81 Lexington Avenue corner of 26th Street
about $45, with one drink, with tip
The Dr. remembered a suggestion he received from one of his co-workers for some dosas in Murray Hill but the name escaped him; all he knew was that it was long and unpronounceable. Luckily we caught a glimpse of Saravanaa Bhavan’s sign as soon as we turned the corner on Lexington Avenue.
I wanted something new and I decided on two dishes I’ve never heard before after scanning the menu. (The Dr. stuck with the more familiar vegetarian dosa.) The adai avail reminded me of the hard work I put into making my own chataamari, grinding the lentils by hand using a simple mortar and pestle while watching TV. It was pasty but the texture was still grainy: unmistakably homemade.
The onions were apparent in the kaima idli, and I couldn’t stop eating. The spiciness also lingered after several spoonfuls. I slathered it with the raita, the yogurt-based dip, to keep it together. I found a new favorite and I was addicted. The salted lassi wasn’t exactly the best match but I just had to try it and cross it off my recent must-try list.
Go to Saravanaa Bhavan if you want to stray away from the usual curries and if you don’t feel like paying double at SoHo’s Hampton Chutney. The scene is a New York City one, full of family life and color.