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6.2
SF

Dosa

Want the one-line hot take? Dosa is kind of dull. But my job is to make this review exciting, so that three minutes of your day will be well-spent instead of shamefully wasted.

So what makes Dosa interesting? It's a signature example of an odious trend - the weakening of BOLD FLAVORS. Guy Fieri may have corrupted the term beyond cliché, but there's a kernel of truth there. Subtlety is all well and good, but sometimes (often) we want our food to punch us in the mouth. Especially at an Indian restaurant.

When the namesake dish requires liberal application of hot sauces and chutneys to taste like anything, we start to wonder. When the lentils that are theoretically "piped with tamarind and mint" taste like neither, we start to worry. And when the uttapam — a steroidal pancaked version of a dosa — resembles an undercooked savory Bisquik creation, we start to get a little upset.

Wherefore art thou, bland flavors? What happened to the spices and sorcery we were promised? We've had more flavorful versions of vada pav and various chutneys at Curry Up Now, which is basically an active protest against the grammar of three different languages disguised as a restaurant (Quesadillix? Punjabi By Nature?).

As for Dosa itself, we've only been to the cozy neighborhood outpost on Valencia. The Fillmore option looks palatial, but it's hard to see ourselves venturing over there given the disappointments in the Mission. (Update: My co-reviewer has been to Fillmore and feels much the same.)

We believe Dosa can rise again. But right now it's just another okay Indian restaurant, and expensive to boot. Hard to argue there's a good reason to run over.

Food Rundown


Chutney Sampler
Chips and dip for the Indian set — a great way to start your meal, and the punchiest tastes you're likely to get.

Dahi Vada
Lentil fritters with no sign of the tamarind and mint within. Pretty much the definition of bland.

Dosa
We've tried a couple of these and they all kind of tasted the same. They tasted like dough. Even with liberal chutney application, we were overcome by the sensation of eating a tortilla with a bit of salsa on it (not to mix cultures inappropriately). But these are just too large (18-inch diameter?) to have so little flavor. Get whatever dosa has the most stuff on top of it.

Uttapam
Basically a heavier, gooey version of the dosa. We've done the onion, which is okay, but you kind of end up feeling like you're eating an undercooked pizza. Not that that's something we haven't considered doing from time to time, but the dough has got to taste better for it to be a really attractive option.

Hyderbadi Lamb Chops
Pretty good, but a bit concise on the portion. We could have used more of the straight #meeeeeats.

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