom Gilliland, Miguel Ravago, Virginia B. Wood
 
Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish South
by Marcie Cohen Ferris
 
Washoku: Recipes From The Japanese Home Kitchen
by Elizabeth Andoh, Leigh Beisch
 
 
Weir Cooking in the City: More than 125 Recipes and Inspiring Ideas for Relaxed Entertaining
by Joanne Weir
 
Rick Stein's Complete Seafood
by Rick Stein
 
The Great Scandinavian Baking Book
by Beatrice A. Ojakangas
 
Serena, Food & Stories: Feeding Friends Every Hour of the Day
by Serena Bass
 
John Ash: Cooking One on One: Private Lessons in Simple, Contemporary Food from a Master Teacher
by John Ash
 
The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook: Eating Well for Better Health
by Donald Hensrud, M.D., Jennifer Nelson, R.D. & Mayo Clinic Staff
 
Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions
by Fernando and Marlene Divina
 
The Provence Cookbook
by Patricia Wells
 
Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World
by Gil Marks
 
Last Chance to Eat: The Fate of Taste in a Fast Food World
by Gina Mallet
 
Bouchon
by Thomas Keller
 
A Blessing of Bread: The Many Rich Traditions of Jewish Bread Baking Around the World
by Maggie Glezer
 
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
by Molly Stevens
 
On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
by Harold McGee
 
Entertaining: Inspired Menus For Cooking with Family and Friends
by George Dolese
 
The Breath of a Wok: Unlocking the Spirit of Chinese Wok Cooking Through Recipes and Lore
by Grace Young, Alan Richardson
 
Cooking New American: How to Cook the Food You Love to Eat
by Fine Cooking Magazine
 
The Japanese Kitchen: A Book of Essential Ingredients with 200 Authentic Recipes
by Kimiko Barber
 
Arthur Schwartz's New York City Food: An Opinionated History and More Than 100 Legendary Recipes
by Arthur Schwartz
 
Poet of the Appetites: The Lives and Loves of M.F.K. Fisher
by Joan Reardon
 
Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes
by Jeffrey Hamelman
 
Everyday Dining with Wine
by Andrea Immer
 
 
Copyright © 2005-2008 KQED. All rights reserved.