As Uncle Yabai explains, Udupi Bhavan is a small chain of Indian "restaurants owned by the same family; they usually open near Hindu temples to serve the congregants before/during/after services. They have them in a number of places in the Northeast, as far west as Pittsburgh." Count Lowell among those places and opinionatedchef among the converted.
Despite the fact that the restaurant is "tucked into a hidden and sideways-oriented mini strip mall in the grubby industrial outskirts of Lowell" and the ambience is "bland as bland can be," the food is wonderful: South Indian, vegetarian, lots of gluten-free options. On Wednesdays there's an all-you-can-eat menu of dosas; on Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. there's also a well-appointed buffet that includes a plate of three different dosas.
But most of the time, you'll be ordering off the menu. opinionated chef particularly liked the rava dosa, a large, lacy crisp dosa made of rice and cream of wheat. The rasam, spicy sour soup, and the medhu wada, savory doughnuts made out of lentils, were equally wonderful. opinionatedchef counsels an order of plain yogurt on the side: "the bright acidic flavor perfectly complements the rich vegetarian dishes."
Udupi Bhavan [Merrimack Valley]
1717 Middlesex Street, Lowell