On Sunday William and I stopped by Madras Cafe in Sunnyvale for lunch. Luckily we seemed to hit the lull just after 1pm. Right afterwards the line to order was out the door and folks were waiting for tables.
We tried 4 dishes -
Curd rice, $3.25
Mini idly (14) with sambhar, $3.75
Madras paratta (weekends only), $4.50
Onion rava masala dosa, $6.25
With a mango lassi for my brother and a filter Madras coffee (weekend only) for me, the total tab was about $24.
Everything was solid. Serving sizes are a little smaller than some of the other South Indian places we've tried, but prices are even lower here providing good value if you don't mind eating off disposables.
The Madras paratta deserves special mention as the pulled bread was a very good rendition. I think I liked the smaller diameter as more of the flat bread was crusty without the wet center. The accompanying kurma was tasty, if somewhat curdled marring its appearance.
The rava dosa was also good. I like mine thinner and lacier, yet this stayed crisp a bit longer. William thought it looked like a giant serving of hash browns. the potato filling was delectably spiced and had good texture of firmish cubes and some coarse mash. The chutneys were a weak point, not as intense as other places. The green chili flaming hot one was a new style to me.
The sambhar accompanying the dosa and the idlies was complex and not muddy. It had a slow burn that buit up to a fiery finish.
William liked his mango lassi a lot. It had the richer taste of Alphonso mangoes and thicker, creamier yogurt.
Madras Cafe does a good job on the standards we tried. Not the best in any category, but surely the best price:quality ratio I've found. It does a better job at fast food and service than say Spice Hut. We're still curious how the food runners know who has ordered the dishes they bring out. (g)