Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dosa Factory--Cheap, good dosas in central square

Throw a can of beans and you will hit a Indian restaurant in Cambridge. Nothing wrong with this, its partly what gives Cambridge its flair, but for the most part, all the Indian food is from the same region, specifically, Punjabi, Northern India. Considering the size and scope and diversity of the subcontinent, you can imagine that they roll differently down in the warmer regions. Imagine the differences between deep south delicacies (biscuits and grazy) and New England favorites (baked cod and clam chowder), or Beijing food (dumplings) vs Hong Kong (dim sum). While northern Indian food tends to have more meat (ie chicken, fish), is heavier and creamier, the south is lighter, spicier and more veg.

Ergo, we generally prefer southern Indian food, and envied other cities that had a wider selection. No longer must we travel far distances to get our spice on. Shalimars in their infinite business acumen, saw the strategic necessity to fill this niche, and we are all the beneficiaries. Now, we need to be specific, we're not talking about Shalimar's the restaurant, we're talking about the actual store across the street, and its tiny cafe in the back, called the Dosa Factory. Shalimar's in Central Square is a pretty awesome store in general, offering a vast array of specialty spices, all ready made Indian meals, and an impressive selection of bollywood movies and music.

They've always had a small cafe in the back which served street food (think Panni Puri, Vada Pav, Pav Bhaji), but in recent months, they expanded this little shop to include a larger menu and more seating. The menu at the Dosa Factory is heavy on the south Indian foods including dosas, idli and uttapam.

We began with a sweet mango lassi, done just right, which satiated our thirst and prepped our bellies for the gargantuan dosas to come. Our two tantalizing main courses were a uttapam and a masala dosa.

The uttapam was big, round and filling (6.95). Think of it as an Indian pancake with a bit of zing. It was very flavorful especially when dipped in the sambar (tomato soup) and coconut chutney.
The real highlight of the meal was the masala dosa (7.95) and in this area, it exceeded our expectations. Its exactly how we remembered it in Mumbai, with all the punch, character and aroma that we wanted. The honking crepe was completely chowed down.
Dosa Time
Since we went the first time, we have also been back to try the Pav Bhaji (6.95), very good, and the spinach and mozzarella dosa. We recommend the masala dosa if it is your first time.

For the price, quality and convenient location, Dosa Factory is now one of our new favorites.

Dosa Factory
571 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 868-3672

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