Finding a good Dosa in the U.S. is becoming almost as hard as seeing the Halley’s Comet.
And for unabashed gourmands like us, who’d kill for a good Dosa, that’s so frustrating.
In our odyssean quest for good Dosas, we have traveled far and wide, often driving across state borders in the U.S.
Alas, nemesis is ever close on our heels constantly dealing our hopes and tastebuds a severe blow.
But Phoenix-like we rise from our disappointing Dosas and resume our quest again.
Such is our passion for the Dosa, a delicacy from South India that the Gods bestowed upon man.
After watching the lousy boob show Kidnap the other day, we craved some relief. So we headed to Newark Ave in Jersey City (NJ), an area choc-a-bloc with Indian restaurants.
When we asked a friendly American parking lot attendant to recommend a good restaurant, his prompt response was Sapthagiri.
And boy, what a fine discovery Sapthagiri turned out to be.
There were few discordant notes in our meal or the service.
Sapthagiri’s Mysore Masala Dosa was a work of art.
Mouth wateringly delicious with a yummy onion/potato filling and the masala paste evenly smeared on the inside of the crepe, Sapthagiri’s spicy Mysore Masala Dosa seemed like the Mona Lisa of Dosas.
Not just the Dosa, surely the accompanying Chutney and Sambhar must have been what Muruga, Ram, Ganesh and other assorted Gods were gorging on to ensure their immortality.
Most Indian chefs (wannabe chefs, truth be said) in the U.S. are too lazy to make Chutney every day and store the Coconut Chutney in the fridge. Not surprisingly, the Chutney at most Indian restaurants in the U.S. isÂ cooold, tastes lousyÂ and, on occasion, even spoiled. But the Sapthagiri Chutney had a fresh and delicious taste so rarely encountered here.
We’ve tasted Dosas in Madurai and Montclair, Pondicherry and Pittsburgh, Erode and Edison, Bangalore and Baton Rouge, Mayavaram and Milpitas, Chennai and Chantilly, Tiruvannamalai and Toronto. But rarely has a Dosa like the one at Sapthagiri kissed our lips. Like all great works, our Mysore Masala Dosa was a rara avis (the saliva is drooling all over Acer keyboard at the very thought of that Dosa).
Believe us, when we finished our Mysore Masala Dosa, there was no need to wash that plate or the Chutney and Sambar cups. We’d wiped ’em all clean.
Besides the Mysore Masala Dosa, we also feasted on Medhu Vada, Kootu, Rasam, Andhra Pulihora, Poriyal (made from carrot and limabeans), White Rice and Yoghurt. Each time, the Gods smiled on us and showered their bountiful blessings.
The Medhu Vada was big and crisp. We broke it into pieces, dipped them in the hot Sambar, let them soak for a few seconds and popped them into our mouth one yummy piece after another.
Who needs Moksha (the Hindu utopian ideal of freedom from the cycle of births and deaths) when you can have such swell Dosas and Vadas on Earth.
Must have been our good Karma.
For desserts, we tried the Doodhi Halwa and Badam Halwa. The Doodhi Halwa was simply divine with just the right amount of sweetness and ghee.
Sadly, the Badam Halwa (Grounded almonds cooked with cream of wheat and butter) was a bit of a letdown. You see, the Badam Halwa could have done with less cream of wheat, more almond and a bit more sugar.
Coffee was good but lukewarm.
Our waiter Om Prakash from Warangal (in the state of Andhra Pradesh) was unfailingly attentive and endeared himself to us by giving us an extra cup of Doodhi Halwa after he saw us salivating and scrapping the last piece of the dessert from the first cup.
Its minor blemishes aside, Sapthagiri is a jewel of an Indian restaurant in New Jersey unlike ugly dumpsters like Urban Tadkaa, Dosa Express, Saravanaa Bhavan, or Udipi Village that seem to have been set up with the sole intention of killing your appetite.
Unless you are a saint and have renounced all worldly pleasures, you’ll want to visit Sapthagiri and sample the voluptuous array of fine Indian food on its menu.
N.B: Most Indian restaurants in the U.S. are notoriously inconsistent, so there’s no guarantee that your experience will be anything like ours. We can only pray that Sapthagiri doesn’t change its colors.
