Yum. That pretty much sums it up, folks. Oh, in detail? Ok, let me start from the top then.
A half-dozen of us East Bay gals headed to the big, bad city. I lived in San Francisco while in college. For years after that, I would drive through S.F. and tell my husband that the city just felt like home. How times have changed! Two kids and a few sunny, suburban years later I am back to being totally intimidated by the fog laden, concrete maze.
Wrapping my hair with my hands, (to prevent pre-dinner frizz) we hurried from our parking spot a couple blocks up the road to our location, Dosa! Our group organizer and her sister (who was with us too) have frequented Dosa and offered some great recommendations. Dosa is across the street from a new (to me at least) movie theater in what seems to be the Pac Heights-Japantown-Fillmore district. PacJaMore, anyone? No takers? Ok, on to the drinks.
The majority of Dosa’s drinks start with gin, which is not my favorite. I chose instead to start with a non-alcoholic Indian Monsoon, which is described as, “Muddled citrus, mint & ginger with pomegranate & mango juice, splash of soda.”
My description? Mmm. Nice and fresh with an interesting depth. I know I mentioned wanting to drink the Bollywood Hills, but once the waitress described the drink as a savory martini, I decided to pass.
The majority of us opted for the tasting menu, which offers three courses for $35. First up, Chennai Chicken. We were warned ahead a time that this first dish would be spicy and while it was, there was also a side of cool raita (cucumber yogurt.) The chicken is organic and boneless and marinated in Straus yogurt with coriander and cumin and then fried. My friend Lisa described these as Indian buffalo wings. The sides of yogurt, lemon and red onion really balanced the spice out.
Dosa offers a South Indian “home-style” cuisine, which is different from the heavier, clay pot type Indian food I am used to eating, which comes from the north. Their specialty is dosa, which is a savory crepe like food, constructed from rice and lentils. The combo of rice and lentil almost never gets me excited. I truly considered skipping this course, thankfully I didn’t! Rice and lentils always surprise me and I have to remember that half of the world’s meals are made from these two basic ingredients. Don’t quote me on that statistic, I just pulled that one out of my, uh…head.
The dosa I chose was Summer Vegetable, loaded with collard greens, bell peppers, ground lentils & chiles. Each dosa comes with three dipping sauces, if you will. Coconut & tomato chutneys along with sambar, a lentil dipping soup. Can’t escape the lentil in this course, can you? I was so pleasantly surprised when I took my first bite.
It was after my dosa I realized that I need a cocktail! I couldn’t blog about my dinner without a cocktail, right? See, Food it Forward is keeping me well nourished and hydrated. My pal had ordered her second Ginger Ante, so I thought I would follow suit.
Ginger Ante – Goslings Black Seal Rum, ginger jaggery nectar, fresh lime, ginger ale, over ice
What a mysterious drink! It tastes as deep and frosty as it looks. The rum is so smooth and barely noticable (aka: dangerous.) The smell of the giant rosemary garnish adds to the complex mix of flavors that the Ginger Ante offers up. We couldn’t quite put our finger on the sweetness that filled the middle of this drink. Jody (my co-ginger ante pal) mentioned she tasted apricot. Looking further into ginger jaggery nectar, I found …nothing. What is ginger jaggery nectar, anyone know? Another reviewer mentioned that this drink would be a perfect cocktail to serve at Thanksgiving and one more deemed it, dark and stormy. Perfect descriptions.
Third course is on its way. Who’s ready for a big pot pie?
Not really, this is Channa, which comes with… Bhatura.
Together they make…Channa Bhatura. Which is the most exotic way you can imagine to say, bread and lentils! This was the main entree for our hostess, Gheeta. My third course was Shrimp Masala. This loosely translates to hot, creamy masala flavored bowl of shrimp with coconut rice and cool yogurt. Please know that I’m lying again.
Coconut milk, red chiles, ginger, onions & spices.hile this part of the meal was as delicious as any other, it reminded me the most of the North Indian cuisine that I love. Once again folks, I sacrificed for you. I had dessert. While tempted to order something special to Dosa, like their Coconut Custard Cake or Rasmalai (a sweet vermecilli dish), I stuck with familiar chocolate. Bad move.
Gheeta ordered the cake as well and thought it was really dry. I didn’t love the deep flavor in this cake. The menu says the cake is over a 3 spiced creme anglaise. Let me translate that for you. Creamy, cinnamonISH dipping sauce for your standard frozen, microwavable cake dish. Not the best way to end a great meal.
Otherwise, Dosa was a fantastic experience. I was with such a sweet, fun group of moms. I was out of my bubble of a suburb. I tried new foods and I laughed, a lot! I’m still trying to wake up with my cup of coffee and decide how to repad my bank account. Did I mention that last night’s meal set me back $75? Um, yeah…I’ve got some ebaying to do.