Our Daily Bread, Day 3 | Breakfast, lunch or dinner, versatile dosa provides instant connection to India
by Abbey Marshall
The Columbus Dispatch | Sep 11, 2019
Girija Narahari can still taste the dosa from her childhood in India.
She remembers her mother’s bustle around the kitchen mirroring the busy streets of Bengaluru – a sort of organized chaos.
“She never left the kitchen,” Narahari recalled. “She was always in there preparing food for someone – us, her neighbors, anyone.”
While vehicles outside honked and zoomed past one another and sari-clad shoppers milled through the stalls of street food outside, her mother toiled over a wooden stove, wiping away beads of sweat as the aroma of chutney and sambar filled their home…read more
Dosa Corner has mastered vegetarian fare from southern India.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
When you crave hamburgers and French fries in a disposable wrapper, go to Wendy’s.
When your hunger needs vegetables and breads delivered on throwaway plates, go to Dosa Corner.
More blue-collar than, say, another stellar vegetarian Indian restaurant in Ohio’s capital – Udipi Cafe – Dosa Corner caters to eaters with little need to converse over dinner and much desire to ingest tasty carbohydrates.
Business traveler and frequent customer Ananth Sunparan, who had been razzing a friend via cell phone while finishing the mini-smorgasbord before him, offered a ringing endorsement.
“I live in Los Angeles,” he said. “Last week I took food from here all the way back to L.A. It is authentic south Indian food. Very good.”
Hari Narahari – who manages and owns the eight-table, 28-chair setup – creates (with the aid of a small staff) some of the most delicious southern Indian fare in central Ohio.
(That’s a short “a” in Hari, by the way: “I lived in Canada for a long time,” he said. “French people cannot pronounce ‘HAR-ee,’ so I became Harry.”)
Although Hari’s menu is deep with cheap and delicious entrees and breads, the dosa – a large rice-and-lentil crepe – is the star of his vegetarian show.
There’s something about taking on a food item the size of a cheerleader megaphone that makes a dining experience more of an event than, say, a supper of a baked potato, a can of tuna and some bagged peas.
Still, if a 14-inch horn of vegetables isn’t your speed, you have alternatives.
During a recent visit, with heavy carryout traffic entering and exiting for a solid hour, my party of two divvied up the South Indian Tali ($9.95) and Dosa Tali combos ($9.25).
On the table near a self-serve plastic pitcher of tap water: avail (a creamy mixture of carrot and eggplant); uthappam (a doughy lentil pancake); refreshing lemon rice with toasted chickpeas, peanuts, black mustard seeds and lentils; Mysore pak (a fudge like nugget so sweet your teeth will recoil at the sight of it); Medu Wada (lentil doughnuts); poori (unleavened whole-wheat flat bread deep-fried in vegetable oil); various chutneys; and gulab jamoon, a ghee-fried sugar bomb.
The one missing facet: no cold beer to put out the curry fires in our mouths.
Some diners doubled up on mango lassis (yogurt shakes), a fine way to stifle the burn. With Indian fare, though, I crave beer that scratches the throat.
Oh, great granters of liquor licenses: Please give Dosa Corner the right to sell Kingfisher beer, the crisp pilsner in the green bottle ubiquitous in all fine Indian restaurants and – as the label reads – “most thrilling chilled.” firstname.lastname@example.org
That little hole-in-the-wall ethnic eatery, where excellent food your mama never heard of is dished out for cheap, exists (it must be said) largely in the mind. Most of the places that appear to fit the bill turn out to serve mediocre food, and while the cuisines of far away and unfamiliar places are done very well in Columbus, it is often in well-appointed settings and not for cheap. Because one of the joys of being a restaurant critic is to put you onto the great little hole in the wall, and as I am in an unselfish mood:Go at once to Dosa Corner for “dosa”.
What the restaurant calls “dosa” are thin, plate-size pancakes made of lentil and rice flours, dark and crackling on the outside, soft and white on the inside. They’re naturally sweet but not sweetened, lightly sour from the overnight fermentation of the batter (like sourdough bread, only better), and while the things are wonderful palin or dipped in the fragrant coconut milk-based chutney or one of the many ohter condiments served here, they are even more wonderful filled with all manner of vegetables, cheese, or mixtures thereof.
They come to us from the remarkably varied and boldly flavored cuisine of Southern India; Dosa Corner is a vegetarian restaurant serving the food of that region.
(It should be noted that this is not our first such restaurant-this column just loves Udipi Cafe on East Dublin-Granville Road as well.)
Before you get to the dosa, which you must have here, there are several good appetizers to try. Any standard samosa (a curried, potato-and-pea-filled pastry crust, deep-fried) is worth eating. A-loo bonda is better-a similar mixture with the addition of cashews, in a more flavorful chickpea batter.