Yet another Vancouver restaurant review! This time, though, it’s more of a lunch place than a fancy-pants dinner restaurant. As you are likely aware, Vancouver is well-known for its Asian influence (Chinese, Japanese, Indian, etc.). In my 26 years living in Greater Vancouver, I have had the luxury of trying several Indian places with my family … most of them being situated in South East Vancouver (spanning the distance from Kingsway to SE Marine), one in Richmond, and a few catered birthdays and weddings hosted by my family friends, the Khoslas (who put on the most amazing parties!).
All in all, I have to say that this randomly located joint – at the corner of South East Marine and Fraser Street – has the best dosas I have ever eaten. I can’t attest to the other items (e.g. currey, pakora, channa bhatura, etc.) because my dad and I went straight for the raved-about (by my mom and her friends) dosas. We had lassis as our beverage of choice. In case you didn’t know, this yogurt based drink is a commonplace order because it tastes delicious AND yogurt/buttermilk helps with offsetting spice far better than anything fizzy, like pop or beer (which actually makes it worse!).
So for those of you who are new to the “dosa” it is essentially a, “fermented crepe or pancake made from rice batter and black lentils. This staple dish is widely popular in all southern Indian states Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, as well as being popular in other countries like Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore.” Yes, I have stolen Wikipedia’s definition. I have to say, though, anyone who knows me wouldn’t put it past me to research the specific ingredients and detailed origin of a beloved food item. I think that stuff is really interesting … but then again, I am a self-proclaimed weirdo. Every time I travel, I tend to ask what the signature drink is (alcoholic, yes … how did you know?!) and about the region’s staple dish (for locals, not tourists). I think food and drink is a huge part of culture; it unveils a lot of other things. Enough already, right? Another episode of verbal diarrhea. I get SO sidetracked! Now I am thinking about the made-from-scratch green curry my brother and I concocted in Chiang Mai and the Pisco Sour I created in Miraflores. Ahhh … memories.
Anyways, back to the main event. My dad and I split the eggplant dosa (as per my mom’s instruction and also because my dad and I are eggplant aficionados) and the lamb and vegetable dosa. The lamb dosa is pictured below.
Overall, I would have to say …. HOLY MOTHER OF INDIAN FOOD – the food was amazing!! The sambar (spicy lentil-based soup pictured in larger white container) was the best I have ever had; not bland at all, like some. The chutneys (pictured in smaller white containers) were also perfectly seasoned. I have always loved the cilantro-coconut (light green). That one, and a good tamarind chutney (which goes well with pakoras) are probably my all-time faves. A close second/third would be mango chutney … though neither of those are included with a typical dosa.
Anyways, the cook at Dosa Corner really knows how to make the dosa batter authentic, and crisp it up to perfection; it’s chewy and warm yet has a crunch to it. It pulls apart perfectly but is not soggy. I love eating the batter from each side and ripping it off bit by bit, dipping it into the sambar and chutneys, and then … once I get to the filling (which spans 3-4 inches across the middle of the crepe) I tend to use a fork and knife (though I don’t think this is culturally accurate as in India I believe one would use his/her hands; I am just too clumsy. I mean, seriously, I splatter pasta sauce all over myself when I roll up the saucy noodles on my fork. Soo …. Yeah.).
The eggplant dosa was full of eggplant that was perfectly prepared. The lamb was also superb; melt-in-your-mouth tender and perfectly seasoned. The only thing I’d say is maybe get the palak (rather than mixed vegetable) lamb dosa because palak (which is cooked spinach) would have gone better with the lamb. The vegetables were a bit odd (especially the carrots and green beans) as I am used to cauliflower, onions, potato, okra and chickpeas (which are all common vegetables, for a reason, in Indian dishes).
The lassis were both really tasty. I tend to like the sweet versus salty variety.
With respect to cost, the place was very reasonable. If you check out their menu online, especially the lunch specials, you will see what I mean! Gotta love a good deal, especially if it involves fresh food and authentic flavours.
In terms of ambience … well, there isn’t any. Seriously; it’s situated amongst industrial buildings, the floor and walls are tile (for easy cleaning?) and it is fairly cold inside. Although I’m always cold (seriously, even in the Dominican Republic, my husband shrieked when I tried to apply sunscreen to his back) … so am perhaps not the best person to comment on temperature! Criticisms aside, the service was very friendly, decently efficient and the place (as well as the kitchen) was clean. I like when you can look into a kitchen … It’s …. Comforting?
In summary, if you are in Vancouver and like Indian food, you HAVE to go here for a late breakfast (as dosas are a breakfast food in India), lunch or a very casual dinner. I can’t wait to go back!!