Not just the Dosa, surely the accompanying Chutney and Sambhar must have been what Muruga, Ram, Ganesh and other assorted Gods were gorging on to ensure their immortality”
Someone seems to be in a very good mood today! Was it the food or some great “time” last night? 😉 I thought you were an atheist..
Too bad that “Sambhar Vadai” isn’t in the menu..(they do have Rasa vadai – which can be equally good) More the soaking, tastier it gets.. instead of you getting a fresh vadai and soaking it, as you know.
Just curious.. do you reveal at all that you are food critics? If so, is it before or after the dining?
You write: Just curious.. do you reveal at all that you are food critics? If so, is it before or after the dining?
1. No, we do not reveal anything before or after the meal because our goal is to experience the same treatment that any diner would get if she/he were to visit the restaurant.
2. Since you have a curious temperament, we pay for our food too. 🙂
Wow…thanks!! This is a revelation, and an excellent one at that. I’ll be sure to visit this place.
By the way, have you ever paid a visit to Mysore Woodlands at West Devon in Chicago? What do you think of that place? I really like their Royal Dosa (around 4 ft long and filled with masala) and their Pongal-Avial is to die for!
You write above: By the way, have you ever paid a visit to Mysore Woodlands at West Devon in Chicago? What do you think of that place?
Yes, we visited Mysore Woodlands in Chicago on a cold evening a few years back. Here’s the photo of the Chicago Mysore Woodlands on W.Devon Ave.
We found the food at Mysore Woodlands to be decent….if our memory serves us right we had Onion Dosa and Channa Batura.
i have tasted many cuisines but the kind of variety and taste that Indian food has, that can’t be compared. Indian cuisine is the best cuisine and by long margins
You are absolutely right. There’s nothing even remotely close to Indian cuisine.
Indian food (like Indian girls) is just mouthwateringly delicious. No comparison with anything else at all.
Just look at the choice – North Indian, South Indian, Gujarati, Indian-Chinese, Andhra Style, Chettinad….
Appetizers – Samosa, Kachori, Pakoras/Bhajia, Tandoori platters, Sev Puri, Bhel Puri, Medhu/Masala/Rasam Vada…
And the sweets. Indian sweets (Jalebi, Mysorepak, Dharwad/Mathura Peda, Burfis, Laddoo…) show us heaven on Earth.
America has nothing by way of decent desserts except for those lousy cheesecakes, pies, Brownies and Chocolatecakes.
Ice Cream – Nothing can beat our Kulfis. American ice creams have a chemical taste to them.
In Delhi, we used to rush to Bengali market to have Dosas at a nice restaurant whose name we’ve now forgotten.
even in the chicken,we have tandoori chicken,butter chicken,chicken tikka and others which are too good
and i live in delhi and trust me in the whole India the kind of variety of food that is found in delhi,is not found anywhere else,there is not even single kind of food that is not present in delhi and delhiwale make everything perfect.
1. You write: even in the chicken,we have tandoori chicken,butter chicken,chicken tikka and others which are too good
Sure, there’s also Chicken Chettinad, Chilli Chicken, Chicken 65 (popular in South India), Malnad Chicken (from Karnataka), Andhra Chicken Curry, Chicken Manchurian, Garlic Chicken, Ginger Chicken…ah…Chicken ad infinitum in India.
Chicken 65 is nice with a Bloody Mary or even a coold Kingfisher or Heineken.
2. You write: in the whole India the kind of variety of food that is found in delhi, is not found anywhere else,there is not even single kind of food that is not present in delhi and delhiwale make everything perfect.
In the U.S., NYC has an extraordinary variety of cuisine. We’ve had Ethiopian, Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Japanese, Thai, Italian….But nothing beats Indian food.
Indian cuisine is picking up in the U.S. but still not as mainstream as Chinese, Mexican or Italian.
The problem with most Indian restaurants in the U.S. is that they dumb down on the spices to make the food agreeable to effete American palates.
Indian restaurants (and actors – Parminder Nagra and the guy in Heroes) are being featured in hollywood movies and TV.. not always in favorable light..
Tony argue about the quality of his food and Artie quickly learns that Tony ate at an Indian restaurant, which could have also caused sickness