Friday, November 30, 2007

Dosa Diner

We reviewed Dosa Diner (located at 3566 73rd St in Jackson Heights, Queens) a while back and had some not-so-great things to say about it. But since then we’ve gone back many times and it’s actually become one of our favorite restaurants! I know, it’s shocking. But read on and we’ll reveal the reasons we changed our mind.

Mulligitawny Soup
This is a great soup to have on a cold day, or when you're coming down with something. Why? Because it is usually supremely spicy and will knock whatever chill or ickiness you're experiencing right out of your system. The level of spice varies from "ooh spicy" to "Womigod that's spicy", as does the amount of rice at the bottom (usually none). Jim and I usually share a soup, not because it's a huge portion, but because it's so spicy and filling and we want to save room for the Dosas. -Ev

Chutneys and Sauces
You might think it’s weird that we’re writing a separate review of the sauces and chutneys, but there’s a reason we’re doing it. And that reason is because they are AMAZING. The discovery of the chutneys and sauces is one of the biggest reasons that Dosa Diner has recently been upgraded from a restaurant that we weren't too thrilled with to one of our favorite restaurants. Ok, let’s start with the dark red sauce. We asked what it’s called and we were told it’s “Malakopita”, but I’m quite certain I’m spelling that wrong. Anyway, we were afraid to try it at first because it looks really spicey, but it’s actually not so much hot as extremely flavorful and rich. It’s chili-ey and salty and hard to describe but really good. Okay, on to the Mango Pickles (the chunkiest one). The Mango Pickles are bits of mango and vegetables that have been pickled so that they have a super-strong pickley flavor. They are so strong that we can only eat a little bit at a time, but we love them! I believe the orangey sauce is Garlic Chutney, because it’s very garlicky. It’s reminiscent of pizza sauce, though that’s a bit ethnocentric of me as I suppose an Indian person might say pizza sauce is reminiscent of Garlic Chutney. I’m not sure what the green chutney is, but I’m pretty sure the main ingredient is cilantro as it’s very tangy. These sauces, combined with the standard Coconut Chutney and Sambar that come with all Dosas, make your dosa experience a super-rich, ultra-flavorful roller coaster ride of deliciousness. My ideal bite of Dosa involves Dosa, Sambar, Coconut Chutney, Malakopita (sp?) and a little but of Mango Pickle. Yes, it’s a lot of work, but oh my god it’s full of flavors! Make sure you ask for the chutneys. We got lucky the fourth or fifth time we went to DD when they brought them out without us asking and we were like, “What is this stuff?”. We’ve been asking ever since! -Jim

Masala Dosa
Mmmm. The good ol' delicious Dosa standby. The Dosa itself is usually crunchy on the outside and slightly more tender in the middle. I find that the varieties of dosas also come folded in a variety of ways. The Masala Dosa usually comes as a large tube or a large triangle. The amount of potato may seem a little small, but it is very filling. The potatoes themselves are smooth and creamy. And of course you get lentil Sambar and Coconut Chutney on the side. Mmmmmm again! -Ev

Mysore Masala Dosa
The Mysore Masala Dosa is very similar to the Masala Dosa, which Ev just told you all about. So I’ll just tell you what makes the Mysore Masala Dosa different: spicey red chutney! The inside of this Dosa is coated in it. It’s actually similar in flavor to the Malakopita (sp?) I described earlier. Or rather the Malakopita that I didn’t describe earlier because it’s hard to describe. It’s a very rich, strong flavor and I love it. I generally order the Mysore rather than the Masala because The Mysore Masala Dosa is like a Masala Dosa only better. A +1 Masala Dosa, if you will. -Jim

The Bottom Line
We figured that since we go to the Dosa Diner almost every Sunday now, we owed it another review to show our love. Our first review was less than stellar owing to slow service and some bathroom issues, but all of that has been resolved. The guests at your table may get their dishes at different times, rather than all at once, but service tends to be fast enough and the food is really really good. Addictive, one might say. Especially with all of those delicious chutneys! See you there Sunday! -Ev
Yeah we’ve had a total change of heart about Dosa Diner. The service still isn’t great and the bathrooms can still be a little bit icky sometimes, but we are utterly addicted to the food. We literally go about once a week. In fact we’re probably going tomorrow afternoon, and I can’t wait! -Jim

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Knish Nosh

Knish Nosh is a famous Queens Knishery located at 100-30 Queens Blvd in Forest Hills. All the Knishes contain no dairy or eggs, so any non-meat Knish is vegan.

Kasha Knish
This was the only knish of the 3 we tried that I had dipped in mustard, although I did like its full nutty flavor. This was definitely the subtlest of the 3. It was hard to compete with the other varieties we tried, but I thought it was a nice palate cleanser, and could definitely see having one of these on a day I’d want to eat something “healthy”. I couldn’t really tell if there was any potato mixed in, or if it was just the kasha alone. The dough was also tougher than the other kinds. I would say, unless you have a pre-existing love of kasha or really want to go the plain route, you should order a different kind. -Ev

Cabbage Knish
The Cabbage Knish was the most unique of the three. First of all, the outside of this knish was more flakey and delicate than that of the other knishes. The inside, on the other hand, was the most moist and creamy of all of them. The potato was mixed with cabbage and red peppers, and the red peppers actually contributed a lot of flavor to this knish. In fact, if I had to name it, I would name it a Cabbage and Pepper Knish. Regardless, this was my favorite and I think Evelyn’s favorite, too. It was definitely the most exciting and flavorful of the bunch. The sexiest, one might say. Especially Ev since I think she has a knish fetish. -Jim

Spinach Knish
Oh YUM! This tasted like my grandma’s spinach pie (minus the sausage). The spinach was blended with potato to a salty creamy consistency. It was really rich and flavorful. The crust was tender and delicious. I’d say this was equal in awesomeness to the cabbage knish. I’m even drooling a little as I write this. Definitely try this one, it’s a winner! -Ev

The Bottom Line
It’s fun reviewing a New York City Landmark. Knish Nosh has been in business since 1952! And they definitely make the best Knishes I’ve ever had. But we did make one mistake and that was ordering three. One knish is more than enough food for one hungry person. We were super-stuffed when we were done eating. -Jim
I love Knish Nosh! I wouldn't say I have a knish fetish per se, but definitely I've been known to get knish cravings that drive me into a frenzy. I think knishes are the perfect comfort food because they're big, warm and mushy like a good hug. Also cute fact: my Mom used to go here when she was younger. I think Cabbage and Spinach are tied for first place so far, mayyyyybe Cabbage has the edge. I can't wait to go back and try the other varieties. Also, we'll have to try Yonah Schimmel for Battle of the Knishes! -Ev