When a new Indian restaurant opens in a city like Buffalo, especially one offering "authentic south Indian cuisine," the desi community gets all excited. Anyone who had driven past the intersection of Millersport Hwy and Eggert Rd late in March would've noticed a banner that announced the opening of "Palace of Dosas" on April 1. Word spread quickly, and some even wondered if it was all just an elaborate April Fool's joke! But the restaurant did open, a week later, on April 8.
This review is based on our first visit to the Palace of Dosas, but I've added a few details based on subsequent trips.
By all accounts, the cooks and waiters of Palace of Dosas were not prepared for the crowds the first week. There were long queues, and at times, it took nearly 30-45 minutes to get a table. I even heard from a couple of friends that the restaurant ran out of food the first few nights! The waiters seemed ill-prepared to deal with such situations, and on my first visit, I even heard a couple at the next table saying it had been nearly half-an-hour and they hadn't even placed their order! There was, as my anthro professor friend Dr. Lee put it, a sort of "sinking boat" camaraderie in the restaurant - people would turn around, smile at each other, and exchange notes about how long the wait had been!
In spite of all this, we didn't see a single person walk away. The food, clearly, was worth the wait. And I must point out that the service has improved considerably.
We've visited thrice now, and don't see any reason to not go back. Here's a sampling of what we liked the best.
We started out with Medu Vadai, and as one friend put it, they were just right - a crisp golden brown on the outside, and fluffy on the inside. The sambar had the right consistency and spice levels, but the coconut chutney was not up to the mark and we wondered if they had used the frozen shredded coconut one finds in Indian grocery stores in the U.S. instead of freshly grated coconut. For $3.25 a plate, this is the perfect starter.
For dinner, we sampled the different dosas and uthapams.
My personal favorite is the Rava Masala Dosa. It is crisp, golden brown, "holes" that characterize a rava doas were the right size, and the batter is spiced with black pepper, curry leaves, and finely chopped green chillies. In a word, delicious! The masala, a mix of potaoes and peas cooked with onions was a little bland, but the sambar and coconut chutney made up for it. On your first trip, this is a must try ($7.95).
The other dosa we tried was the Mysore Masala Dosa. Smeared with "gun powder" on the inside, it had quite the kick to it! Go for it if you can handle the spice level, but ask for an extra cup of coconut chutney and keep a glass of ice water close at hand! For $6.55, this is another great choice.
The third entree was the mixed vegetable uthapam. With the right mix of vegetables, cilantro, and green chillies, the uthapam was done really well. It isn't easy to make a vegetable uthapam that - while it need not be as crispy as a dosa, a good uthapam should be fluffy with a hint of a golden brown crispiness on one side. The Palace of Dosas gets this right. For $6.55, this is another terrific option.
We decided to end with a round of chai and "madras" coffee. I refrained when the menu said the Madras Coffee was Indian instant coffee, but a couple of my friends willingly tried it for the review :) It was sweet and milky, like all desi and coffee, but not as flavorful.
Overall, the Palace of Dosas is a wonderful addition to Buffalo and I am sure I'll be a regular. If you are in the mood for south Indian food, this is without doubt your best bet in Buffalo.
656 Millersport Highway
Amherst, NY 14226