This Mother’s Day was special. With my sister and dad in India, my mom came up to SF for the weekend. Sheila’s folks also drove up from San Jose for a family lunch. Instead of going to your typical North Indian curry house. We decided on Dosa on Fillmore.
The concept of elevated South Indian cuisine – dosas, uttapams, and idli/sambar – foods that are typically served at corner stalls. It’s sister location on Valencia is a much smaller venue both this one has an amazing open floor plan with 20+ ft ceiling, beautiful chandeliers, and vivid ethnic prints.
We arrived for an early lunch at 11:45am and were seated in the loft space upstairs. After perusing the menu for a few minutes we decided on several appetizers, entrees, and lassis. Time passed quickly as we all talked about recent trips to India, family happenings, and of course food!
Okay on the food, certainly secondary to spending time with our Moms -
Sweet Lassi – cool and refreshed, but only had one note. I was looking for some cinnamon or saffron to finish off the flavor profile. Mind you I had not trouble drinking to entire glass in a matter of minutes.
Bhel Puri – the best plate on the table. A very good balance on two levels - sweet and savory; then chewy and crunchy. The ingredient list is simple – puffed rice, garbanzo beans, onions, fried chickpea flour (sev), cilantro, mango, tamarind chutney, and mint chutney. The cooked garbanzo beans and mango were a pleasant surprise, not standard for bhel puri. The beans were slightly al dente and the mango slightly under ripe; allowing for neither to get soggy. The amount was perfect to share amongst the five of us. We’d order this again for sure.
Mung Daal Salad – a refreshing cold salad bursting with fresh flavors. It was created with sprouted mung beans, jicama cubes, finely diced tomatoes, chopped red onions, and cilantro-lime vinaigrette. On the surface you wouldn’t think much, but all it took was one bite for the mom’s to give their approval. The rest of the meal was spent trying to decipher all the spices and ingredients in this dish – perhaps a home version will be attempted the next time we visit Cerritos!
Masala Dosa – a crispy Indian crepe filled with a stuffing of potatoes, onions, tomatoes, and peas. It was served with coconut chutney, chilly chutney, and sambar. The dosa was certainly crispy and the sambar piping hot, but they were heavy handed with the salt. It’s likely because Sheila and I have cut down on our sodium intake over the past few years. I have to say that when eaten in tandem with the stuffing, the dosa balanced out well. Garam masala was prevalent; it’s the heat you feel going down to your stomach. I’d go for Udipi Palace’s version instead.
Paneer & Peas Dosa – an Indian crepe stuffed with shredded paneer and peas. It was also served with the same sambars and chutneys. After one bit, it was apparent that the filling was too heavy; an overwhelming heap of paneer. Admittedly the filling was good, but I couldn’t taste the very thin dosa at all. I only got through two-thirds of the dish, so we’ll see of the tastes marry overnight when had as leftovers.
Fresh Fruit Napoleon Uttapam – three mini uttapams sandwiched with cooked apples, pears, shaved coconut, and strawberry/tamarind chutney. It was part of Dosa’s brunch menu and certainly their attempt at Indian pancakes. I felt that the uttapam was too thick, perhaps because my few bites didn’t incorporate the all the toppings. Sheila loved this dish – it was a nice finish to the predominately savory meal. Kinda wish we had ordered this for dessert though.
All in all, it was the company more than the venue or food that made today memorable. We joked, laughed, and spent precious time together. We’d go back to Dosa, but it won’t be the same if not accompanied by our moms.