Three college friends and I got together for dinner last night at Saravanaas, the new South Indian restaurant on Lexington at 26th St. (NOT Saravanas Bhavan, formerly Dosa Hut, one block north). None of us are experts in South Indian food, but we had a truly delicious and large meal with a bottle of so-so wine for about $85 total (including tax and tip).
We got the following:
- sambar vada (lentil donuts in lentil sauce)--complex, spicy sauce, one of the favorites
- plaintain baiji--perfectly fried, and served with the same lentil sauce
- adai avail--flat, crispy lentil pancake, one of the favorites
- mixed vegetable paratha--very good, also spicy
- channa batura--big fluffy roti-like bread, but not enough channa masala came with it
- rava kachidi--the most so-so dish, a kind of grain (sooji), also served with the lentil sauce
- dessert: rava kesari--also made out of sooji with good caradamom flavor, and not as sweet as most Indian desserts. It was comfortingly pleasing, like a rice pudding.
One thing about the menu--it's really not very helpful if you don't know anything about South Indian food. For example, one of the desserts is described as "rice sweetened with jaggery." It's nice not to read jarring too-literal descriptions, like I often see in East Asian restaurants, but if you're clueless like us, it helps to go in with an open mind.