A couple of months ago, Murray and I ate at the restaurant recommended by an Indian consular official as the one serving the most authentic northern Indian cuisine in New York City. And if you have read that blog post, you know that the same consular official also had a southern Indian recommendation. Well, last weekend we finally decided, with friends Carole and Wayne, that we were all in the mood for vegetarian southern Indian food, so off we went, to Saravanaa Bhavan, on Lexington at the corner of 26th Street.
It's a casual place - wooden tables and chairs orderly arranged, nothing fancy. We carefully examined the menu but, because of our complete lack of experience with this type of food, knew we would want advice from the waiter. So we told the waiter that we were four hungry people wanting to experience the best and most authentic southern Indian Saravanaa Bhavan had to offer, and then we completely complied with his recommendations:
Medhu Vada, two doughnuts, evidently made from lentils, served with three delicious sauces for dipping (on the menu described as “sambar and chutneys”)
Tomato and Onion Utthappam, which is a thick pancake (made from rice and lentils), topped with tomatoes and onions and served with the same sauces as the Medhu Vada.
Milagai Podi Onion Dosa, a thin rice and lentil crepe filled with spices, onions, lentils and sesame seeds.
Channa Batura, a large puffed up bread served with channa masala, a chick pea dish that is one of my favorite Indian foods; this one did not disappoint.
South Indian Thali, a platter of rice, breads, and a mix of small dishes - including light dipping sauces, a soup, a vegetable stew, chutney, and yogurt.
Hungry people that we were at the start of this adventure, w
Hungry people that we were at the start of this adventure, we still had some room after eating all of the above, so we decided to have one dessert to share. For this, the waiter recommended Gulab Jamun, described on the menu as “dry milk and cottage cheese balls in light syrup and rose water.”
All of the food was delicious and relatively
inexpensive. In the end, we paid
$140, which covered all of the food described above plus two bottles of wine,
tea and coffee with our dessert, and a generous tip. We had a nice dinner, and not one of us was concerned with the lack of
Visa and MasterCard are accepted; no Amex.
Where and When
81 Lexington Avenue, at 26th Street
New York, NY
Monday - Friday
8:30 am - 10:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday
8:30 am - 10:30 pm