i've just returned from dasaprakash in santa clara.
it's as good as they say, y'all.
first off, i had tried to visit the one in southern california-- in cerritos. only to find out, they had moved up to our neck o'the woods. the replacement down in LA was terrible.
finally, i ventured off to the silicon valley to give the praised, and heretofore unexperienced, dasaprakash a whirl.
it's in a strip mall on homestead road. it's far more upscale than i had anticipated. not suit and tie upscale, but it's no round-the-way chaat house. the interior is sleek and modern w/a distinctly 'indian' color scheme, i.e. purples and green and bronzes. it makes for a concurrently warm and invigorating environment.
the pleasant hostess seated me at a table and handed me the lunch menu. based on the website, i assumed they presented the same menu all day a la udupi palace in newark. instead, the lunch menu had a series of specific lunch 'combo' meals. i ordered #5, the andhra heat which consisted of a pesseret, an uppuma and a conjeevaram iddly for $10-- a little pricier than expected, but i steeled myself. oh and a cup of masala tea.
all around me indians (mostly) and non-indians (some) were on a quick lunch break; they were quietly enjoying themselves and the food.
the masala tea arrived w/some water. the tea has headily spiced. the spices tasted clear and bright through the density of the milk and the tannins of the tea. i nursed the tea, excited for the incoming food.
i'd been waiting to taste dasaprakash's pesseret ever since i read jonathan gold's laudatory comments in COUNTER INTELLIGENCE.
the food came in just a few minutes. on the plate were the three aformentioned items and a bowl of sambhar. i leapt at the pesseret. it appeared much a like a dosa. i had imagined something thicker, more like an adai, but it resembled a dosa precisely except that it was green (from the green gram). inside were tucked slivered onions and hot peppers. i tore off a piece and tasted. again, much like a dosa w/an earthier beany taste. in my mouth, i tasted ginger loitering amongst the onion and peppers.
the iddly-- fluffy w/a barely fermented tang.
the sambhar-- thick and fresh tasting. smack of tamarind was more noticeable and more balanced than other sambhars i've head.
the uppuma-- i wasn't in a uppuma mood at all, yet it was great. mustard seeds, dal and more ginger. underlying was a base of ghee lending savor and heft.
the staff was friendly and efficient. on my way out i asked the hostess to see the dinner menu. i inquired if items off the dinner menu could be ordered for lunch. she replied, 'yes' except for a few items such as the bondas and bajjias.
i walked content and disconcerted that santa clara was so damn far away from SF.
2636 Homestead Road btwn Kiely and Las Palmas
Santa Clara, CA
Lunch M-F: 11:30-2:30
Dinner M-Th: 5:30-9:30
Sat and Sun: 11:30-10 (ALL DAY)