Monday, April 30, 2007

Dosa Diner

We recently ate at Dosa Diner, located at 3566 73rd St in Jackson Heights, Queens. The Dosa Diner is vegetarian with plenty of vegan options.

Mulligatawny Soup
I had to take it slow with this soup because it was mighty spicy. But then again, I tend to be a wimp when it comes to spicy food, so you might not want to take my word for it. Despite the fact that it was a bit spicier than I would have liked it to be, I enjoyed it quite a bit. The texture was thick and almost creamy, the flavor was tangy and hearty. It’s a good thing I was hungry, because the portion was large and the soup was very filling. I’ve never actually had a Mulligatawny Soup that wowed me, but I find them to be consistently tasty and this was no exception. -Jim

Pondicherry Dosa
A few weeks ago, Jim ordered the Pondicherry Dosa and I was fortunate enough to try his leftovers. I was treated to an unexpected improvement on the Masala Dosa: the addition of a layer of hot spices that was nestled between the soft inside of the crepe and the mushy heaven of seasoned potatoes. It was with this delicious memory in mind that I ordered one of my own. Unfortunately, while still yummy (because, let’s face it, a Dosa can’t be bad) this one was lacking the delicious spice of the Pondicherry Dosa I had tried before. Whereas the one Jim had ordered had a healthy rust color spread throughout the inside, this one was just a plain Masala Dosa with one or two spots of what looked like accidental droppings of spice- certainly not enough to taste any different from a normal Dosa. I have a reluctant yet nagging suspicion that this had something to do with the fact that I’m female, and I must say I’m afraid to go back and order it again because if I say “I’d like it spicy, please” then I might end up with the Dosa equivalent of Vindaloo. I really should’ve said something, but at the time I kept hoping that it would magically become spicy. So take from this review what you will, a memory of a sublime meal, or a second taste with a side order of disappointment. ::sigh:: -Ev

Special Rava Dosa w/ Chilis and Onions
When ordering a Dosa, always remember: if you want potato in your Dosa, either make sure the menu says it has potato in it by default or tell your waiter that you want potato. Lately I’ve been going to a lot of restaurants where all the Dosas have potato by default, so at Dosa Diner I forgot to specify and got a Dosa with no potato, which was disappointing but totally my fault. But it was still pretty good! It was a Rava Dosa, which means it was made of semolina instead of fermented lentils and rice. The texture was crispy and delicious and I loved the onions and chilis cooked into it. The Sambar and coconut chutney at Dosa Diner are tasty and rich. The only problem with this dish was that it took forever to get to the table. We were waiting for a long time before the waiter finally came by and mentioned that the Special Rava Dosa takes longer to cook than other Dosas. Since this isn’t mentioned on the menu, I feel like he should have warned me of this when I ordered it. -Jim

The Bottom Line
I’m not sure what to say about this one. Pre-meal, I was honestly all set to write a rave review, but the whole not-spicy Dosa snafu left me with (pardon the pun) a bad taste in my mouth. Did the food taste good? Yes. Was the staff nice? Yes. The place looks like a cute diner with awesome copper-topped tables and a small stage set for nightly live music. I have to be honest though, and don’t read this if you’re eating right now. Maybe a poor-pissing convention rolled in, but the bathrooms were nasty. The women’s room was nasty so I used the men’s room and that was nasty too. When I pointed it out and went to use it again, their solution had been to just throw toilet paper across the piss that was pooled at the back of the seat. So bottom line- do your best Dr. Girlfriend impersonation or have a guy call in and order take out for you. I write this regretfully, but I have to write about the experience I had and not the one that could’ve been. –Ev
Between Ev’s lack of spiciness, my long wait and the messy bathrooms, we’re ending up with a not-so-good review, which is a shame because we’ve had good experiences before at Dosa Diner. Perhaps they were just having an off-day, or perhaps our previous good experiences were flukes. I’m leaning towards the former because the food here is usually pretty darn good and the prices are so cheap (the Dosas are about 6 bucks each) that I’m willing to cut them some slack. -Jim