Sathish Rao is the owner of this sturdy cafe, which specializes in South Indian vegetarian, vegan, and Hindu vegetarian (no onion or garlic) dishes. My gal pal and I were the only two asking questions of our server; everyone else in the dining room knew the food well. All meals start with a sinus-searing tomato broth. To follow, we picked a paper masala dosa. The thin, crispy rice pancake stuffed with potatoes and onions wasn’t the best dosa I’ve eaten—the potato mixture was dry and the pancake was brittle—but the presentation was impressive. Both the mutter paneer (peas and cheese cooked with tomatoes and Indian spices) and malai kofta (potato dumplings in a saffron sauce filled with peas, carrots, cheese, and nuts) were memorable. They were even better when reheated at home the following night. Service may be slow, but it is sincere and friendly. We asked our server about the fresh sugar cane juice, and, instead of answering, he brought us a refreshing glass to try. It’s BYOB, so next time I’ll take a couple of shots of rum or vodka to add to that sweet juice.
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