Who makes the best dosa in New York City? We have our opinion, but a bunch of rockers from different groups (who are all of Indian descent) are on a Dosa Hunt, which we read about on Gothamist.
Readers of NYSF should know what a dosa is, but if you don’t, listen up. A dosa is a South Indian dish made with lentil batter that is cooked into a thin wrapper. Various fillings are put into it crepe-style, and its usually a vegetarian dish – but that doesn’t mean it still can’t take off the top layer of your tongue!
So who makes the best dosa in town? Click through for our opinion and a trailer from the upcoming short film Dosa Hunt.
I happened to be near Washington Square Park around lunch today, which is always a good excuse to visit Thiru at NY Dosas.
Most people familiar with street food in New York are at least aware of NY Dosas, even if they haven’t tried them yet. Thiru won the Vendy Cup in 2007, and his cart is on Washington Square South near Sullivan St from Mon through Sat (11am-4pm).
NY Dosas is totally vegetarian and vegan, which is not usually my cup of tea, but Thiru’s food is so spicy and full of flavor, I don’t even notice the absence of meat.
I’ve had several lunches from here and wanted to try something new, so I asked for a Jaffna Lunch ($6) for Today’s Lunch.
I had to be near Washington Square Park around lunchtime today, and one of the best lunches in the area (street food or otherwise) is from Thiru of the NY Dosa Cart. Thiru won the top Vendy Award in 2007, and even though I’m not big on vegetarian food, his lunches are so flavorful and filling, you won’t even notice the lack of meat if you’re a carnivore.
Thiru recommended the roti curry ($6) for Today’s Lunch, and I heard several people ahead of me order veggie drumsticks ($1.75), so I got one of those as well.
One food cart I have been wanting to try is the NY Dosa Cart, winner of the top 2007 Vendy Award. NY Dosa Cart is run by Thiru Kumar from Sri Lanka, who is vegan, but you don’t need to be a vegan to enjoy his food. I’m a pretty big carnivore, and this was a great lunch.
Thiru is a friendly vendor who works on the south side of Washington Square Park (West 4th St at Sullivan St) and is well known throughout the NYU community. Thiru told me he has been serving dosas there for the past 11 years. A dosa is a crepe made from rice, wheat or lentils that is filled with potatoes, veggies, etc, or nothing at all.
There was a line of around 8 people, and it took 10 minutes to get to the front of the line to order. Most of the people I spoke with were regulars. Not having been there before, I asked Thiru what he suggested, and he said the Special Pondicherry Dosa, which was a crepe of rice and lentils filled with potatoes and veggies.
Thiru poured the batter on his grill, after a minute added some potatoes, lettuce, sweet red pepper and onions, and folded it beautifully. Just before folding it, he asked how spicy to make it, and I said medium spicy, at which point he spread a red paste on the food. After it was folded, he cut it into a few large pieces and put it in a lunch container with 2 smaller cups. One was filled with sambaar, a brown semi-spicy sauce with potatoes on the bottom. The other one had a coconut chutney sauce.
It was a little tricky picking up the dosa, but once I figured it out, each bite was full of flavor. The curried potatoes, crunchy veggies, lettuce, pepper and onions inside the dosa was wonderful. Medium spicy was plenty spicy, and I like heat. Very spicy would have likely been too much. I tried some of the sambaal, and it was good, but the coconut chutney was even better.
Today’s Lunch was a 9.5 out of 10. If I was a vegan, it would have been a 10 out of 10, but a small piece of me still wanted some chicken in it. Definitely a place to recommend, and I’ll be going back there again soon.
The NY Dosa Cart doesn’t have a website, and it’s pretty tough to find their menu online, so here it is. Enjoy!