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King Salmon Dosa @ Tabla Cafe in Larkspur

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King Salmon Dosa @ Tabla Cafe in Larkspur

Melanie Wong | Jun 24, 2006 10:15 PM

As much as I liked the staff and the organic philosophy here, I can't say that I was terribly excited about the food yesterday. For lunch I picked the special dosai of the day, king salmon with aioli and arugula ($12.50) and specified that I like my dosa "crispy". Having heard good things about the chutneys/condiments here, I paid 50¢ more for an extra serving in order to try two: cucumber raita and peach chutney. It was a good investment as the peach chutney was my favorite taste of this meal and was needed to rescue the dosa.

Maybe it was my fault for ordering it crispy. Even though this one was baked to dark brown and near-burnt, it didn't turn crispy. My dosa ritual is to break off the edge for the first taste what's usually the best and the freshest sample of the dosamaker's skill. This time, the first taste was tough and hard, rather than crispy. Tough enough that I had to apply more force than should be necessary to pinch off a piece with my finger tips. For the rest of the dosa, I had to use my knife to cut through the thick crepe. A fork was powerless against it. Also, it's not a very flavorful batter with just a faint hint of fermentation.

The grilled salmon in the filling was overcooked and dry. The nutty arugula was good quality and the only truly salvageable part of this dosa. It would have tasted even better if the filling had some salt added to it. Aioli was wimpy and near non-existent. All in all, extremely bland, dry and tough.

Dosa image -
http://static.flickr.com/78/173665825...

The finely chopped cucumbers in the raita were very good quality with a dense and satisfying crunch of freshness. However, the lightly spiced yogurt base was thin and watery, none of it clinging to the cucumbers.

I liked the peach chutney much better. Quite mildly spiced, the peach chunks actually tasted like peaches with a gingery back note. I liked the texture too. I used all of it to add some kind of flavor to my otherwise listless lunch.

The ginger spritz with lemonade ($3) was refreshing, well-balanced, and very natural tasting. I'd order it again, even though the serving size is skimpy for the price.

For dessert, I picked the angelfood cake and peach ice cream ($6). The cake was unlike any angelfood I've every run across and not an improvement. Heavy, wet, shot through with large holes, and rubbery, it seemed to want to be a sponge cake. And, yes, the photo below is the real color. The peach ice cream was lovely, although some might object to the ice crystals. The cake provided a good way to pick up every last melted drop from the plate.

Dessert image -
http://static.flickr.com/22/173665824...

So, I'm looking for advice from 'hounds on what I should have ordered here to enjoy my $24 investment more. The wine list includes Navarro's Navarrouge, Edelzwicker, and Ancien Pinot Noir by the glass and bottle. Some of the salads looked good, e.g., roasted beets. Tips, please?

Tabla Cafe
1167 Magnolia Ave
Larkspur 94939
415-461-6787

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