Upon the recommendation of several fellow hounds, I took advantage of a 3-day trip to LI (for a workshop on installing solar electric systems, no less) to eat at House of Dosas. Jim Leff (see recent post on this board) says this is more or less the best South Indian in the NY area. I'm used to the standard Indian fare, and generally love the cuisine, but have never had dosas before. The first night, I had the Pondicherry Masala -- a thin pancake (I suppose this is the dosa -- I should have asked more questions) rolled around vegetables, served with coconut chutney. Delicious, simple, and different. It was served with a soup, which was fairly light, but with somewhat complex flavors. The appetizer, which was offered on the house when I said I'd never eaten at the place before, was an ample plate of Pakora (vegetable fritters), served with two chutneys.
Other diners (all were Indian when I visited) were eating large dosas, some of which were sort of feathery looking, that were served flat, not rolled, to be dipped in soup and sauces. An impressive presentation -- these things are easily 16-18" long, the size of a placemat.
I got Badam Halwa for dessert, an almond confection flavored with saffron, served with ice cream (I chose mango.)
They were extremely gracious, and even sent me home with some special soup meant to cure the cold I was enduring, which they also gave me on the house.
The next night, I got Vegetable Khorma, a fairly spicy curry served with rice. While good, the first night's dosa was better.
It's all vegetarian, and as I've said, in some sense simple. Prices are in the $6-8 range for main dishes. When I was telling the owner that I learned about the place from Chowhound, where it was described as the best in the region, another customer overheard and agreed -- "you won't find better dosas than here," he said to me. I wish I could try a dozen other dishes, or more, to really learn about this region's cuisine (but alas, Hicksville is 3 hrs. from home.)
My only complaint, which should be offered to the owners as a polite suggestion, is that the overly bright overhead flourescent lighting really ruins the atmosphere, at least for me. Next time I'm in Hicksville, perhaps I'll find a kind way to share this.