Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Santa Clara: Dasaprakash

I've never really had South Indian food before; places like Darbar and Amber India fall in the North Indian category, as far as I know.  So, before having dinner at Dasaprakash in Santa Clara two Sundays ago, I did what any self-respecting foodie/geek would do: read the Wikipedia page on South Indian cuisine.  Unfortunately, this had the effect of confusing me even more, probably because I couldn't figure out if I'd be eating food from just one of the four states, or from all four.  Self-education fail.

This confusion turned out not to be a problem, though, because pretty soon after Andrew and I were seated in the mostly-empty restaurant, a friendly man (probably the owner or manager) came over and asked if we had eaten South Indian food before, if we knew what to order, etc.  We expressed our ignorance, he responded by suggesting two sampler platters to share, and we happily complied and stopped trying to parse the menu.  He'd clearly dealt with patrons like us before.

The first platter consisted of a masala dosa (crepe filled with spicy potato and onion), rice with vegetables and lentils, a papadum (the cracker-like disc), and dal or something like it (I think).  We were also given a set of three chutneys, which were particularly good with the masala dosa.

Hand framing obviously makes food more attractive

The second platter, shown below, was the South Indian thali, which the online menu describes as "Vegetable, Sambhar, Rasam, Vegetable Gravy, Dhaal, Pickles, Pappad, Yogurt, Poories, Rice, One Sweet."  Unfortunately, that's about as much as I remember, so this picture will have to suffice.

Aren't those pooris (the puffy things in the middle) cute?

Despite being unable to identify all that I was eating, along with being distracted by a very enjoyable conversation, I thought everything was really well-prepared, with distinct flavors and - thankfully - a very good balance of mildness and spice.  All in all, a fun culinary adventure!

On an unrelated note, I was pretty excited to see that Serious Eats just profiled the Davis Farmer's Market!